First Advisor

Makoto Takeo

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Environmental Sciences and Resources: Physics


Environmental Science and Management




Chromium hydrides, Metals -- Hydrogen content, Hydrides



Physical Description

4, x, 119 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


The interaction of hydrogen with metals has great environmental significance in problems ranging from the catastrophic failure of materials due to hydrogen embrittlement to safe and efficient storage of hydrogen as a metal hydride. Chromium (Cr) is widely used as an alloying agent to produce materials such as stainless steel and as an electroplated coating on materials to prevent corrosion and to minimize wear. Hydrogen which co-deposits with chromium during electroplating forms hexagonal close packed CrH or face centered cubic CrH2 which cracks the deposit. The behavior of hydrogen in Cr, especially the crystal structure modifications of metal Cr when it is exposed to hot, dense hydrogen gas is not completely understood. In equilibrium study, chromium hydride has been found of hexagonal close packed structure under 400 °C with high hydrogen pressure. Experiments at higher temperatures are limited by the equipment and technology. This dissertation describes a novel, non-equilibrium method which was used to synthesize a new chromium hydride phase. Single crystal, body centered cubic Cr thin films were prepared by vacuum evaporation. These films were exposed to high temperature (close to the melting point of Cr), high pressure hydrogen gas in a ballistic compressor. This was followed by rapid cooling (>105 ˚C/s) to room temperature. Using the transmission electron microscope (TEM), second phase particles of superhexagonal structure, which has lattice constant A=4.77Å and C/A=1.84, are found in the films. This structure has a volume per Cr atom slightly larger than that of hexagonal closed packed CrH, so that the superhexagonal structure may contain more hydrogen than the hexagonal close packed CrH. The superhexagonal particles have a definite orientation relationship with the matrix: [021][subscript sh] II [OOl][subscript b] and (212)[subscript sh] II (IIO)[subscript ]b. The superhexagonal structure is quite stable in air and at room temperature, but decomposes to body centered cubic Cr when heated by the electron beam illumination in the TEM. No such particles were observed in Cr films exposed to pure argon under similar conditions in the ballistic compressor. Positive identification of hydrogen content was obtained by high-temperature vacuum extraction in a discharge tube. After vacuum extraction, hydrogen spectrum was observed, and the intensity of electron diffraction from superhexagonal structure decreased. Using an energy dispersive spectrometer with the capability of detecting elements down to atomic number six (carbon), no changes in composition of the films were found by comparing the characteristic x-ray spectra of the same film before and after exposure to hot, dense hydrogen in the ballistic compressor. This result suggests that this non-equilibrium method may be used for other metal-hydrogen systems to obtain new structural phases that are of scientific or technological interest.


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