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High Energy X-Ray Diffraction and Small-Angle Scattering Measurements of Hydrogen Fatigue Damage in AISI 4130 Steel



Matthew Connolly, May Ling Martin, Peter Bradley, Damian Lauria, Andrew Slifka, Jun-Sang Park, Robert Amaro, Jonathan Almer


Accurate lifetime predictions are critical for repurposing existing pipelines for hydrogen transmission as well as for developing novel steels which are minimally susceptible to lifetime degradation by hydrogen. Ultimately, lifetime prediction models assess the amount of damage a material undergoes during a typical service cycle and the cumulative damage a material can withstand prior to failure. However, not all damage processes are equal, and neither is the manner in which mechanical loading translates to damage the same when materials are in inert environments compared to in hydrogen environments. For example, in the three leading proposed mechanisms of hydrogen embrittlement (Hydrogen-Enhanced Decohesion (HEDE), the Hydrogen-Enhanced Localized Plasticity (HELP), and the Nano-Void Coalescence(NVC)), hydrogen is proposed to enhance the manifestation of grain separation, dislocation generation/movement, and void coalescence, respectively. A full understanding of the damage modes requires a measurement capable of probing all three mechanisms at once. Here we present simultaneous High Energy X-ray Diffraction (HEXRD) and Small-Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) during fatiguing of steel in hydrogen. HEXRD measurements probe strain and dislocation density; SAXS measurements probe nano-pore generation and coalescence. We will discuss the differences in damage modes between steels fatigued in air and in hydrogen and the role these difference play in lifetime predictions.
Journal of Pipeline Science and Engineering


Connolly, M. , Martin, M. , Bradley, P. , Lauria, D. , Slifka, A. , Park, J. , Amaro, R. and Almer, J. (2022), High Energy X-Ray Diffraction and Small-Angle Scattering Measurements of Hydrogen Fatigue Damage in AISI 4130 Steel, Journal of Pipeline Science and Engineering, [online],, (Accessed May 20, 2024)


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Created June 4, 2022, Updated November 29, 2022