Detecting trapped hydrogen in aluminum alloy (SIMS)

SIMS detects trapped hydrogen in alloys

The hydrogen atom easily invades into metals causing degradation of the mechanical properties, well-known as hydrogen embrittlement. It is therefore important to perform local analysis of hydrogen to better understand hydrogen trapping phenomenon in metallic materials. It has been, however, extremely difficult to analyze “real” hydrogen at trap sites in metallic materials by SIMS due to false detections of hydrogen caused by background-originated signal.

In this study, the researchers have thoroughly excluded the possibilities of false detections and for the first time succeeded in detecting and visualizing real hydrogen trapped at the intermetallic particles. Above, a 3D reconstructed ion image shows hydrogen trapped at intermetallic particles in a practical aluminum alloy (6061-T6) exposed to high-pressure hydrogen gas (100 MPa, 200 °C for 300 hours). This study demonstrates that SIMS is one of most promising techniques to visualize the local distribution of hydrogen in metallic materials.

Using the IMS 7f-Auto, 2D mapping and 3D volume reconstruction of trace and major species can be obtained in metallic samples. Other strengths of the SIMS technique include its unique depth profiling capabilities, as well as its high sensitivity (low detection limits) for several elements of interest including light elements such as Hydrogen.

Data collected on IMS 7f at Kyushu Univ., Fukuoka (Japan).
From: J. Yamabe, T. Awane, Y. Murakami, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 42 (2017), 24560