Soheil Sabooni, Hamed Rashtchi, Abdoulmajid Eslami, Fathallah Karimzadeh, Mohammad Hossein Enayati, Keyvan Raeissi, Alfonso Hing Wan Ngan, Reihane Faghih Imani
July 5, 2017
The corrosion resistance of austenitic stainless steels is known to be hampered by the loss of chromium available for passive surface layer formation as a result of chromium carbide precipitation at austenite grain boundaries during annealing treatments. Although high-temperature annealing can promote carbide dissolution leading to better corrosion resistance, grain coarsening also results, which would lead to poorer mechanical properties. Processing methods to achieve both good corrosion resistance and mechanical properties are thus highly desirable for austenitic stainless steels. In the present study, we show that the corrosion resistance of AISI 304L stainless steel can be improved by grain refinement into the ultrafine-grained regime. Specifically, samples with different austenite grain sizes in the range of 0.65–12 μm were studied by potentiodynamic polarization and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy tests in a 3.5 wt.% NaCl solution. All samples showed a typical passive behavior with similar corrosion potential, but the corrosion current density decreased significantly with decreasing grain size. The results show that the sample with the finest grain size had the best corrosion resistance due to a higher resistance of the passive layer to pitting attacks. This study indicates that grain refinement which improves mechanical properties can also significantly improve the corrosion resistance of AISI 304L stainless steel.