Significance and Use
This test method describes an EPR test method for quantitatively determining the relative degree of sensitization in AISI Type 304 and 304L stainless steels. The EPR test has found wide use as a means to provide a numerical level of sensitization in studies of the effects of sensitization on intergranular corrosion and intergranular stress corrosion cracking behavior. The results of this test method correlate with other test methods (for example, Practices A262 and Test Methods G28) that are commonly used to assess sensitization in stainless steels.
The EPR test can also be used for product acceptance, service evaluation, regulatory statutes, and manufacturing controls providing that both the supplier and user have agreed upon appropriate acceptance criteria and a sensitizing treatment. The test is not intended for design purposes since the test conditions accelerate corrosion in a manner that does not simulate any actual service environment.
The EPR test involves the measurement of the amount of charge resulting from the corrosion of the chromium-depleted regions surrounding the precipitated chromium carbide particles. Most of these particles in a sensitized microstructure are located at the grain boundaries. However, discrete particles located within grains (referred to as intragranular precipitates) will also contribute to the total measured charge. (See Fig. 2.) Therefore, it is important to examine the alloy microstructure following an EPR test to determine the relative proportion of corrosion sites associated with intergranular versus intragranular precipitates. Sites of intergranular attack will appear similar to grain boundary ditching as defined in Practice A of Practices A262.
Note—The calculation of Pa is based on the assumptions illustrated at left. Mild cases of sensitization usually result in a combination of intergranular attack and pitting as illustrated at right (7).FIG. 2 Schematic Microstructures After EPR Testing
1.1 This test method covers a laboratory procedure for conducting an electrochemical reactivation (EPR) test on AISI Type 304 and 304L (UNS No. S30400 and S30403, respectively) stainless steels. This test method can provide a nondestructive means of quantifying the degree of sensitization in these steels (1, 2, 3). This test method has found wide acceptance in studies of the effects of sensitization on intergranular corrosion and intergranular stress corrosion cracking behavior (see Terminology G15). The EPR technique has been successfully used to evaluate other stainless steels and nickel base alloys (4), but the test conditions and evaluation criteria used were modified in each case from those cited in this test method.
1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The inch-pound units given in parentheses are for information only.
1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.