Hydrogen De-Embrittlement


During the cleaning and acid pickling process of electroplating, atomic hydrogen can be absorbed
through the surface of the steel component. The electroplated coating traps the hydrogen inside the steel
component unless they are baked soon after plating to drive the hydrogen out. If the hydrogen remains in
the steel, it can migrate to areas of high stress and cause small microcracks, which rapidly enlarge under
load causing a brittle failure. 

There are many standards which require hydrogen embrittlement relief baking for steel components above 
HRC 40 maximum hardness level or 1000Mpa tensile strengh where baking at 204 deg C at 4hrs, 6hrs, 8hrs
and 24hr is a requirement for hydrogen embrittlemnt relief.