Skip to main content

The effect of liquid gallium on the strengths of stainless steel and thermoplastics


We have investigated the effect of liquid gallium on type 316L stainless steel (as a candidate for the P–V–T pressure vessel), and four thermoplastics: two semicrystalline (high-density polyethylene and polypropylene) and two amorphous (polystyrene and poly(methyl methacrylate)). Specimens were coated with gallium and held at elevated temperatures and reduced pressure for extended periods. Measurements conducted on the plastics include weight change analyses, tensile tests and particle diffusion analysis using dispersion X-ray spectroscopy. For the stainless steel specimens, tensile and corrosion tests were conducted. Scanning electron microscopy was used to determine the level of corrosion. The results are compared with specimens heat treated identically but without gallium contact. After 3 months, the gallium corroded the surface of the steel to a depth of only 12 μm. No penetration path of the gallium into the steel has been observed. The gallium was also found to cause no change in the mechanical properties of the polymers tested, nor was it found to have caused any weight change in the specimens.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. W.-Y. Shih and A. Stana, CIMP Technical Report 82, Cornell University (1995).

  2. V. P. Dwivedi, MSME thesis, New Jersey Institute of Technology (1995).

  3. N. I. Sax, “Dangerous properties of industrial materials” (Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1989).

    Google Scholar 

  4. M. G. Nicholas, in Proceedings of Symposium Fall Meeting of the Metallurgical Society, St Louis, MD, October 1982 (Metallurgical Society of AIME, Warrendale, PA, 1982) pp. 28–50.

    Google Scholar 

  5. W. Rostoker, “Embrittlement by liquid metals” (Reinhold, New York, 1960).

    Google Scholar 

  6. T. S. Watanabe, S. Shima and S. Karashima, in Proceedings of AIME Conference, 1982 (AIME, New York, 1982).

    Google Scholar 

  7. A. R. Westwood, C. M. Preese and M. H. Kamdar, Trans. Am. Soc. Metals 60 (1967) 723.

    Google Scholar 

  8. M. Tanaka and H. Fukunaga, Proc. Jpn. Congr. Mater. Res. 250 (1969) 248.

    Google Scholar 

  9. V. A. Ponimash, V. Y. Prokhorenko and I. S. Slabkovkii, Soviet Mater. Sci. 16 (1980) 505.

    Google Scholar 

  10. “ASM Metals Handbook” (American Society for Metals, Metals Park, OH, 1990).

  11. S. S. Kutateladze, Liquid metals heat transfer media consultants bureau, New York, 1959).

  12. P. A. Schweitzer, “Corrosion resistance tables”, Part B (Marcel Dekker, New York, 1991).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Narh, K.A., Dwivedi, V.P., Grow, J.M. et al. The effect of liquid gallium on the strengths of stainless steel and thermoplastics. Journal of Materials Science 33, 329–337 (1998).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Stainless Steel
  • Polystyrene
  • Tensile Test
  • Methacrylate
  • Gallium