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This article examines the embrittlement of iron and carbon steels. It describes compositional, processing, and service conditions that contribute to the problem and presents examples of how embrittlement influences mechanical properties. Embrittlement due to hydrogen is the most common form of embrittlement and influences the behavior and properties of nearly all ferrous alloys and many metals. The article explains why hydrogen embrittlement is so widespread and reviews the many types of damage it can cause. It also explores other forms of embrittlement, including metal-induced embrittlement, strain-age and aluminum nitride embrittlement, thermal embrittlement, quench cracking, 475 deg C and sigma phase embrittlement (in FeCr alloys), temper embrittlement, and embrittlement caused by neutron irradiation. In addition, the article covers stress-corrosion cracking along with properties and conditions that affect it, and the procedures to detect and evaluate it.

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