In this study, the effect of gaseous hydrogen pressure in relation with the loading frequency on the fatigue crack growth behavior of a precipitation-hardened martensitic stainless steel is investigated. It is found that increasing the hydrogen pressure from 0.09 to 9 MPa induces an enhancement of the fatigue crack growth rates. This enhancement is pronounced particularly at higher stress intensity factor amplitudes at 9 MPa. Meanwhile, decreasing the frequency from 20 to 0.2 Hz under 0.9 MPa of hydrogen reveals a significant increase in the crack growth rates that tends to join the curve obtained under 9 MPa at 20 Hz, but with a different cracking mode. However, it is shown that the degradation in fatigue crack growth behavior derives from a complex interaction between the fatigue damage and the amount of hydrogen enriching the crack tip, which is dependent on the hydrogen pressure, loading frequency, and stress intensity factor level. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) observations of the fracture surfaces are used to support the explanations proposed to account for the observed phenomena.
Z. Sun, C. Moriconi, G. Benoit, D. Halm, G. Henaff
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