Understanding Hydrogen Embrittlement

The durability of certain metals such as steel is controlled according to the type of application it is going to be used for. Certain metals, like aluminium and steel, are incredibly durable, making them slightly unsuitable for particular applications. However, processes such as hydrogen embrittlement could be used in order to make the metals brittle or fracture them. Basically, the process involves introducing and then diffusing hydrogen within the metal. Due to the difference in the material properties, the metal becomes considerably more brittle. The phenomenon for hydrogen embrittlement was introduced in 1875.

The Process

Before the introduction of hydrogen embrittlement, there was practically no way to make the metal more brittle. However, this process basically involves diffusing the hydrogen into the surface of the metal, and then the individual atoms of hydrogen to make it more and more brittle. As the solubility of hydrogen continues to rise with the temperature, simply increasing the temperature can also increase the rate at which diffusion occurs. The individual hydrogen atoms start combining slowly with the metal to create the hydrogen molecules, thus increasing the amount of pressure within the metal.

The hardness of the metal contributes significantly to hydrogen embrittlement. Harder, stronger materials are much more susceptible to failure as compared to weaker ones. That’s why most companies recommend that the hardness of the material should be at least 35 HRC in order for hydrogen embrittlement to occur. However, the recommended hardness for the material should be above 40 HRC in order for the hydrogen embrittlement to happen properly.

Finding a Company for Hydrogen Embrittlement

If you want hydrogen embrittlement done, it’s important that you find a suitable company for processing the metallic surfaces. There are a number of companies that offer embrittlement as well as blackening solutions. You can contact the company and ask them to send a technician over to take a look at the surfaces that need to be put through the hydrogen embrittlement process. The hardness of the solution will first have to be tested before it can be put through the hydrogen embrittlement process.

This process is becoming more and more popular in a number of European countries, especially as people begin to realise the advantages that hydrogen embrittlement offers. You can ask different companies to give you a quote for the total costs of hydrogen embrittlement.

Most of the companies that offer such services also provide a wide range of other solutions, such as blackening metallic surfaces and coating. You can discuss your needs when you visit their shop in order to find more information about their pricing and the wide range of services they offer before you opt for their services. These are some basic things you should know about the embrittlement process.