Dissolution and Passivation of a Silicon-Rich Austenitic Stainless Steel during Active-Passive Cycles in Sulfuric and Nitric Acid

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Abstract : The high Si containing X1CrNiSi18-15-4 stainless steel (SS) spontaneously forms a protective oxide film that is mostly composed of mixed chromium and silicon oxides. This film ensures a good durability of the industrial facilities the alloy was designed for, containing very acidic electrolytes such as hot and concentrated nitric acid, HNO$_3$ , in presence of oxidizing species. In the present work, the chemistry of the oxide formed and the passivation kinetics of the alloy in sulfuric acid, H$_2$SO$_4$, and for the first time in HNO$_3$ , were monitored by atomic emission spectroelectrochemistry (AESEC) over successive activation and passivation cycles of the material. X1CrNiSi18-15-4 SS was compared to a low Si containing SS, the X2CrNiN18-10 SS. It was found that a similar quantity and rate of passive film was formed during passivation, and dissolved during activation. Reproducible results were obtained over several active-passive cycles. The excess Cr was correlated with the dissolution rate decay during passivation. The Si/Cr ratio of the passive film was determined by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (performed using transmission electron microscopy), and AESEC giving similar results within experimental error. The EDX profile suggest that the passive film consists of a Si rich outer and Cr rich inner layer.
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Barbara Laurent, Nathalie Gruet, Benoît Gwinner, Frédéric Miserque, Karine Rousseau, et al.. Dissolution and Passivation of a Silicon-Rich Austenitic Stainless Steel during Active-Passive Cycles in Sulfuric and Nitric Acid. Journal of The Electrochemical Society, Electrochemical Society, 2017, 164 (13), pp.C892-C900. ⟨10.1149/2.1531713jes⟩. ⟨cea-02429964⟩

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