Slow strain rate tests (SSRTs) were performed with two types of high-strength austenitic stainless steels, Types AH and BX, as well as with two types of conventional austenitic stainless steels, Types 304 and 316L. The tests used the following combinations of specimen types and test atmospheres: (i) non-charged specimens tested in air, (ii) hydrogen-charged specimens tested in air (tests for internal hydrogen), and (iii) non-charged specimens tested in hydrogen gas at pressures of 78 ∼ 115 MPa (tests for external hydrogen). Type 304 exhibited a marked reduction of ductility in the tests for both internal hydrogen and external hydrogen, whereas Types AH, BX and 316L exhibited little or no degradation. In addition, fatigue crack growth (FCG) tests for the four types of steels were also carried out in air and hydrogen gas at pressures of 100 ∼ 115 MPa. In Type 304, FCG in hydrogen gas was more than 10 times as fast as that in air, whereas the acceleration rate remained within 1.5 ∼ 3 times in Types AH, BX and 316L. It was presumed that, in Types AH and BX, a small amount of additive elements, e.g. nitrogen and niobium, increased the strength as well as the stability of the austenitic phase, which thereby led to the excellent resistance against hydrogen.

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