Planar cracking that occurs in carbon and low alloy steels when atomic hydrogen diffuses into the steel and then combines to form molecular hydrogen at trap sites.
NOTE Cracking results from the pressurization of trap sites by hydrogen. No externally applied stress is needed for the formation of hydrogen-induced cracks.
Trap sites capable of causing HIC are commonly found in steels with high impurity levels that have a high density of planar inclusions and/or regions of anomalous microstructure (e.g. banding) produced by segregation of impurity and alloying elements in the steel. This form of hydrogen-induced cracking is not related to welding.
[ISO 15156-1:2009, definition 3.12]
Source: ISO 21457:2010, Petroleum and natural gas industries — Materials selection and corrosion control for oil and gas production systems, First Edition,September 2010. Global Standards