The Hydrogen Embrittlement of Steels (HEMS) project was a consortium funded by the English Physical Science Research Council to study the damage caused to steels by exposure to hydrogen. Upon exposure to hydrogen steels demonstrate a dramatic decrease in their tensile strength and instead of bending and stretching, the steel “cracks” in a brittle fashion. The HEMS consortium was a collaboration between a number of UK universities to study this phenomenon and elucidate the physical mechanisms underpinning it. If steels could be manufactured which are resistant to this effect it would enable a range of new technologies in the fields of energy and transport, and would be an essential step towards transforming to a hydrogen based energy economy.
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