is a loss of ductility
of a material, making it brittle
. Various materials have different mechanisms of embrittlement.
- Hydrogen embrittlement is the effect of hydrogen absorption on some metals and alloys.
- Sulfide stress cracking is the embrittlement caused by absorption of hydrogen sulfide.
- Liquid metal embrittlement (LME) is the embrittlement caused by liquid metals.
- Metal-induced embrittlement (MIE) is the embrittlement caused by diffusion of atoms of metal, either solid or liquid, into the material.
- Neutron radiation causes embrittlement of some materials, neutron-induced swelling, and buildup of Wigner energy. This is a process especially important for neutron moderators and nuclear reactor vessels (see ductility).
- The primary embrittlement mechanism of plastics is gradual loss of plasticizers, usually by overheating or aging.
- The primary embrittlement mechanism of asphalt is by oxidation, which is most severe in warmer climates. Asphalt pavement embrittlement can lead to various forms of cracking patterns, including longitudinal, transverse, and block (hexogonal). Asphalt oxidation is related to polymer degradation, as these materials bear similarities in their chemical composition.