Ferritic-martensitic high temperature alloys are used as building components for different power plant technologies. Depending on the type of fuel, the used power plant materials are exposed to different temperatures and reactive atmospheres containing e.g. CO2, O2, or SO2. Despite the sulfur chemistry is commonly present as an impurity in fossil or bio fuels; its role in high temperature corrosion is not entirely understood. During high temperature corrosion, high-alloyed steels often show sulfur precipitates with the ignoble alloy component(s) along grain boundaries within the base material. Sulfur precipitates are known to seriously influence the mechanical properties of the building component. In the case of VM12 and T92 steels, sulfur phases penetrate the base material along grain boundaries during the corrosion under oxyfuel atmosphere up to 20 µm within the first 960h (Fig. 1a). Figure 1a shows the oxide scale and (Cr, Mn, Fe)xSy grain boundary precipitates in the base material for a T92 steel aged for 960h under oxyfuel atmosphere. Figure 1b shows a thin oxide scale with nodules and also sulfur precipitates of (Fe, Cr)xSy along grain boundaries of the base material for a Fe13Cr model alloy aged for 24h under SO2 atmospheres. After 24h, sulfur precipitates already reached a depth of ca. 15 µm.
The present work shows the corrosion behavior of Fe-Cr model alloys with Cr-contents similar to technical steels up to 13 wt%, aged under oxyfuel (27H2O/60CO2/1SO2/10N2/2O2) and SO2 atmospheres in the temperature range of 550 °C < T < 700 °C and for different time scales between 24 h < t < 960 h. During aging, the reactive gases were added when the experimental temperature was reached. To focus on the reaction of the intended elements Fe, Cr, S, and O, model alloys of high purity are used. Transport depths of sulfur and the nucleation of the precipitates are discussed for both, model alloys and technical steels.
Figure 1a,b: BSE pictures of (a) T92 (oxyfuel, 960h, 600°C) and (b) an Fe13Cr model alloy (SO2-atmosphere, 24h, 700°C) showing sulfur precipitates along grain boundaries in the base material (red frames).