Microelectrochemical aspects of interstitial carbon in type 304 stainless steel: Improving pitting resistance at MnS inclusion

Aya Chiba, Shuhei Shibukawa, Izumi Muto, Takashi Doi, Kaori Kawano, Yu Sugawara, Nobuyoshi Hara

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Type 304 stainless steel was subjected to low-temperature carburizing treatment to add excess interstitial carbon to its surface. The average carbon concentration in the carburized layer was ca. 2.6 mass%, and the lattice parameter was expanded by ca. 2.5% without any carbide precipitation. No pitting was initiated on the carburized stainless steel in 0.1 M NaCl. Microscopic polarization measurements of a small area with a MnS inclusion were performed in NaCl and Na2SO4 solutions to clarify the mechanism of the improved resistance against pitting corrosion. The anodic polarization in 0.1 M NaCl and 0.1 M Na2SO4 demonstrated that the carburizing treatment has little or no effect on the electrochemical dissolution behavior of the MnS inclusions. However, from the anodic polarization of the steel in the solution that simulates the vicinity of the dissolved MnS inclusions in chloride-containing environments, it was clarified that the carburizing treatment inhibits the active dissolution rate of the steel matrix to about one hundredth. It would appear that interstitial carbon inhibits the dissolution rate of the steel, resulting in a reduction in the dissolution depth of the trenches at the MnS/steel boundaries. It is likely that the carburization resulted in a suppression of both the acidification due to the hydrolysis reaction of Cr3+ and the potential decrease due to IR-drop in the trenches to the extent that the corrosivity inside the trenches is insufficient for the localized transition from the passive to active state. Therefore, pit initiation does not occur at the MnS inclusions on the carburized stainless steel in chloride-containing environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)C270-C278
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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