A Type 316H austenitic stainless steel component containing Cr and impurity element-rich localised regions arising from component fabrication was aged for a prolonged period during service at a temperature of approximately 550 °C. These regions make up approximately 5% of the total volume of the microstructure. Previous work has shown that these regions contain ferrite and carbide precipitates and a finer austenite grain size than the adjacent matrix. The present study has used high-resolution transmission electron microscopy combined with compositional microanalysis to show that these regions have a highly complex microstructure containing G phase, chi phase and intragranular γ′ precipitates within the austenite grains. There is phosphorus migration to the chi austenite phase boundary, and the basis for this equilibrium impurity segregation is discussed. A Cr-depleted region was observed surrounding the chi phase precipitates, and the impact of this on the other precipitates is considered. The diversity of precipitates in these Cr-rich regions means that they behave significantly differently to the bulk material under long-term creep conditions leading to preferred nucleation and growth of creep cavities and the formation of localised creep cracks during service.
TEM data from residual casting regions in an ex-service and subsequently aged AISI Type 316H stainless steel
Warren, A. D. (Creator), Flewitt, P. E. (Creator) & Griffiths, I. (Creator), University of Bristol, 10 Nov 2017