Understanding Corrosion in Water Pipelines: A Guide for Pipeline Designers


Brittle Failure

Last updated: July 21, 2020

What Does Brittle Failure Mean?

Brittle failure refers to the breakage of a material due to a sudden fracture. When a brittle failure occurs, the material breaks suddenly instead of deforming or straining under load. The fracturing or breaking can occur with only a small amount of load, impact force or shock. Brittle materials absorb less energy before breaking or fracturing, despite the materials having a high strength.

Brittle failure may also be known as brittle fracture.


Corrosionpedia Explains Brittle Failure

When materials reach the limit of their strength, they usually have the option of either fracturing or undergoing physical deformation. Materials exhibiting brittleness fail with little or no evidence of plastic deformation before the fracturing occurs.

Most glasses, ceramics and some polymers such as polystyrene and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) are brittle materials.

A material's brittle strength can be increased by applying pressure to it until it reaches its ultimate tensile strength, beyond which it will fail. Non-brittle steel becomes brittle at low temperatures based on their processing and composition. A metal that is naturally malleable is made stronger by obstructing the mechanics of plastic deformation. But, if it is pushed to the extreme, the material becomes brittle and fracturing is a likely outcome.



Brittle Fracture

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