This work focuses on the effect of dissolved oxygen concentration in liquid lead-bismuth eutectic (LBE) on the onset of dissolution corrosion in a solution-annealed 316 L austenitic stainless steel. Specimens made of the same 316 L stainless steel heat were exposed for 1000 h at 450 °C to static liquid LBE with controlled concentrations of dissolved oxygen, i.e., 10−5, 10−6, and 10−7 mass%. The corroded 316 L steel specimens were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). A complete absence of dissolution corrosion was observed in the steel specimens exposed to liquid LBE with 10−5 and 10−6 mass% oxygen. In the same specimens, isolated “islands” of FeCr-containing oxides were also detected, indicating the localized onset of oxidation corrosion under these exposure conditions. On the other hand, dissolution corrosion with a maximum depth of 59 μm was detected in the steel specimen exposed to liquid LBE with 10−7 mass% oxygen. This suggests that the threshold oxygen concentration associated with the onset of dissolution corrosion in this 316 L steel heat lies between 10−6 and 10−7 mass% oxygen for the specific exposure conditions (i.e., 1000 h, 450 °C, static liquid LBE).

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