Examinations of oxidation and sulfidation of grain boundaries in alloy 600 exposed to simulated pressurized water reactor primary water
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High-resolution characterizations of intergranular attack in alloy 600 (Ni-17Cr-9Fe) exposed to 325°C simulated pressurized water reactor primary water have been conducted using a combination of scanning electron microscopy, NanoSIMS, analytical transmission electron microscopy, and atom probe tomography. The intergranular attack exhibited a two-stage microstructure that consisted of continuous corrosion/oxidation to a depth of ~200 nm from the surface followed by discrete Cr-rich sulfides to a further depth of ~500 nm. The continuous oxidation region contained primarily nanocrystalline MO-structure oxide particles and ended at Ni-rich, Cr-depleted grain boundaries with spaced CrS precipitates. Three-dimensional characterization of the sulfidized region using site-specific atom probe tomography revealed extraordinary grain boundary composition changes, including total depletion of Cr across a several nm wide dealloyed zone as a result of grain boundary migration.
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