A material which breaks under small loads is brittle. Embrittlement occurs when an originally non-brittle material becomes brittle as a result of transformation. The causes of the transformation can be varied. Some causes can be counteracted. To protect from embrittlement through corrosion, a material can be treated in the oxygen plasma or air plasma to receive a thin oxide layer which counteracts further corrosion. By means of plasma coating, protective coats can be applied to shield substrates from environmental influences resulting in embrittlement.