The effect of absorbed hydrogen on the corrosion of steels: Review, discussion, and implications

S. Thomas, G. Sundararajan, P. D. White, N. Birbilis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The presence of absorbed hydrogen (H) within pure iron and most steels (including carbon and stainless steels) has been found to increase their corrosion. Historically, the enhanced corrosion of H-charged steels has been attributed to the ability of H to destabilize the passive film formed upon the metal. However, recent works have revealed that absorbed H can promote Fe dissolution even in non-passivating solutions. This indicates that the effect of H on metal corrosion could be "intrinsic," rather than through "extrinsic" mechanisms involving solely the destabilization of the passive film. In this review, the impact of absorbed H on the corrosion of different types of steels has been collated, summarized, and discussed. The influence of H on the pitting and environmentally assisted cracking mechanisms of steels has been elaborated. Some implications of H-assisted corrosion from an engineering perspective have also been discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-436
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Corrosion
  • Hydrogen
  • Hydrogen assisted cracking
  • Hydrogen-induced corrosion pitting
  • Steel
  • Sulfide stress cracking

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