Effect of pre-exposure thermal treatment on susceptibility of type 304 austenitic stainless steel to stress corrosion
The effect of a specific type of pre-exposure heat treatment on the susceptibility of AlSI type 304 stainless steel to stress corrosion cracking was studied in terms of time for crack nucleation and rate of crack propagation. U-bend specimens were exposed to 42 weight percent magnesium chloride aqueous solution after pre-exposure heat treatments at 140°C and 154°C. The straight-line relationship between maximum crack depth and the logarithm of exposure time expressed by the empirical equation log t = log to + D/M was obtained. The stress corrosion constants derived from the empirical equation indicate that this type of pre-exposure heat treatment promotes crack nucleation because of the formation of less protective surface films, and retards the rate of crack propagation because of effects on internal structural changes within the alloy.