Surface Analysis of Corrosion Pits Initiated at MnS Inclusions in 304 Stainless Steel

Ruoru Ke, Richard Alkire

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Formation of pits near MnS inclusions on 304 stainless steel in NaCl (0.1 and 0.3M) and Na2S2O3 (0 and 2 mM) solutions was investigated by a combination of surface analyses (Auger electron spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and energy dispersive x-ray analyses) and electrochemical methods. Microlithography techniques were developed to monitor a single corrosion pit initiated at a single preselected inclusion. Pits were observed to form primarily at MnS inclusions. It was found that chemical dissolution of MnS occurred at the rest potential. Sulfur species were found to spread onto the adjacent passive surface over an area having a diameter about four times the size of the inclusion. Subsequent dissolution of metal was observed to occur only at MnS inclusions larger than about 1 μm. The surface of the microcavity adjacent to the inclusion was found to be enriched in S and, in later stages of dissolution, by Cr. These observations indicated that S-species play a key role in the processes that lead to pit initiation in this system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1573-1580
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1992

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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