Stress Corrosion Cracking of Stainless Steel

Grade 316L austenitic stainless steel is widely used by the oil and gas industry to handle sweet and mildly sour process fluids.  Because of concerns about its resistance to chloride stress corrosion cracking (SCC), the alloy was limited to a maximum temperature of 60°C and 1 bar H2S in ISO 15156 part 3/ NACE MR 0175.  In recent years data has been generated to support the use of 316L to higher temperatures, albeit with lower partial pressures of H2S.  However, these limits are for resistance to sulphide stress corrosion cracking.  Chloride SCC of 316L can occur in aerated solutions with only a few mg/L chloride at temperatures above ~60°C.  Hence, when 316L is used for hot process pipes, it is important not to use it in areas where it can get splashed with water, or to provide adequate, waterproof insulation.

Chloride SCC of 316L stainless steel

Posted on: 7th August 2017

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Image (top left) by Agnieszka