Power Through Hydrogen
Sandia National Laboratory has asked a Boise State University senior design team to develop a concept design for a pressure vessel for studying the effects of high-pressure gaseous hydrogen on structural materials. The information gained from these studies will help scientists at Sandia National Laboratory to understand the effects of gaseous hydrogen on mechanical properties as a function of pressure and temperature and guide the development of new codes and standards for conducting material tests within a gaseous hydrogen environment. Hydrogen diffuses in the atomic structure of metals reducing the fracture properties and increasing crack growth rates under fatigue loading. Gaseous hydrogen embrittlement is a function of hydrogen, partial pressure, and temperature. The pressure vessel will facilitate fracture testing and reverse fatigue loading in a pure gaseous hydrogen environment at pressures up to 20,000 psi. The unique aspects of this design are controlling temperature in the range between 173 K and 673 K (-148 F and 752 F), with priority for low temperature testing, and the design space requirements. Engineering data gathered from tests in gaseous hydrogen will help qualify materials for hydrogen service in applications ranging from pressure vessels for storage of hydrogen, to pipelines for distribution of hydrogen, to gas management components in fuel cell systems, and aboard fuel cell vehicles. Understanding the interactions between hydrogen and structural materials is imperative if the nation is to transition to a future hydrogen economy.