The intergranular cracks and grain boundary (GB) network of a GB-engineered 316 stainless steel after stress corrosion cracking (SCC) test in high temperature high pressure water of reactor environment were investigated by two-dimensional and three-dimensional (3D) characterization in order to expose the mechanism that GB-engineering mitigates intergranular SCC. The 3D microstructure shown that the essential characteristic of the GB-engineered microstructure is formation of many large twin-boundaries as a result of multiple-twinning, which results in the formation of large grain-clusters. The large grain-clusters played a key role to the improvement of intergranular SCC resistance by GB-engineering. The main intergranular cracks propagated in a zigzag along the outer boundaries of these large grain-clusters because all inner boundaries of the grain-clusters were twin-boundaries (∑3) or twin-related boundaries (∑3n) which had much lower susceptibility to SCC than random boundaries. These large grain-clusters had tree-ring-shaped topology structure and very complex morphology. They got tangled so that difficult to be separated during SCC, resulting in some large crack-bridges retained in the crack surface.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Materials Science(all)
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering