Hydrogen clustering in bcc metals: Atomic origin and strong stress anisotropy

J Hou and XS Kong and CS Liu and J Song, ACTA MATERIALIA, 201, 23-35 (2020).

DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2020.09.048

Hydrogen (H) induced damage in metals has been a longstanding woe for many industrial applications. One form of such damage is linked to H clustering, for which the atomic origin remains contended, particularly for non-hydride forming metals. In this work, we systematically studied H clustering behavior in bcc metals represented by W, Fe, Mo, and Cr, combining first-principles calculations, atomistic and Monte Carlo simulations. H clustering has been shown to be energetically favorable, and can be strongly facilitated by anisotropic stress field, dominated by the tensile component along one of the < 001 > crystalline directions. We showed that the stress effect can be well predicted by the continuum model based on H formation volume tensor, and that H clustering is thermodynamically possible at edge dislocations, evidenced by nanohydride formation at rather low levels of H concentration. Moreover, anisotropy in the stress effect is well reflected in nanohydride morphology around dislocations, with nanohydride growth occurring in the form of thin platelet structures that maximize one < 001 > tension. In particular, the < 001 > type edge dislocation, with the < 001 > tensile component maximized, has been shown to be highly effective in facilitating H aggregation, thus expected to play an important role in H clustering in bcc metals, in close agreement with recent experimental observations. This work explicitly and quantitatively clarifies the anisotropic nature of stress effect on H energetics and H clustering behaviors, offering mechanistic insights critical towards understanding H-induced damages in metals. Crown Copyright (C) 2020 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Acta Materialia Inc. All rights reserved.

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