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Hydrogen embrittlement is the brittleness affecting copper and copper alloys containing oxygen which develops during heat treatment at temperatures of about 400 deg C (752 deg F) and above in an atmosphere containing hydrogen. The phenomenon of hydrogen embrittlement of copper and its alloys is illustrated by examples from practice and reference is made to data from recent publications on the subject. Embrittlement due to this cause can only be identified by microscopic examination because other modes of failure in copper; e.g., from heat cracking, mechanical overload, the formation of low melting point eutectics or corrosion; show a similar appearance when investigated on a macroscopic scale.

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