Susceptibility of stainless steels to intergranular corrosion after heat treating
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Thermal etching reveals the structure of austenitic stainless Cr-Ni-Mo-Ti-Cu steels. Industrial heats of steels A and B (Table 1) contain unstable austenite; 2–5 minutes' heating at 600–850°C (1110–1560°F) precipitates finely dispersed Cr-Mo carbide particles at the grain boundaries and the steel becomes susceptible to IG corrosion.
Steel C, Table 1, contains stable austenite, not undergoing grain growth nor precipitating carbide at grain boundaries on short-period heating in an arc (critical time: 10 minutes). The steel is therefore resistant to IG corrosion.
Aging of steels A and C for 50–100 hours at 800–950°C (1470–1740°F) precipitates high-chromium sigma phase inside the grains and at their boundaries.
KeywordsCarbide Stainless Steel Austenite Critical Time Sigma Phase
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