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A type 17-4PH stainless steel tube exhibited brown discoloration after a pickling operation. EDS analysis of the extracted substance revealed relatively high levels of iron and chromium, along with lower amounts of aluminum, silicon, sulfur, chlorine, calcium, manganese, and nickel. The iron, chromium, and nickel are likely in the form of dissolution products from the pickling solution. FTIR analysis revealed the presence of polypropylene and poly(ethylene:propylene). The EDS results showed that the discoloration of the tube was associated with oxidation products of the tube material, as well as adherent organic residue. Analysis by FTIR of the residue revealed detectable levels of two polymeric substances, which were later determined to be construction materials of the pickling tank. It was recommended that more frequent cleaning and/or replacement of the pickling solution be put into place and another type of tank material be considered.

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S.J. Suess, Discoloration of a Stainless Steel Tube after Pickling, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Processing Errors and Defects, ASM International, 2019,

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