Adsorption-Induced Embrittlement by Liquid Metals

  • A. R. C. Westwood
  • R. M. Latanision


The prerequisites for the adsorption-induced embrittlement of an otherwise ductile solid metal by an active liquid metal are (i) a tensile stress, (ii) either a pre-existing crack, or some measure of plastic deformation and the presence of a stable obstacle to dislocation motion in the lattice, i.e. a concentrated tensile stress resulting in highly strained bonds across the potential fracture plane, and (iii) adsorption of the active embrittling species specifically at this obstacle and subsequently at the propagating crack tip (1–5). However, the factors that determine which liquid metal will actually embrittle which solid metal remain unclear. In general, it appears that to constitute an embrittlement couple, both the solid metal and the liquid metal should exhibit limited mutual solubility and little tendency to form intermetallic compounds. Dissolution processes are not thought to be relevant, because a suitably prestressed metal specimen will fail instantaneously on being wetted with an appropriate liquid metal, and presaturating the liquid metal with the solid metal does not influence embrittlement behavior significantly (6).


Liquid Metal Fracture Stress Stack Fault Energy Critical Resolve Shear Stress Solid Metal 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. R. C. Westwood
    • 1
  • R. M. Latanision
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Institute for Advanced StudiesMartin Marietta CorporationBaltimoreUSA

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