Experimental and Molecular Dynamics Simulation-Based Investigations on Hydrogen Embrittlement Behavior of Chromium Electroplated 4340 Steel
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In this study, chromium electroplating process, corresponding hydrogen embrittlement, and the effects of baking on hydrogen diffusion are investigated. Three types of materials in the form of Raw 4340 steel, Chromium electroplated 4340 steel, and Chromium electroplated and baked 4340 steel are used in order to shed light on the aforementioned processes. Mechanical and microstructural analyses are carried out to observe the effects of hydrogen diffusion. Mechanical analyses show that the tensile strength and hardness of the specimens deteriorate after the chrome-electroplating process due to the presence of atomic hydrogen. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses are carried out for material characterization. Microstructural analyses reveal that hydrogen enters into the material with chromium electroplating process, and baking after chromium electroplating process is an effective way to prevent hydrogen embrittlement. Additionally, the effects of hydrogen on the tensile response of alpha-Fe-based microstructure with a similar chemical composition of alloying elements are simulated through molecular dynamics (MD) method.