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Chloride Stress Corrosion Cracking (Stainless Steels)

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SPECIALIZED CORROSION DOE-HDBK-1015/1-93 Corrosion CH-02 Rev. 0 Page 32 The most effective means for preventing SCC are proper design, reducing stress, removing critical environmental contributors (for example, hydroxides, chlorides, and oxygen), and avoiding stagnant areas and crevices in heat exchangers where chlorides and hydroxides might become concentrated.  Low alloy steels are less susceptible than high alloy steels, but they are subject to SCC in water containing chloride ions.  Nickel based alloys are not affected by chloride or hydroxide ions. Two types of SCC are of major concern to a nuclear facility. Chloride Stress Corrosion Cracking (Stainless Steels) The three conditions that must be present for chloride stress corrosion to occur are as follows. Chloride ions are present in the environment Dissolved oxygen is present in the environment Metal is under tensile stress Austenitic stainless steel is a non-magnetic alloy consisting of iron, chromium, and nickel, with a low carbon content.  This alloy is highly corrosion resistant and has desirable mechanical properties.  One type of corrosion which can attack austenitic stainless  steel  is  chloride  stress  corrosion.    Chloride  stress  corrosion  is  a  type  of intergranular corrosion.   Chloride stress corrosion involves selective attack of the metal along grain boundaries. In the formation of the steel, a chromium-rich carbide precipitates at the grain boundaries leaving these areas low in protective chromium, and thereby, susceptible to attack.  It has been found that this is closely associated with certain heat treatments resulting from welding.  This can be minimized considerably by proper annealing processes.   This form of corrosion is controlled by maintaining low chloride ion and oxygen content in the environment and the use of low carbon steels.  Environments containing dissolved oxygen and chloride ions can readily be created in auxiliary water systems.  Chloride ions can enter these systems via leaks in condensers or at other locations where auxiliary systems associated with the nuclear facility are cooled by unpurified cooling water. Dissolved oxygen can readily enter these systems with feed and makeup water.  Thus, chloride stress corrosion cracking is of concern, and controls must be used to prevent its occurrence.



   


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