Lack of understanding of material damage caused by transport and storage of pressurized hydrogen is a barrier to its increased use as an alternative form of energy storage. NIST scientists are actively working on these issues, with ongoing research aimed at understanding hydrogen embrittlement and other damage mechanisms that are assisted by hydrogen, including fatigue crack initiation and growth. The work is underpinned by a state-of-the-art laboratory dedicated to the mechanical testing of materials in high-pressure hydrogen gas, and equally capable metallurgical/microstructural analysis facilities. Testing and evaluation facilities include in-house fabrication, microscopy (light optical, SEM, TEM, scanned probe, helium ion, atom probe, EBSD), and x-ray diffraction, as well as access to other world-class NIST facilities such as the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) and the NIST-run beamlines at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS). The mechanisms of these processes are not well understood, and there are large gaps in the collective mechanical properties database.
Solutions to these issues would enable major auto manufacturers to push toward production hydrogen-fueled vehicles. In addition, large amounts of hydrogen generated by electrolysis of water through the use of wind and solar power generated at off-peak hours could be efficiently managed through Smart Grid solutions, to increase the amount of renewable energy generated and distributed. Pipelines have been shown to be the most effective and economical means of moving large amounts of fuel, so initial work has been focused on pipeline materials. However, there are opportunities to explore a wide range of materials needed to support development of the hydrogen infrastructure.
We are searching for applicants interested in leveraging our capabilities to advance our understanding of material behavior in hydrogen gas. The work could include developing testing methods, new data, models, and microstructural/metallurgical investigation of materials. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.nist.gov/mml/acmd/structural_materials/hydrogen-pipeline-safety.cfm/.
Fatigue; Fracture; Corrosion; Modeling; Alternative fuels; Alternative energy; Materials science; Metallurgy; Hydrogen embrittlement;