Present paper deals with the influence of a wide range of cold rolling (5, 10, 15 and maximum 40% cold deformation) and the sensitization time (aging at 700°C for 0.12, 0.5, 1, 4, 16 and 32 hours) on intergranular corrosion (IGC). Intergranular corrosion of commercial stainless steel type X6CrNiTi18-10 (1.4541, AISI 321) is frequently observed in several process environments. These localized attacks are normally attributed to the carbide precipitation and concomitant depletion of chromium near grain boundary due to steel exposure to sensitization temperature. Such undesirable microchemistry is expected to be changed further if the material undergoes deformation prior to sensitization. The consequences of deformation on IGC have been investigated by using EN ISO 3651-1methods (Huey test – Corrosion test in nitric acid medium by measurement of loss in mass). Introducing deformation to the investigated stainless steel seems to change the kinetics of carbide precipitation M23C6 and thereby changes it resistance to IGC. Cold deformation before sensitization reduces the intensity of intergranular corrosion of this steel. The deformed structure created during the cold work process, numerous slip planes and the twins boundaries are just like the grain boundaries and the places where the chromium carbides preferentially precipitates. Due to the more evenly occurring precipitation processes within the whole deformed grains, there is no phenomenon of local grain boundary carbide precipitation, and thus there is no decrease in the resistance of this steel to intergranular corrosion. The assessment of the degree of intergranular corrosion was based on the measurement of mass loss and observation of corroded surfaces on optical and electron transmission and scanning microscopes.
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