Intergranular oxidation within crevice of austenitic stainless steel in high temperature water
Soma, Yasutaka ; Kato, Chiaki ; Ueno, Fumiyoshi
Intergranular oxidation (corrosion) occurred within crevice of austenitic low-carbon stainless steel (solution treated, almost no applied stress) after immersion in high temperature water (288C, 8.5 MPa, dissolved oxygen conc. 32 ppm, electrical conductivity: 1.20.2S (measured value at 25C)) for 500 h. The intergranular oxidation occurred at specific position within the crevice that is relatively distant from the crevice mouth with relatively low crevice gap. Both the grain boundary and grain matrix were oxidized. In the oxidized area, Fe and Ni were depleted and Cr was enriched compared to the matrix. Maximum penetration depth of the oxidation was approximately 50 m after 500 h. In order to understand potential-pH condition within the crevice, surface oxide layer was microscopically and thermodynamically investigated. Thermodynamic properties of the surface oxides near the intergranular oxidized area indicated lowered pH of approximately 3.2 to 3.4. In-situ measurement of local solution electrical conductivity was carried out using small electrodes (dia. 800 m) imbedded into the crevice former plate. The solution pH was estimated using theoretically calculated pH vs. electrical conductivity relationship. In the area where the intergranular oxidation occurred, the solution electrical conductivity was nearly 100 times higher than that of bulk water and which indicated lowered pH of approximately 3.5. The above results suggested that, in the high temperature and relatively high purity water, acidification occurs within crevice of stainless steels and such aggressive corrosion condition result in the intergranular oxidation.