This article presents the results of a combined experimental and analytical/computational study of the transition from corrosion pits to stress corrosion cracks during the exposure of low-carbon steel to environments with different pH levels (pH of 3, 5, 8, and 11). The transition from pits to cracks is elucidated via confocal microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The stress concentrations associated with possible pit sizes and configurations are also modeled using finite element analyses and fracture mechanics models. Finally, the implications of the results are discussed for the modeling of the transition from pitting to stress corrosion cracking in low-carbon steels.
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