Letter | Published:

Computer simulation of hydrogen embrittlement in metals

Nature volume 362, pages 435437 (01 April 1993) | Download Citation

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Abstract

IT has been long known that hydrogen can substantially reduce the mechanical stability of transition metals under tensile stress1–3. This phenomenon of 'hydrogen embrittlement' has important consequences for the safety of fusion reactors and for space technology; but there remains considerable uncertainty about its microscopic origin2, 3. Here we report the results of a study of fracture of hydrogen-loaded palladium under tensile stress which uses Parrinello–Rahman molecular dynamics based on a many-body alloy hamiltonian. A rather unexpected result is that the apparent hydrogen embrittlement results from a local enhancement of ductility in hydrogen-saturated regions of the metal which causes a reduction of the critical tensile stress at which failure occurs.

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Author notes

    • Y. Cai

    Present address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rutgers University, PO Box 849, Piscatway, New Jersey 08855–0849, USA.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy and Center for Fundamental Materials Research, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824–1116, USA

    • W. Zhong
    • , Y. Cai
    •  & D. Tománek

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https://doi.org/10.1038/362435a0

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