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Slow strain rate tests were used to rank the liquid metal embrittlcment (LME) susceptibility of Types 304 (UNS S30400), 304L (UNS S30403), 316 (UNS S31600), 316L (UNS S31603), and 321 (UNS S32100) stainless steel, as well as alloys 600 (UNS N06600) and 800 (UNS N08800). Testing revealed that LME susceptibility was influenced significantly by heat-treated condition. Sensitized materials were consistently more susceptible to cracking in liquid mercury at ambient conditions. Cracking was predominantly intergranular for the sensitized materials and was analogous to stress corrosion cracking in high temperature aqueous solutions. These results suggest that low-carbon or stabilized materials are inherently more resistant to LME and are preferable for applications in environments where mercury may exist.
environmental cracking, liquid metal embrittlement, stress corrosion cracking, mercury-induced cracking, stainless steels, nickel alloys, slow strain rate tests
Engineering associate, Mobil Research and Development Corporation, Paulsboro, NJ