The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of the soft annealing time on the microstructure and hydrogen embrittlement (HE) of Fe-0.22C-11.54Mn-2.05Al steels.
Steels A and B with different morphologies were prepared by cold rolling after warm rolling, long/short softening annealing and finally annealing at 700 °C for 30 min. Uncharged and charged samples were subjected to tensile, and HE behavior was studied by electron backscattered diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction.
The two samples exhibited similar tensile strengths. The homogeneous equiaxed microstructure of steel B was found to be more conducive to relieve its HE sensitivity. Steel A exhibited bimodal-grained microstructures – blocky and lath. The formation of crack in the blocky grains of steel A resulted in a significant reduction in its plasticity and tensile strength.
The high HE susceptibility of steel A is mainly connected with the inhomogeneity of martensite transformation.