Microstructural Investigation of Protective and Non-Protective Oxides on 11% Chromium Steel
FIB, SEM and STEM/EDX were used to investigate X20 stainless-steel samples exposed to dry O2, or O2 containing 40% H2O, with a flow velocity of 0.5 cm/s or 5 cm/s, for 168 hr or 336 hr at 600°C. Thin protective Cr-rich (Cr,Fe)2O3 was maintained on the samples exposed to dry O2, even after 336 hr, and on the sample exposed to O2/H2O mixture with the low-flow velocity (0.5 cm/s) for 168 hr. The oxide scale formed in the latter environment contained less Cr, due to Cr loss through CrO2(OH)2 evaporation. Breakaway oxidation occurred on the samples exposed in high-gas-flow velocity for shorter time (168 hr) or in low-gas-flow velocity (0.5 cm/s) for longer time (336 hr). The breakaway scales featured a two-layered structure: an outward-growing oxide “island” consisting of almost pure hematite (α-Fe2O3), and an inward-growing oxide “crater” consisting of (Cr,Fe)3O4. The transition from a thin protective (Cr,Fe)2O3 scale to a non-protective thick scale on this martensitic/ferritic steel originated locally and was followed by rapid oxide growth, resulting in a thick scale that covered the whole sample surface.
Keywordsstainless steel high-temperature oxidation water vapor microstructure FIB TEM EDX
This work was carried out within the Swedish High Temperature Corrosion centre (HTC) with financial support partly provided by the Swedish National Research Council (VR).
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