The transpassive dissolution mechanism of highly alloyed stainless steels: I. Experimental results and modelling procedure

Iva Betova, Martin Bojinov (Corresponding Author), Timo Laitinen, Kari Mäkelä, Pekka Pohjanne, Timo Saario

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The transpassive dissolution of austenitic stainless steels (AISI 316L, AISI 904L, 254SMO and 654SMO) in a 0.5 M sulphate solution with pH 2 was studied by conventional and rotating ring disc voltammetry, as well as electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The main process in the transpassive potential region was found to be the release of soluble Cr(VI), while small amounts of lower-valency Cr or Mo species are released as well. Secondary passivation readily occurs for AISI 316L, whereas the remaining highly alloyed steels dissolve at high current densities in the whole potential range studied. The dissolution rate was found to increase in the order AISI 904L<254SMO<654SMO. Thus it can be correlated to the increase in the Cr and especially Mo content of the steel substrate. The impedance spectra contain contributions from the transpassive dissolution of Cr and secondary passivation, probably due to enrichment of Fe in the outermost layer of the surface film. A kinetic model of the process is proposed, including a two-step transpassive dissolution of Cr via a Cr(VI) intermediate and the dissolution of Fe(III) through the anodic film. The model was found to be in quantitative agreement with steady state current vs. potential curves and electrochemical impedance spectra. The kinetic parameters of transpassive dissolution were determined and the relevance of their values is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2675-2697
JournalCorrosion Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2002
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



  • Stainless steel
  • EIS
  • RRDE
  • Modelling studies
  • Transpassivity
  • Kinetic parameters

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