Scientists at steelmaker Dillinger and Saarland University are working together to find a better standardised method for testing materials for their resistance to hydrogen, Kallanish notes.
The core problem here is so-called hydrogen embrittlement, which primarily affects high-strength materials such as pipeline steel or steel wires in prestressed concrete bridges. When hydrogen accumulates, the strength of the material decreases and minute damage and cracks can occur, which can seriously endanger the pipeline or bridge.
Hydrogen accumulates at weld seams or through corrosion in small quantities that can only lead to damage very slowly. In practice, the problem has not been in the foreground so far. But with the prospect of “green” hydrogen being the energy carrier of the future for industrial processes on a large scale, volumes of hydrogen, which mainly accumulates in pipelines, will soon increase.
“There are test standards for the compressive and tensile strength of steels that a newly developed steel must undergo for pipeline construction,” explains Florian Schäfer of Saarland University. “But there is no comprehensive standardised procedure to test steel for how it reacts with hydrogen.”
Platemaker Dillinger expects to be able to offer steels that are less sensitive to hydrogen and are thus better suited for the transformation to the “hydrogen economy” than steels used to date.
Christian Koehl Germany