Hydrogen embrittlement susceptibility of additively manufactured 316L stainless steel: Influence of post-processing, printing direction, temperature and pre-straining

G. Alvarez, Z. Harris, K. Wada, C. Rodríguez, E. Martínez Pañeda

Additive Manufacturing Volume 78, 25 September 2023, 103834



The influence of post-build processing on the hydrogen embrittlement behavior of additively manufactured (AM) 316L stainless steel fabricated using laser powder bed fusion was assessed at both room temperature and −50 °C via uniaxial tensile experiments. In the absence of hydrogen at ambient temperature, all four evaluated AM conditions (as-built (AB), annealed (ANN), hot isostatic pressed (HIP), and HIP plus cold worked (CW) to 30%) exhibit notably reduced ductility relative to conventionally manufactured (CM) 316L stainless steel. The AM material exhibits sensitivity to the build direction, both in the presence and absence of hydrogen, with a notable increase in yield strength in the X direction and enhanced ductility in the Z direction. Conversely, testing of non-charged specimens at −50 °C revealed similar ductility between the CM, AB, ANN, and HIP conditions. Upon hydrogen charging, the ductility of all four AM conditions was found to be similar to that of CM 316L at ambient temperature, with the HIP condition actually exceeding the CM material. Critically, testing of hydrogen-charged samples at −50 °C revealed that the ductility of the HIP AM 316L condition was nearly double that observed in the CM 316L. This improved performance persisted even after cold working, as the CW AM 316L exhibited comparable ductility to CM 316L at −50 °C after hydrogen charging, despite having a 2-fold higher yield strength. Feritscope measurements suggest this increased performance is related to the reduced propensity for AM 316L to form strain-induced martensite during deformation, even after significant post-processing treatments. These results demonstrate that AM 316L can be post-processed using typical procedures to exhibit similar to or even improved resistance to hydrogen embrittlement relative to CM 316L.