Strain-annealing based thermo-mechanical processing has been performed to promote grain boundary engineering (GBE) in an extra-low carbon type austenitic stainless steel without altering the grain size and residual strain to evaluate its sole influence on intergranular corrosion. Single-step processing comprising low pre-strain (~ 5 and 10 pct) followed by annealing at 1273 K for 1 hour have resulted in a large fraction of Σ3 n boundaries and significant disruption in random high-angle grain boundaries (RHAGBs) connectivity. This is due to the occurrence of prolific multiple twinning in these specimens as confirmed by their large twin-related domain and twin-related grain size ratio. Among the iterative processing, the schedule comprising two cycles of 10 and 5 pct deformation followed by annealing at 1173 K for 1 hour has yielded the optimum GBE microstructure with the grain size and residual strain akin to the as-received condition. The specimens subjected to the higher number of iterations failed to realize GBE microstructures due to the occurrence of partial recrystallization. Owing to the optimum grain boundary character distribution, the GBE specimen has exhibited remarkable resistance against sensitization and intergranular corrosion as compared to the as-received condition. Furthermore, the lower depth of percolation in the GBE specimen is due to the significant disruption of RHAGBs connectivity as confirmed from its large twin-related domain and lower fractal dimension.
Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A – Springer Journals
Published: May 11, 2018
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