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Characterisation of grain boundary cluster compactness in austenitic stainless steel

Rahimi, Salaheddin and Engelberg, Dirk and Marrow, James (2010) Characterisation of grain boundary cluster compactness in austenitic stainless steel. Materials Science and Technology, 26 (6). pp. 670-675. ISSN 0267-0836

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The distribution of grain boundaries of particular crystallographic character can provide descriptive information on the properties of engineering materials. For example, the fraction and connectivity of corrosion susceptible grain boundaries typically correlates with the extent of intergranular corrosion and stress corrosion cracking resistance in sensitised austenitic stainless steels. A parameter defining the cluster compactness is proposed to describe the breakup of the network of corrosion susceptible grain boundaries. It may therefore provide a measure of intergranular stress corrosion cracking resistance. The cluster compactness of the network of random grain boundaries (.S29) in electron backscatter diffraction assessments of micro-structure is shown to decrease with increasing fraction of S3 boundaries. However, the cluster compactness of the network of corroded grain boundaries identified after electrochemical testing is less sensitive to changes in microstructure obtained by thermomechanical processing.