Indexed on: 01 Oct '01Published on: 01 Oct '01Published in: Oxidation of Metals
Two ternary Cu–Ni–Cr alloys containing approximately 20 wt.% chromium, but with a different Cu and Ni content, have been oxidized in 1 atm of pure oxygen at 700–800°C. The alloy containing about 60 wt.% nickel (Cu–60Ni–20Cr) was composed of a single solid-solution phase and formed external scales of chromium ocide with an outermost layer containing a mixture of copper and nickel oxides. The alloy comprised of about 40 wt.% nickel (Cu–40Ni–20Cr) contained a mixture of two metal phases and formed complex external scales, containing copper oxide and a nickel–chromium spinel plus a region where islands of the metallic phase richer in chromium surrounded by a thin chromia layer were mixed with oxidized islands rich in copper and nickel, producing a situation out of equilibrium. With time, a very irregular and thin but essentially continuous layer of chromia formed at the base of the mixed internal region for this alloy, producing a gradual decrease of the corrosion rate down to very low values. The oxidation behavior of the two alloys is interpreted in terms of their different microstructure. In particular, the fast initial oxidation of Cu–40Ni–20Cr, associated with the formation of large amounts of copper oxides, is attributed to restrictions in chromium diffusion in the alloy due to the simultaneous presence of two metal phases.