A full understanding of hydrogen effect on deformation is important to reveal the mechanism of hydrogen embrittlement. The effects of thermal gaseous hydrogen charging on 304 and 310S austenitic stainless steels have been examined by using nanoindentation. It is first found by using nanoindentation continuous stiffness measurement that hydrogen decreases the elastic modulus and increases the hardness in the initial stage of plastic deformation, while the hydrogen effect becomes weaker and remains nearly constant with further plastic deformation. Hydrogen increases the creep displacement in 310S steel, which indicates that hydrogen facilitates ambient creep. α′ martensite restrains the nanoindentation creep and hydrogen has little effect on the creep induced by α′ martensite.

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