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Hydrogen embrittlement???

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by luvtrapguns, Nov 3, 2009.

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  1. luvtrapguns

    luvtrapguns Well-Known Member

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    I have often thought that it would be nice to have a gun finished in industrial hard chrome. This varies from show nickel/chrome in that it is dull gray in appearance (much like a sand blasted SS) and very hard with excellent wear resistance. There is no nickel or copper under coat or layer.
    This process (hard chrome or nickel/chrome) creates a condition called hydrogen embrittlement, wherein the base steel becomes brittle and changes it's characteristics.

    Anyone have any personal experience or input on this subject? I know that there are many pistols with a nickel finish but have never seen one with nickel/chrome. I believe that these guns mey be unsafe to shoot because of the embrittlement. Would a heat treatment or other process allow the hard chrome finish to be a safe option?

    All knowledgeable replies would be appreciated. This would be in regard to applying hard chrome to a trap gun.

    Thanks, Marc
     
  2. 221

    221 Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    Just as a FYI....Colt offers Hard Chromed pistols.
     
  3. Jim101

    Jim101 Active Member

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    I would say it depends on how deep the embrittlement goes into the base metal. If it's like a case hardening that's only a few thousandths deep, I doubt it would negativly affect the gun.


    JMHO. Jim
     
  4. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    If you're using an acid-based chemistry that presents the possibility of embrittlement, all the processor has to do is dehydrogenate the metal afterward. Couple hundred degrees (C) thermal treatment for a half-hour in an oven drives that Hydrogen off before it can coalesce into bubbles and embrittle the metal. (It has to be done promptly after the parts come out of the bath, though).

    It's a standard industrial metal treatment process. If your vendor isn't aware of this, go somewhere else because they don't know what they're doing.
     
  5. ljutic73

    ljutic73 Well-Known Member

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    There was an article in Hot Rod Magazine decades ago about Hydrogen Embrittlment in chromed front axles, causing them to snap...maybe someone here with a specialty in metalurgy can comment on how this applies to firearms....
     
  6. Wolfman

    Wolfman Member

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    Hydrogen embrittlement is removed by using an extended draw cycle at a certain temperature (I forgot the number). It also occurs in other plating processes. Any good plater will know the formula for stress relief. If you can't find one, PM me and I can point you to several.
     
  7. luvtrapguns

    luvtrapguns Well-Known Member

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    Ross,
    Thanks, this is exactly the info I was hopeful of finding. The Metaloy site seems to answer it all.

    Thanks to all that responded, Marc
     
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