We investigated the effect of hydrogen on degradation of tensile properties in a Fe–25Cr–1N austenitic stainless steel. Hydrogen was introduced by exposure to a hydrogen gas atmosphere at 100 MPa and 270 °C. Hydrogen charging caused significant ductility loss associated with nitrogen-enhanced dislocation planarity. Specifically, even without hydrogen, the nitrogen-enhanced planar dislocation glide induced micro-stress concentration, which assisted the occurrence of hydrogen-induced intergranular and quasi-cleavage fractures. The hydrogen-assisted intergranular cracking occurred along boundaries of grains where primary slip was predominantly activated. On the other hand, the hydrogen-assisted quasi-cleavage fracture took place when multiple slip systems were activated. The hydrogen-related cracks emerged, but their growth was arrested via crack blunting associated with a significant plastic deformation. Instead, new cracks formed near the crack tips. Therefore, hydrogen-assisted crack propagation occurred through repetition of crack blunting, initiation, and coalescence.
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