Although field corrosion tests had indicated that type 316L stainless steel would be a suitable material for neutralization tanks, the vessels suffered severe corrosion when placed in service. Welded coupons of type 316L had been tested along with similar Alloy 20Cb® (UNS NO8020) specimens in a lead-lined tank equipped with copper coils that had served in this function prior to construction of the new tanks. Both materials exhibited virtually no corrosion and no preferential weld attack. Type 316L was selected for the project. The subsequent corrosion was the result of the borderline passivity of type 316L in hot dilute sulfuric acid (about 0.1%). Inaccuracy of the testing was attributed to the presence of cupric ions in the lead-lined vessel fluids, which had been released by corrosion of the copper coils. Careful control of both temperature and pH was recommended to reduce the corrosion to an acceptable limit.
Thomas F. Degnan, Unexpected Corrosion of Type 316L Stainless Steel Neutralization Tanks, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 1, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1992, p 201, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.v01.c9001070
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