About Embrittlement Testing

Embrittlement of materials can be caused by several reasons: leaching a plasticizer from a polymer, lowering a material below its ductile-to-brittle transition temperature, or hydrogen embrittlement of a steel.  

  • Approaches

    It is very important to know the environmental conditions that any embrittled material was exposed to.  

    Chemical analysis can check for an absence of plasticizers or presence of embrittling chemicals, and mechanical testing can confirm the elasticity of the materials.  
    Fractography is performed as most failed materials have cracks and surface features which give unique indicators as to what failure mode occurred and thus how embrittlement was relevant to the failure mode.
  • Sample Considerations

    Each chemical analysis and mechanical test has its own sampling requirements.

    Analysis of any failed surfaces would also be prepared according to the microscopic techniques that would be utilized.  SEM/EDS for example requires a relatively small and conductive sample, so any large samples would have to be reduced in size and any non-conductive samples would be sputter coated.
    Contact us to discuss your embrittlement testing needs and associated sample considerations.
  • Experience

    One example of embrittlment testing we've done is analyzing plasticizers leaching from various plastics.