Absorption/Desorption of Diffusible Hydrogen in Aluminized Boron Steel
Cedric Georges, Thierry Sturel, Pascal Drillet, Jean-Michel Mataigne
Currently, boron steel with Al–Si coating experiences a rapid growth in the anti-intrusion applications in the car body due to its superior mechanical properties after hot stamping. However, the final microstructure can be sensitive to delayed fracture if the product is exposed to a critical combination of diffusible hydrogen content, stresses and other metallurgical factors. As the metallurgical parameters and stresses are usually defined, the proper control of the diffusible hydrogen content is the key parameter to improve the safety aspect of the product. However, this content is quite difficult to determine. In this paper, the parameters governing the absorption and desorption of diffusible hydrogen in aluminized boron steels is investigated. The present research shows that the dew point and the austenitizing holding time have a bigger influence on the diffusible hydrogen content than the austenitizing temperature. Simultaneously, four-point bending test, which is simple and representative of the stress field that may be encountered in car bodies, is used to determine the acceptable limit of the diffusible hydrogen amount. Using this test, a delayed fracture map is proposed, which can be used as a guideline to determine the safe process areas. The study reveals that fast cooling rates or the sheared edges lead to lower the critical diffusible hydrogen content. Nevertheless, under the standard industrial operating conditions, the materials remain safe. Finally, an e-coating process that is applied to the sample surface induces an efficient degassing that provides an additional safety margin.
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