Duplex stainless steels (commonly known as DSS) are a class of stainless steels with a microstructure formed by two main phases: ferrite and austenite. They are used in a wide range of applications, such as chemical processing, in maritime environments and in the oil and gas industries. In most cases, DSS are chosen based on their strength and corrosion resistance for various environments. When exposed to temperatures above 600°C though, the balance of alloying elements can be modified due to precipitation of various secondary phases, such as sigma (σ) and chi (χ). The sigma phase is typically enriched with Cr and Mo, so its formation can lead to a drastic deterioration in toughness, corrosion resistance, and weldability of duplex stainless steels. To prevent damages to these steels due to the formation of sigma phase, the understanding of such transformation becomes mandatory, not only during the development of these steels but also during their processing. In this research, samples from a lean duplex steel UNS S32304 are subjected to a temperature of 800°C and analyzed in situ by X-ray diffraction. Thus, the kinetics of phase transformations occurring in duplex stainless steels are observed in real time.
Part of the book: Stainless Steels and Alloys
X-ray diffraction has been applied in the investigation of phase formation in steels, operating in industrial environments. In this work, identification and quantification of phases by X-ray diffraction and peak fitting, using the Rietveld method, were employed. In a first scenario, two different types of steels, subjected to abrasive surface cleaning, suffered contamination from the blasting operation that compromise between 10 and 36% of the blasted surface, as revealed by the quantitative phase analysis. Such high values of particulates can jeopardize the corrosion protection offered by posterior coating application. In a second scenario, duplex steels (DS) subjected to aggressive environments and high temperatures of service went through phase transformation that formed amounts up to 3.5% of a deleterious phase, known as sigma phase. This phase compromises the steel mechanical resistance and corrosion protection, and its quantification is crucial for the assurance of the material integrity. The quantitative phase analysis (QPA) by X-ray diffraction provided the diagnosis of forthcoming problems related to the presence of such phases in the investigated steels, allowing the optimization of techniques and the choice of correct process parameters.
Part of the book: Inelastic X-Ray Scattering and X-Ray Powder Diffraction Applications