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Hydrogen embrittlement of plated nuts


Q. We have a newly designed part that is acting as a spring clip and that has threaded portions for a bolt (a complex nut). The part is plated. I am aware of hydrogen embrittlement issues with bolts or capscrews, but have never heard of issues associated with nuts. Are there concerns with hydrogen embrittlement associated with nuts?

Trent Jefferies
- Selmer, Tennessee, USA

"Hydrogen Embrittlement: Prevention & Control"
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A. Hydrogen Embrittlement is a buzz word like Cancer. It can be a major problem and it can also be irrelevant. Yes it can affect nuts just as much as bolts. Do you have a potential problem? That would depend on what the metal was, hardness, the amount of cold or hot working after heat treat, the length of the draw time, the preplate cycle, the plate cycle and most important: How soon did it get in the postplate bake oven and what that bake cycle was.

The final item is economic-Is it going to be used in a critical to safety area or on something like a clipboard. This will cause a concern from intense to zero. Translated, what is your liability.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


A. Though I agree that hydrogen embrittlement (HE) can happen, we have not had any such failures. We have had many externally threaded fasteners fail in such a matter, as well as the whole industry. I am wondering if the stress distribution in a nut is such that is does not achieve the necessary threshhold to induce this failure mechanism? I am not including captured washers in that comment! If you have an example, I would love to see it!

Rick Turonek
- Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA

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