The effects of solution pH and buffer capacity on intergranular stress corrosion cracking (IGSCC) of sensitized type 304 stainless steel ([SS] UNS S30400) was examined at 95°C by slow strain rate technique (SSRT) with an in-situ cracking observation system. It was found that an increase in solution pH or buffer capacity increased crack initiation time and decreased mean crack initiation frequency, but exerted almost no effect on crack propagation. This inhibition effect on IGSCC initiation was explained as resulting from a retarding effect of solution pH and buffer capacity on the decrease in pH at crack nuclei caused by the hydrolysis of metal ions dissolved when the passive film was ruptured by strain in SSRT.

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