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During an inspection of a structure two weeks after assembly, the heads of several cadmium-plated AISI 8740 steel fasteners were found to be completely separated from their respective shanks. SEM examination of the fracture surfaces revealed a brittle, intergranular fracture mode, indicating hydrogen embrittlement. An investigation was conducted to determine the extent of hydrogen embrittlement in the various lots of cadmium-plated 8740 steel fasteners. It was found that hydrogen embrittlement was caused by the use of a bright, impervious cadmium electroplate that hindered diffusion of mobile hydrogen outward from the surface of the pin. After the cadmium layer was...

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