Hydrogen Economy vs. Hydrogen Embrittlement: Indirect Electrochemical Determination of Hydrogen Diffusion in Steel

23 May 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Hydrogen has reemerged in recent years as a promising environment−friendly energy carrier that can help reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels. Despite its unique advantages, there are still challenges regarding the storage, packaging, and transportation of hydrogen. Specifically, the phenomenon of hydrogen embrittlement (HE) in metals can hinder the widespread use of hydrogen. This study focuses on the analysis of hydrogen embrittlement and hydrogen permeation through metals, with an emphasis on high−strength and duplex steels. Various steel types were evaluated for their hydrogen permeation properties using a simplified version of the Devanathan−Stachurski permeation cell to measure the diffusion constants und breakthrough times in different steel grades. In combination with Extended X−ray Absorption Fine Structure (EXAFS) analysis, the results indicate that hydrogen embrittlement is dependent on the steel grade and that the manufacturing method plays a key role. Our methodology using indirect electrochemical determination offers rapid and reproducible hydrogen diffusion, providing insights for the development of efficient hydrogen storage systems utilizing steel.


Hydrogen Diffusion
Hydrogen Embrittlement
Palladium Coating
Stainless Steel

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information (SI)
The breakthrough times approximated by methods 1−3 are listed in Table S1. Permeation tests of the remaining steel samples (1.0038, 1.2002, 1.4404, 1.4037, and 1.4460) are illustrated in Supplementary Figures S1 to S5. Additionally, both phase diagrams of the duplex steels 14460 and 1.4501 can be found in the supporting information (Figures S6 and S7).


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