The dual role of coherent twin boundaries in hydrogen embrittlement
Hydrogen embrittlement (HE) causes engineering alloys to fracture unexpectedly, often at considerable economic or environmental cost. Inaccurate predictions of component lifetimes arise from inadequate understanding of how alloy microstructure affects HE. Here we investigate hydrogen-assisted fracture of a Ni-base superalloy and identify coherent twin boundaries (CTBs) as the microstructural features most susceptible to crack initiation. This is a surprising result considering the renowned beneficial effect of CTBs on mechanical strength and corrosion resistance of many engineering alloys.