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Materials integrity and safety

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Hydrogen (H2) is the smallest molecule and will therefore easily enter all materials. This will often change the properties of the materials which may degrade in different ways. For instance, hydrogen atoms will make metals more brittle and prone to cracking. This phenomenon is called hydrogen embrittlement.

Hydrogen is in contact with materials in the whole hydrogen value chain, from production,  in storage and transport and, end use. Therefore, to ensure safety and lifetime of the infrastructure it is important to have control of the response of hydrogen entering the materials. Overall, the interaction of hydrogen with different materials is complex and often depends on factors such as temperature, pressure, and exposure time. Understanding and controlling these interactions is important for the design and optimization of various engineering systems and applications.

SINTEF have well equipped laboratories for multi scale materials testing and characterization. On large scale we can perform mechanical testing of metals in pressurized hydrogen atmosphere up to 500 bars and temperatures between -20 and 200 °C.

We work within the following areas:

  • Integrity and lifetime of metals (including weldments) and non-metals exposed to H2
  • Influence on materials of hydrogen from cathodic protection (HISC)
  • Influence on materials exposed to pressurized H2
  • Development of numerical models for prediction of hydrogen embrittlement
  • Standards and guidelines for design of load bearing structures in hydrogenating conditions

Typical research tasks:

  • In situ mechanical testing of metals in hydrogen conditions (strength, fracture toughness and fatigue properties)
  • Establish hydrogen diffusion properties in metals and non-metals
  • Failure analyses
  • Characterization of microstructure and fracture surfaces on nano- and microscale

Our customers:

  • Energy companies and owners of energy infrastructure
  • Producers of materials and components exposed to hydrogen
  • Mechanical industry

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