Stainless Steel alloys An effective way of improving the corrosion resistance is to alloy the steel with chromium.

Depending on the corrosive environment, even a few percent of Cr can give a substantial improvement and at levels above around 12%, corrosion rates can drop to virtually zero. This "passivation" results from the formation of a very thin, stable layer of chromium oxides at the steel surfaces. The 12-13% Cr alloys (e.g. AISI 420) are the lowest alloyed and consequently, the least expensive in the family of stainless steels. Their structure can be ferritic or martensitic, depending on the carbon content and they have high strength. An increase in the chromium content to 15-20%, combined with the addition of nickel in the range 8-10%, has the effect of stabilising the austenitic structure down to room temperature. This is very beneficial in terms of weld ability since it means that the steel no longer has to undergo a phase transformation on cooling and harden ability is no longer a concern. The austenitic alloys are non-magnetic and are characterised by excellent ductility and toughness. Molybdenum is commonly added in the range of 2-3% to improve the resistance to pitting corrosion (AISI 316).

Duplex Stainless steels
Alloys with less nickel (~5%) than the austenitic stainless steels results in the austenite phase not being completely stabilised, leading to the formation of a microstructure with approximately equal amounts of austenite (nonmagnetic, fcc crystal structure) and ferrite (magnetic, bcc structure) grains. The proportion of each phase depends on the exact composition and on the cooling rate during production or heat treatment. These steels are stronger, but they have some drawbacks with respect to welding and stress corrosion cracking.

Copper Alloys
Copper-base alloys are often used for piping water, and for marine environments, because of their corrosion resistance and resistance to biological fouling. Brass (with various amounts of zinc) has a problem witherosion corrosion at liquid velocities above about 1 m/s. Another problem can be de-alloying. Copper alloys can exhibit severe Stress Corrosion Cracking in the presence of ammonia. For more severe service copper-nickel alloys are often a good choice e.g. 90/10 Cu/Ni.

Nickel alloys
Nickel base alloys are used when superior strength and corrosion resistance are needed. Examples are 254SMO (19Cr 18Ni 6Mo), Incoloy 825 (23Cr 46Ni 3.5Mo) and for absolute top corrosion resistance e.g. Hastelloy C-276 (16Cr 55Ni 17Mo 4.5W). These alloys are very expensive! Nickel base coatings can be applied by electrodeposition or by electroless bath processes. These coatings can be hardened for wear resistance.

Titanium Alloys Titanium is an extremely reactive metal. Subject to various forms of stress corrosion cracking. see link given below. For overview. but cathodic protection embrittles them. Ti alloys are attractive for use in seawater. . which for this reason passivates in most environments and is virtually inert unless conditions are very reducing.

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