The paper presents the results of a programme designed to define the material, stress and environmental factors controlling sensitivity of ferritic-austenitic stainless steels to hydrogen embrittlement stress cracking when exposed to cathodic protection. Factors examined in small and large-scale tests include microstructural coarseness, phase balance and hardness of a range of parent steels and welds. The results are presented in terms of threshold strain and normalised stress to develop hydrogen embrittlement stress cracks. The effects of microstructure and applied potential on crack initiation and propagation are described. Recommendations are made with respect to the strain/normalised stress levels for ferritic-austenitic steels under cathodic protection.

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