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Title: Hydrogen trapping in bearing steels : mechanisms and alloy design
Author: Szost, Blanka Angelika
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2013
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Hydrogen embrittlement is a problem that offers challenges both to technology and to the theory of metallurgy. In the presence of a hydrogen rich environment, applications such as rolling bearings display a significant decrease in alloy strength and accelerated failure due to rolling contact fatigue. In spite of these problems being well recognised, there is little understanding as to which mechanisms are present in hydrogen induced bearing failure. The objective of this thesis are twofold. First, a novel alloy combining the excellent hardness of bearing steels, and resistance to hydrogen embrittlement, is proposed. Second, a new technique to identify the nature of hydrogen embrittlement in bearing steels is suggested. The new alloy was a successful result of computer aided alloy design; thermodynamic and kinetic modelling were employed to design a composition and heat treatment combining (1) fine cementite providing a strong and ductile microstructure, and (2) nano-sized vanadium carbide precipitates acting as hydrogen traps. A novel technique is proposed to visualise the migration of hydrogen to indentation-induced cracks. The observations employing this technique strongly suggest that hydrogen enhanced localised plasticity prevails in bearing steels. While proposing a hydrogen tolerant bearing steel grade, and a new technique to visualize hydrogen damage, this thesis is expected to aid in increasing the reliability of bearings operating in hydrogen rich environments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: This work was supported by SKF Engineering and Research Centre and financed by SKF AB.
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: hydrogen embrittlement ; rolling contact fatigue ; bearing steels ; thermodynamic modelling ; kinetic modelling ; thermal desorption ; hydrogen diffusion ; hydrogen damage