Becoming brittle. Pertains especially to the reactor vessel of nuclear power plants gradually becoming prone to breakage or snapping as a result of continuous bombardment by radiation. It is the prime factor forcing the decommissioning of nuclear power plants.
Loss of load carrying capacity of a metal or alloy; The severe loss of ductility or toughness or both, of a material, usually a metal or alloy. Many forms of embrittlement can lead to brittle fracture. Many forms can occur during thermal treatment or elevated-temperature service (thermally induced embrittlement). Some of these forms of embrittlement, which affect steels, include blue brittleness, 885F (475C) embrittlement, quench-age embrittlement, sigma-phase embrittlement, strain-age embrittlement, temper embrittlement, tempered martensite embrittlement, and thermal embrittlement. In addition, steels and other metals and alloys can be embrittled by environmental conditions (environmentally assisted embrittlement). The forms of environmental embrittlement include acid embrittlement, caustic embrittlement, corrosion embrittlement, creep-rupture embrittlement, hydrogen embrittlement, liquid metal embrittlement, neutron embrittlement, solder embrittlement, solid metal embrittlement, and stress-corrosion cracking.
metal condition that causes the metal to suffer a severe loss of ductility and/or toughness. Titanium alloys are susceptible to embrittlement from several sources including hydrogen pickup (from water vapor, pickling acids, and hydrocarbons), and liquid metal embrittlement (liquid cadmium, mercury and silver).
Destructive action of highly concentrated caustic boiler water on steel. Results in irregular cracking of the tubes and sides of the boiler. In alkaline systems, inhibitors must be used to prevent this.