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Environmentally-Assisted Cracking of Type 316L Austenitic Stainless Steel in Low Pressure Hydrogen Steam Environments


A low pressure, superheated hydrogen-steam system has been used to accelerate the oxidation kinetics while keeping the electrochemical conditions similar to those of the primary water in a pressurized water reactor. The initiation has been investigated using a Constant Extension Rate Tensile (CERT) test. Tests were performed on flat tapered specimens made from Type 316L austenitic stainless steel with strain rates of 2×10-6 and 2×10-8 ms-1 at room temperature and at an elevated temperature of 350 °C. R = 1/6 was chosen as a more oxidizing environment and R = 6 was selected as a more reducing environment, where the parameter R represents the ratio between the oxygen partial pressure at the Ni/NiO transition and the oxygen partial pressure. Different exposures (1 day and 5 days) prior to loading were investigated post-test evaluation by scanning electron microscopy.

Funding source: SUSEN Project (established in the framework of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the project CZ.1.05/2.1.00/03.0108; European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) in the project CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_008/0000293; Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports - project LM2015093 Infrastructure SUSEN; Horizon 2020 MEACTOS GA No. 755151

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