Unexpected interface corrosion and sensitization susceptibility in additively manufactured austenitic stainless steel

D. A. Macatangay, S. Thomas, N. Birbilis, R. G. Kelly

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This communication describes observations of unexpected microstructural interface susceptibility to accelerated dissolution in additively manufactured (AM) Type 316L stainless steel prepared by selective laser melting. Observations include accelerated microstructural interface dissolution in the as-built condition, as well as more rapid sensitization of grain boundaries upon exposure to elevated temperature. Electrolytic etching in persulfate solution was used to evaluate the susceptibility of microstructural interfaces to accelerated dissolution in both wrought and AM 316L. Post-test optical microscopy and profilometry on AM 316L revealed that the melt pool boundaries in the as-built condition were susceptible to accelerated attack, although the small grains within the prior melt pools were not. Furthermore, short, elevated temperature exposure (1 h at 675°C) also induced sensitization of the grain boundaries. Identical testing on as-manufactured wrought 316L confirmed that no microstructural interfaces showed susceptibility to accelerated dissolution, and grain boundaries could be sensitized only by extended periods (24 h) at elevated temperature (675°C). Annealing was capable of removing sensitization in wrought 316L, but activated the surface of the AM 316L, leading to widespread, uniform dissolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-157
Number of pages5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • Additively manufactured 316L stainless steel
  • Austenite
  • Casting effects
  • Interfacial effects
  • Intergranular corrosion
  • Microstructure
  • Stainless steels

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