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This article provides information on the metallurgy of austenitic stainless steels, and the formation of their intermediate phases (Sigma, Chi, and Laves). It discusses sensitization, a major problem associated with the austenitics, and solutions to avoid the problem. The article describes heat treatments applied to austenitic stainless steels, namely, soaking for homogenization and preparation for hot working; annealing to remove the effects of cold work and to put alloying elements into solid solution; and stress relieving. It provides information on the stabilizing anneal process, which is conducted on stabilized alloys, and discusses the metallurgical characteristics of austenitic stainless steels that may affect the selection of a stress-relieving treatment and prevention of stress corrosion by stress relieving. The article also discusses the heat treatments applied to duplex stainless steels, which involve soaking and annealing, achieving the austenite-ferrite balance, precipitation of intermetallics, and alpha prime precipitation.

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