In applications where resistance to localised corrosion is required, stainless steel alloys containing molybdenum are generally used thanks to their superior resistance to localised attack in aggressive environments. For ferritic stainless steels, vanadium additions have been found to also have a beneficial effect on the resistance to localised corrosion. In this study vanadium and molybdenum were compared directly as alloying elements in 18% chromium ferritic stainless steel as far as their effect on increasing the resistance to localised corrosion is concerned. Pitting potentials in a neutral chloride solution were used as the criterion for qualifying resistance to localised corrosion and it was shown that vanadium gave similar or slightly higher pitting potentials at addition levels of up to 4% (weight percent). It was subsequently found that the mechanism by which the molybdenum and the vanadium increase the resistance to localised corrosion, are not the same. The experimental data for the molybdenum containing alloys corresponded well with other work done in this field. The positive effect of molybdenum additions on the pitting resistance of these alloys could be explained through its effect in lowering the dissolution rate in the active dissolution region by enriching on the dissolving surface. The vanadium additions to these alloys were shown not to have an effect on the active dissolution kinetics. The effect of these two alloying elements on the initiation of metastable pits were examined, but no meaningful advantage for the vanadium containing alloys over the rest could be found. It is suggested that vanadium play a role in changing the dissolution kinetics of the salt film, which forms during the growth of a metastable pit. A delayed dissolution of salt film remnants would lead to a loss of the enriched pit solution, which would cause the metastable pit to repassivate.
Dissertation (M Eng (Metallurgical Engineering))--University of Pretoria, 2007.