Research Articles

High-Pressure Chemistry of Hydrogen in Metals: In Situ Study of Iron Hydride

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Science  12 Jul 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5018, pp. 421-424
DOI: 10.1126/science.253.5018.421


Optical observations and x-ray diffraction measurements of the reaction between iron and hydrogen at high pressure to form iron hydride are described. The reaction is associated with a sudden pressure-induced expansion at 3.5 gigapascals of iron samples immersed in fluid hydrogen. Synchrotron x-ray diffraction measurements carried out to 62 gigapascals demonstrate that iron hydride has a double hexagonal close-packed structure, a cell volume up to 17% larger than pure iron, and a stoichiometry close to FeH. These results greatly extend the pressure range over which the technologically important iron-hydrogen phase diagram has been characterized and have implications for problems ranging from hydrogen degradation and embrittlement of ferrous metals to the presence of hydrogen in Earth's metallic core.