Nanovoids for Developing New Hydrogen-resistant Materials (NanoHMAT)

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Civil & Environmental Engineering


Hydrogen is ubiquitous and its applications will drive the technology of a net-zero carbon society. Hydrogen isotopes fuel the nuclear fusion reaction, the most efficient potentially useable energy process. Hydrogen is also widely seen as an energy carrier of the future and the most versatile means of energy storage. It can be produced via electrolysis from renewable sources, such as wind or solar power, and stored to be used as fuel or as a raw material in the chemical industry. Hampering these opportunities, hydrogen is known to cause catastrophic failures in metallic structures. The strength, fracture toughness and ductility of metals can be reduced by orders of magnitude in the presence of hydrogen. From bolt cracking at the Leadenhall ("Cheesegrater") skyscraper to the failure of offshore structures, the impact of this so-called hydrogen embrittlement phenomenon is pervasive across the energy, transport, construction and defence sectors.

Research efforts in the hydrogen embrittlement community have been mainly directed towards the understanding of this chemo-mechanical phenomenon and the development of models capable of predicting when hydrogen assisted failures would occur. NanoHMAT aims at bringing a paradigm-shift by going from analysis to design, exploring high-risk high-gain approaches for developing a new generation of hydrogen embrittlement-resistant materials. This will be achieved by exploiting the fact that hydrogen is "trapped" at microstructural features such as grain boundaries, voids or carbides, in a research endeavour that combines multi-scale/physics simulations, advanced characterisation techniques and state-of-the-art nano/micro-manufacturing.
Description Stand at the Exhibition Road Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A stand was presented in the Exhibition Road Festival, showcasing the latest findings of our active research grants and more generally disseminating our activities. The event attracts tens of thousands of attendees over a weekend.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022