Tasan group's breakthrough in understanding hydrogen embrittlement
February 6, 2019
Prof. Cem Tasan and Dr. Jinwoo Kim have developed a new way of directly observing what happens when hydrogen atoms percolate into metals. This process is important for two reasons: It offers a potential safe storage method for transporting hydrogen as a fuel, and it could help answer questions about how metals become embrittled by hydrogen, for example in nuclear reactors. The new observational method for the first time makes it possible to observe the whole process as hydrogen atoms enter the metal and distort its crystal lattice.
This illustration depicts the main elements of the system the team used: The multicolored slab at center is the metal layer being studied, the pale blue region at left is the electrolyte solution used as a source of hydrogen, the small blue dots are the hydrogen atoms, and the green laser beams at right are probing the process. The large cylinder at right is a probe used to indent the metal to test its mechanical properties.