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In essence, HIC testing is actually an evaluation of the steel for susceptibility to hydrogen embrittlement. The test procedure involves the evaluation of resistance of pressure vessel steel plate and pipework steels to hydrogen reduced cracking caused by hydrogen absorption from aqueous sulfide corrosion. HIC testing is recommended to evaluate the resistance of pipeline and pressure vessel plate steels to hydrogen induced cracking corrosion caused by hydrogen absorption from aqueous sulfide corrosion.

HIC testing in accordance with base testing norm NACE TM0284 is performed by exposing unstressed test specimens against continuous flow of saturated hydrogen sulfide gas [H2S] at 1 bar pressure and temperature of 25degC for a duration of 96 hours for the standard test.