What is Hydrogen Embrittlement and How Can it Be Prevented?

What is Hydrogen Embrittlement and How Can it Be Prevented?

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Hydrogen embrittlement takes place when hydrogen molecules diffuse on the surface of metal, which then compromises its strength. This eats away under the surface and eventually, cracks will appear, and with any form of plating, it is possible for hydrogen atoms to become trapped between the metal surface and the plating, which can cause the onset of the embrittlement process. Many precision made components require a layer of protection, and this is best achieved with metal blackening, rather than electroplating, as this offers a high level of protection, and because it uses a chemical reaction rather than a coating, the machined parts are exactly the same dimensions after the treatment.

Hydrogen Embrittlement Prevention

For many engineering companies, metal blackening is essential, but at the same time, they want to avoid the risk of hydrogen embrittlement, and there is one UK company that knows exactly how to prevent the hydrogen embrittlement process by using specially formulated solutions. This company has been in the metal blacking business for many years, and they even managed to develop the blacking process to be carried out at room temperature, which makes the process so much more convenient. Harder metals (above 40 HRC) are more susceptible to hydrogen embrittlement, and greater care must be taken when blacking hard metal components.

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Alkaline Solutions

This is the key to successful blacking, as most companies use an acidic based solution, while Blackfast have developed alkaline solutions, which dramatically reduce the risk of hydrogen embrittlement. In theory, using an alkaline solution eliminates the risk of hydrogen becoming trapped on the metal surface, as it involves a chemical reaction, rather than applying a coating.

Cleaning and Conditioning

As important as the blacking process itself, there are special solutions that clean and condition the surface prior to the blacking process, and due to very short immersion times, (1-2 minutes), hydrogen embrittlement cannot occur.

Blacking Without Compromise

The metal blacking process can weaken metal, but if you talk to the experts about your specific needs, you might be surprised to learn that the process can be successfully completed without compromising the strength in any way. If you would like to know more about this innovative process, an online search will point you in the right direction, and from there, you can select a suitable metal blacking kit, which can be ordered online.

Room temperature metal blacking is very affordable, and more and more businesses are reaping the benefits of a DIY blackening process, and with everything you need in the kit and easy to follow instructions, the blacking process can be completed cost effectively. The benefits of metal blacking are many, especially when compared to traditional plating, which is not only costly, there is no guarantee of success.

If you consult an experienced supplier, such as Blackfast, they will be able to advise you accordingly, and help you to protect the surfaces of your components in a safe and effective way.

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