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Determination of susceptibility to intergranular corrosion in AISI 304L and 316L type stainless steels by electrochemical reactivation method

Aydoğdu, Gülgün Hamide
Austenitic stainless steels have a major problem during solution annealing or welding in the temperature range of 500-800 °C due to the formation of chromium carbide, which causes chromium depleted areas along grain boundaries. This means that the structure has become sensitized to intergranular corrosion. Susceptibility to intergranular corrosion can be determined by means of destructive acid tests or by nondestructive electrochemical potentiokinetic reactivation (EPR) tests. The EPR test, which provides quantitative measurements, can be practiced as single loop or double loop. Single loop EPR method for AISI 304 and 304L type stainless steels was standardized; however double loop EPR (DLEPR) method has not been validated yet. In this study, the degree of sensitization was examined in AISI 304L and 316L type steels by DLEPR method whose experiments have been carried out on sensitive and nonsensitive steels to examine and determine the detailed parameters; solution temperature, concentration and scan rate of the DLEPR method. In order to determine the degree of sensitization, oxalic acid, Huey and Streicher tests were carried out and revealed microstructures and measurements of weight loss by the acid tests were then correlated with DLEPR method results, as a first step towards standardization of DLEPR method for 316L steels. Best agreement was provided with test parameters which are 1M H2SO4 + 0.005M KSCN at 3 V/hr scan rate with 30 °C solution temperature. It was concluded that specimens can be classified as step, dual and ditch, if the Ir:Ia ratios were obtained to be between 0 to 0.15, 0.15 to 4.0 and 4.0 to higher respectively.