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Hydrogen Embrittlement and Stainless Steel



(-----) February 21, 2008

I manufacture compressed gas hoses. We have an application that provides hydrogen gas to a Hydrogen fuel cell, through a six cylinder manifold. At one time, we experienced a few hose failures (cracking, then breaking). Upon further investigation, we discovered that the hose was type 304 stainless. We were told by a metallurgical consultant also that (due to H2 embrittlement) 304 is incompatible with hydrogen gas. We were then instructed to change out all 304 hoses with 316 stainless steel hoses.

Is there a chart or some kind of simple guideline regarding compatibility of metals with gases? Do you know if my previous statement is accurate?

Thanks,

Patrick Kirk
- Portland, Oregon
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September 7, 2009

Is there any movement in your application and at what temperature / pressure you are operating? We have published metal hose charts for all applications. But not sure if that is your issue.
Let me know if you have a movement, pressure and temperature questions. And we will advice from there.

Mike O'Neill
- Downingtown, Pennsylvania
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September 8, 2009

Hi, Patrick. As a non-metallurgist, I'd be very reluctant to -- based on a snap impression from an internet posting -- challenge the opinion of a metallurgical consultant you retained to study the situation in depth. Still, atomic hydrogen is the usual cause for embrittlement, not hydrogen gas; and embrittlement is more a function of the strength/hardness of the steel than the type of stainless steel employed.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
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