Identification of MnCr2O4 nano-octahedron in catalysing pitting corrosion of austenitic stainless steels

S. J. Zheng, Y. J. Wang, B. Zhang, Y. L. Zhu, C. Liu, P. Hu, X. L. Ma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Pitting corrosion of stainless steels, one of the classical problems in materials science and electrochemistry, is generally believed to originate from the local dissolution in MnS inclusions, which are more or less ubiquitous in stainless steels. However, the initial location where MnS dissolution preferentially occurs is known to be unpredictable, which makes pitting corrosion a major concern. In this work we show, at an atomic scale, the initial site where MnS starts to dissolve in the presence of salt water. Using in situ ex-environment transmission electron microscopy (TEM), we found a number of nano-sized octahedral MnCr2O4 crystals (with a spinel structure and a space group of Fd (3) over barm) embedded in the MnS medium, generating local MnCr2O4/MnS nano-galvanic cells. The TEM experiments combined with first-principles calculations clarified that the nano-octahedron, enclosed by eight {1 1 1} facets with metal terminations, is "malignant", and this acts as the reactive site and catalyses the dissolution of MnS. This work not only uncovers the origin of MnS dissolution in stainless steels, but also presents an atomic-scale evolution in a material's failure which may occur in a wide range of engineering alloys and biomedical instruments serving in wet environments. (C) 2010 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5070-5085
Number of pages16
JournalActa Materialia
Volume58
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010

Keywords

  • Scanning/transmission electron microscopy (STEM)
  • Corrosion
  • Catalysis
  • Electrochemistry
  • Stainless steel
  • SULFIDE INCLUSIONS
  • MNS INCLUSIONS
  • PIT INITIATION
  • OXIDATION
  • DISSOLUTION
  • MICROSCOPY
  • MECHANISM
  • STRESS
  • METALS
  • ALLOYS

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