In-service thermal aging of CF8M cast austenitic stainless steel was investigated in materials removed from the steam generator inlet and crossover elbows of the Ringhals 2 pressurized water reactor nuclear power plant unit after approximately 92kh of full operating time. The thermal aging of these materials was investigated using the double loop electrochemical potentiokinetic reactivation method, coupled with indentation hardness measurements and microstructural characterizations, to identify correlations between the electrochemical behavior and traditional methods of investigating thermal aging embrittlement effects in cast stainless steels. While this electrochemical method can be easily employed to quantify thermal aging effects in materials aged at higher temperatures (e.g. greater than 350∘C), this study highlights the difficulties encountered when electrochemically evaluating the aging of materials exposed to nuclear power plant operating conditions.
- cast stainless steel
- double loop electochemical potentiokinetic reactivation
- spinodal decomposition
- thermal aging