Hydrogen Embrittlement of Steels in High Pressure H2 Gas and Acidified H2S-saturated Aqueous Brine Solution
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Microbiological methanation is planned in an underground natural gas reservoir. For this purpose, hydrogen is stored, which can lead to hydrogen embrittlement of steels. To simulate these field conditions, autoclave tests were performed to clarify the amount of absorbed hydrogen and to test whether this content leads to failure of the steels. Constant load tests and immersion tests with subsequent hydrogen analyses were performed. Tests under constant load have shown that no cracks occur due to hydrogen pressures up to 100 bar and temperatures at 25 °C and 80 °C. In these conditions, the carbon steels absorb a maximum of 0.54 ppm hydrogen, which is well below the embrittlement limit. Austenitic stainless steels absorb much more hydrogen, but these steels also have a higher resistance to hydrogen embrittlement. In H2S saturated solutions, the hydrogen uptake is ten times higher compared to hydrogen gas, which has caused fractures of several steels (high strength carbon steels, Super 13Cr, and Duplex stainless steel 2205).