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What is Hydrogen Embrittlement

Hydrogen embrittlement is a phenomenon in which a material experiences a significant reduction in ductility and tensile strength when atomic hydrogen diffuses into the material.

Hydrogen in its atomic form diffuses interstitially through the crystal lattice, and concentrations as low as several parts per million can lead to catastrophic brittle failure in normally ductile material. Martensitic steels are especially vulnerable to hydrogen embrittlement.

Electroplating is one of the few process that induce hydrogen embrittlement. This makes it necessary to add a post-plating baking process to drive out any dissolved hydrogen.

Mechanical plating eliminates the risk of hydrogen embrittlement and also eliminates the need for any post-plating risk reduction processes.

Brittle Failure