Mechanical behavior of electrochemically hydrogenated electron beam melting (EBM) and wrought Ti–6Al–4V using small punch test

Noa Lulu-Bitton, Eyal Sabatani, Brian A. Rosen, Natalie Kostirya, Gennadi Agronov, Eitan Tiferet, Noam Eliaz*, Nissim U. Navi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The influence of electrochemical charging of hydrogen at j = −5 mA/cm2 for 6, 12, 48 and 96 h on the structural and the mechanical behavior of wrought and electron beam melting (EBM) Ti–6Al–4V alloys containing 6 wt% β and similar impurities level was investigated. The length of the α/β interphase boundaries in the EBM alloy was larger by 34% compared to that in the wrought alloy. The small punch test (SPT) technique was used to characterize the mechanical behavior of the non-hydrogenated and hydrogenated specimens. It was found that the maximum load and the displacement at maximum load of the wrought alloy remained nearly stable after 6 h of charging, showing a maximum decrease of ∼32% and 11%, respectively. Similarly, hydrogenation of the EBM alloy resulted in a gradual degradation in mechanical properties with charging time, up to ∼81% and 86% in pop-in load and displacement at the “pop-in” load, respectively. The mode of fracture of the wrought alloy changed from ductile to semi-brittle with mud-cracking in all hydrogenated specimens. In contrast, the mode of fracture of the EBM alloy changed from a mixed mode ductile-brittle fracture to brittle fracture with star-like morphology. The degraded mechanical properties of the EBM alloy are attributed to its α/β lamellar microstructure which acted as a short-circuit path and enhanced hydrogen diffusion into the bulk as well as δa and δb hydride formation on the surface. In contrast, a surface layer with higher concentration of δa and δb hydrides in the wrought alloy served as a barrier to hydrogen uptake into the bulk and increased the alloy resistivity to hydrogen embrittlement (HE). This study shows that EBM Ti–6Al–4V alloy is more susceptible to mechanical degradation due to HE than wrought Ti–6Al–4V alloy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6388-6403
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number9
StatePublished - 29 Jan 2022


  • Additive manufacturing (AM)
  • Electron beam melting (EBM)
  • Hydrogen embrittlement (HE)
  • Small punch test (SPT)
  • Titanium hydride
  • Ti–6Al–4V alloy


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