Asset Intelligence Report

A Primer on Hydrogen Bake-Out

Hydrogen Bake-Out is a process used in the oil & gas, chemical, and petrochemical industries to drive trapped hydrogen out of steel. Under certain operating conditions atomic hydrogen can form and dissolve into the steel equipment. This hydrogen can cause the steel to become brittle and prone to fractures via a process known as hydrogen embrittlement.

Hydrogen bake-out is a process where hydrogen is driven out of the equipment prior to welding. If the process is not performed, hydrogen has the potential to build up at the weld site, eventually causing weld failure or what is known as “hydrogen cracking.” This cracking can occur during welding or there can be some delay between the completion of the weld and the formation of hydrogen cracks, usually within 48 hours. Thus, if traditional inspection is carried out too soon after welding is completed on susceptible materials, these cracks may not be detected and as a result, a faulty weld/equipment could unknowingly be put into service.

This Asset Intelligence Report contains the following sections:

  • History of the Hydrogen Bake-Out Process
  • Techniques and Methodology
  • Industry Applications
  • Codes, Standards, and Best Practices
  • Further Reading

As with other Asset Intelligence Reports, this document is not intended to serve as a comprehensive guide, but rather an introductory primer on the hydrogen bake-out process. Since the information is provided in a condensed format, we recommend printing and laminating copies that can be referenced by you and your co-workers at your convenience.

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A Primer on Hydrogen Bake-Out

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