MSE Faculty Unravel the Mechanism of Oxygen Embrittlement of Titanium


In the February 6 issue of the journal Science, a team of researchers led by Professor Minor and Professor Chrzan report new insights into the mechanism by which titanium is strengthened and embrittled by oxygen.  The work, which combined high-end electron microscopy characterization with first-principles theoretical calculations, establishes the key role of the interactions between oxygen and screw dislocation cores.  The insights are key to designing processing strategies that could lower the cost of titanium, which could expand the use of the material for a range of applications for transportation, aerospace and beyond.  The work involved a collaboration between Berkeley MSE, and researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Japan’s Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate, and Rolls Royce.  The Office of Naval Research helped support this work. Experiments were performed at the National Center for Electron Microscopy in the Molecular Foundry at Berkeley Lab, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.  A UC Berkeley News Center story reporting the work can be found at