Does hydrogen destroy metals?

Lots More Information

Author's Note: Does hydrogen destroy metal?

Until I started researching this article, I had no idea that hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, was so destructive. Oh sure, I knew the basics of why my beloved 1993 Ford Ranger began to rust — oxygen combined with iron to form iron oxide, and before I knew it, I was scraping and priming and painting. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to know that hydrogen eats away at metal just as easily. Hydrogen embrittlement is a serious matter, especially when hydrogen is a key component in solving our fuel needs and helping the planet. Hopefully, scientists will be able to figure out a cost-effective solution to the problem.

Related Articles


  • The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). "RL10 Rocket Engine." (Jan. 14, 2013)
  • Anderson, Jack. "Soldier Dies When Faulty Weapons Break." Ocala Star-Banner. Feb. 16, 1987. (Jan. 5, 2013),25787&dq=hydrogen+embrittlement&hl=en
  • "Hydrogen Economy of the Future Spurs Hydrogen Embrittlement Research. May 28, 2008. (Jan. 5, 2013)
  • The Chemical Heritage Foundation. "Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier." (Jan 4, 2013)
  • "Bush touts benefits of hydrogen fuel." Feb. 6, 2003. (Jan. 3, 2013)
  • Gray, Hugh. R. "Hydrogen Environment Embrittlement." NASA. June 26, 1972. (Jan. 5, 2013)
  • "History of Hydrogen." (Jan 4, 2013).
  • McGill University. "Study reveals clues to cause of hydrogen embrittlement." Nov. 19, 2012. (Jan. 7, 2013)
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory. "Hydrogen Basics." May 18, 2012. (Jan. 4, 2013)
  • Science Daily. "Clues to Cause of Hydrogen Embrittlement in Metals: Findings could guide Design of New Embrittlement-Resistant Materials." Nov. 19, 2012. (Jan. 4, 2013)
  • Science Daily. "Hydrogen Causes Metal to Break." Aug. 21, 2010. (Jan. 3, 2013)

More to Explore