Volume 17 Preprint 29
Sample orientation and high temperature performance of T23 and T347HFG steels in steam oxidation
T. Dudziak, M. Lukaszewicz, N. J. Simms, J. R. Nicholls
Keywords: steam oxidation; steels, oxide scale, SEM, EDX
Steam oxidation of candidate alloys considered for use in the Ultra Supercritical (USC) boilers is of growing interest. Ferritic (T23) and austenitic (T347HFG) steels have been studied with an emphasis on understanding the impact of temperature, chromium content and specimen geometry on their steam oxidation behaviour. Selected materials were tested at four temperatures (600 oC, 650 oC, 700 oC and 750 oC) in 100% steam conditions for 1000 hours (four cycles for 250 hours). Tests indicated that the curved-shaped specimens show slower mass gain ,scale ticking and void nucleation rates than â€œbridge-shapedâ€ specimens (with flat and convex surfaces combined). The shape factor also has an impact on the scale morphology, especially on the development of the outer most haematite layer on T23 specimens in the temperature range between 600 oC and 700 oC, with the amount decreasing with increasing temperature. In comparison the T347HFG shows relatively good oxidation resistance in steam even at 750 oC for the test duration (1000 hours).
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Sample orientation and high temperature performance of T23 and T347HFG steels in steam
T. Dudziak*, M. Lukaszewicz**, N. J. Simms, J. R. Nicholls
Centre for Energy and Resource Technology
MK43 0AL, United Kingdom
*Foundry Research Institute
Centre for High Temperature Studies
** Currently at:
National Physics Laboratory
Hampton Rd, Teddington, Middlesex
TW11 0LW, United Kingdom
Steam oxidation of candidate alloys considered for use in the Ultra Supercritical (USC)
boilers is of growing interest. Ferritic (T23) and austenitic (T347HFG) steels have been
studied with an emphasis on understanding the impact of temperature, chromium content and
specimen geometry on their steam oxidation behaviour. Selected materials were tested at four
temperatures (600 oC, 650 oC, 700 oC and 750 oC) in 100% steam conditions for 1000 hours
(four cycles for 250 hours). Tests indicated that the curved-shaped specimens show slower
mass gain ,scale ticking and void nucleation rates than “bridge-shaped” specimens (with flat
and convex surfaces combined). The shape factor also has an impact on the scale
morphology, especially on the development of the outer most haematite layer on T23
specimens in the temperature range between 600 oC and 700 oC, with the amount decreasing
with increasing temperature. In comparison the T347HFG shows relatively good oxidation
resistance in steam even at 750 oC for the test duration (1000 hours).
Keywords: steam oxidation; steels, oxide scale, SEM, EDX
Steam oxidation is matter of growing interest as research for improvements in power
plant efficiencies indicates the needs for higher temperatures and pressures [1, 2, 3]
Viswanathan and Bakker et al.  studied topic of increasing the energy efficiency in the
worldwide power plants. They indicated that since the energy crisis in 1970, the energy steam
temperature for new power plants increased by about 60 oC corresponding to rise of about 6
% in energy efficiency. Moreover the steam temperature in the conventional power plant is
expected to raise about 50 oC to 100 oC by 2030. Currently most of the coal-fired power
plants operate at temperature between 520 oC – 565 oC and 243 bar which allows achieving
efficiency of 38 - 40%.
In the new design units the efficiency of energy generation is above 40% due to
higher steam conditions (600 oC – 620 oC). The most efficient power plants, which are
currently designed and tested, are expected to have 44 - 46% efficiency with steam conditions
of at 700 oC – 720 oC and 365 - 385 bar pressure. Using those operating conditions with
traditional heat exchangers materials will lead to the development of the thick non-protective
oxides and finally to component failures [4, 5, 6]. High temperature oxidation is enhanced in
steam environments, therefore the materials needed for the superheater and reheater (SH/RH)
tubing have to show slow oxidation rates in steam as well as good high temperature creep
The consequences of fast oxide growth are of concern due to tube overheating, scale
spalling, tube blockages and steam turbine corrosion and erosion . To mitigate these
problems research has to be carried out to understand the influence of alloy composition,
microstructure and additionally the impact of time, temperature and operational conditions [8,
9] on the materials resistance. Due to the severity of proposed operational conditions
(temperatures and pressures) and the required lifetime at elevated temperature, the materials
used for the Ultra Supercritical (USC) applications have to exhibit very good mechanical,
physical and chemical properties [2, 7]. Among these oxidation and creep rapture resistance
are believed to be of crucial importance . There are three groups of alloys which could be
successfully employed for the coal–fired boiler elements: ferritic, austenitic and nickel-based;
however, their applications are limited up to 620 oC, 700 oC respectively . Due to limited
data on nickel-based alloy there is no limit identified for their application, however it is
proposed that for all application above 700 oC those materials should be used . High
temperature oxidation in 100 % steam is characterised by faster oxidation rates than in dry or
humid environments; moreover the scale formed exhibits different adherence and porosity
Both oxidation kinetics and the scale morphology are reported to be strongly
dependent on the alloy composition, surface finish and test conditions: metal temperature,
steam flow and chemistry . Among highlighted factors of chromium level is of crucial
importance ; however it seems to have less impact below 570 oC. Therefore for
components operating at temperatures below 570 oC the steels with lower Cr levels may be
employed . Viswanathan et al. believes that chromium content has less impact on
oxidation of 9 – 12 % Cr ferritic steels below 600 oC.
Nevertheless there is no agreement on the impact of chromium on steam oxidation at
different temperatures, but it is well recognised that steels with higher chromium level
exhibits better oxidation resistance due to formation of more protective Cr rich oxides.
However, there is no clear evidence for the minimum Cr content which is sufficient for the
development of the protective chromium oxides. Shibli and Starr et. al  indicated that in
temperature range between 600 oC – 650 oC 10 - 11 % of chromium in the base metal allows
protective, external chromia (Cr2O3) to be formed; in contrast Sanchez et al.  have shown
that such an oxide forming with Cr content greater than 11 – 12 % for steels exposed to steam
at temperatures above 600 oC. Quadakkers et al.  concluded that the scale formed on
ferritic and austenitic steels differs with the chromium content in the base material; it is
recognised that scale changes in following manner: with increasing Cr content it changes
from hematite/magnetite to magnetite/(Fe, Cr)3O4 spinel to (Fe, Cr)3O4 spinel/Cr2O3 and
finally to a pure Cr2O3. Viswanathan et al.  proposed following ranking of the high
temperature resistant alloys, due to their chromium levels and their relation with protective
properties of the scale: Incaloy 740, Alloy 230, HR120, HR6W, HR3C, T347HFG, Super
304H, T92, T91 and T23.
The scales formed on the high temperature resistant alloys differ with alloy type; this
is clearly associated with the chromium level as presented above, additionally the alloy
structure and grain size are reported to have considerable impact . Oxides developed on
the ferritic steels have a duplex structure , inner layer with protective chromium oxides
and outer with magnetite as the main constituent . Although expected, the continuous layer
of haematite is not always present as the outermost layer. Often there are traces of Fe2O3 on
the surface of magnetite however it is discontinuous. Haematite is believed to form due to
reduced iron diffusion through the magnetite. The slower diffusion is result of the gap
nucleation between inner and outer layers or within the outer Fe3O4. The double-layered scale
was also found on the austenitic steels, with (Fe, Cr) spinel (inner layer) and magnetite (outer
layer) as the main constituents , however such scale forms after long term exposure.
Viswanathan et al.  and Hansson et al.  indicated that scale formed on the austenitic
alloys changes with temperature; below 585 oC it shows irregular structure with some
porosity, above that temperature the scale seems to be more homogenous . To summarise,
the main difference between the scales formed on the ferritic and austenitic steels are their
properties – uniformity, thickness, porosity and adherence [4, 5 ,18].
In the present work, the steam oxidation behaviour of T23, T347HFG in a 100%
steam environment will be analysed and compared. The main emphasis is on the difference
between the oxides‟ scales developed on the investigated alloys and influence of the
specimen geometry, chromium level and exposure conditions. Specimen geometry was
expected to have a general impact on the oxidation process; however, its influence could be
greater on the morphology of scale and spallation than process kinetics. Furthermore, the
paper aims to fulfil the gap in the study of the T347HFG behaviour during short exposure
time and to increase understanding of the oxidation of the austenitic steel during the first
1000 hours of oxidation in 100% steam.
The materials selected for the steam oxidation experiments are: T23, T347HFG. From
these alloys curve (15 mm x 15 mm) and bridge (15 mm x 15 mm) shape specimens were
machined (Figure 1). The wall thickness was 3 mm for T347HFG and 5 mm for T23. Before
exposure samples were ground to a 600 grit surface finish and cleaned in volasil and then
isopropanol in ultrasonic bath for ten minutes. The nominal chemical composition of
materials tested is summarised in Table 1.
Table 1 Composition of the investigated alloys [wt. %]
Figure 1 Specimen geometry: a - curve shape, b - bridge shape
2.2 Steam oxidation test
Steam oxidation tests were carried out in a horizontal furnace equipped with an
alumina lined reaction tube (Figure 2). Samples were exposed to 100% steam environment
for 1000 hours (four 250 hour cycles). The steam flow rate was set up for 12 l/h which equals
velocity of 3.6, 3.8, 3.9 and 4.1 mm/s for 600 oC, 650 oC, 700 oC and 750 oC respectively.
The scales formed on the alloys investigated were expected to exfoliate therefore the
specimens were placed in the alumina crucibles to enable an overall mass change analysis
and ensure a proper data collection, in particular at lower temperatures, when the mass
change of the T347HFG is relatively low.
Figure 2 Schematic diagram of the steam oxidation tests‟ apparatus
In the steam oxidation test facility used, steam is generated by pumping water from a
reservoir into the furnace and then the steam passes over the test samples and flows into a
condenser before the water returns to the reservoir. The water used in the reservoir is double
de-ionised. Before starting the test facility, the whole system is sealed and thoroughly purged
using „oxygen free nitrogen‟ (OFN). This purge continues through the water reservoir
throughout the samples exposure period to minimise the level of oxygen in the system. The
formed morphologies at high temperatures were characterisations after 250, 500 and 1000
hours exposure were obtained using Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (ESEM)
coupled with Energy Dispersive X-ray (EDX) analyser. To investigate the mass change, the
specimens were weighed using an analytical grade scale after each four 250 hours cycles. To
do this, the samples were cooled down to room temperature in 100 % nitrogen atmosphere.
Afterwards the crucibles with samples were placed in the chamber and heated up to the
exposure the temperature: firstly in nitrogen to 100 oC, then up to the temperature of interest
in 100 % steam.
The isothermal experiments were carried at four temperatures: 600 oC - 750 oC.
Figures 3 and 4 show the mass change for both analysed alloys during the 1000 hours test in
steam environment and also show differences in mass change associated with the shape
factor. Steam oxidation of T23 (2.25 wt%. of Cr) steel is faster than for T347HFG (18 wt% of
Cr). Additionally the mass change of each alloy type varies with the sample geometry.
Figure 3 Comparison of mass change data for T23 alloy between 600 oC – 750 oC
Figure 4 Comparison of mass change for T347HFG alloy between 600 oC – 750 oC
Figure 5 shows distribution of the mass change results for T23 at all analysed
temperatures; the curves show that weight gain varies with specimens‟ geometry. The bridge
shapes samples have larger mass change between 600 oC – 700 oC, however at 750 oC after
1000 hours exposure the curve shape specimen indicate larger mass change.
Figure 6 demonstrates that T347HFG alloy show even larger differences in mass gain
with the shape factor. T347HFG alloy exposed at 600 oC, 700 oC and 750 oC indicates faster
mass change for the bridge shape samples however at 650 oC the curve sample shows faster
mass gain. Moreover the curve specimens show similar mass change at 650 oC and 750 oC.
In the case of bridge samples the mass changes significantly with temperature from
0.05 mg/cm2 to 0.4 mg/cm2 for 650 oC and 750 oC respectively. At 700 oC samples indicate
the largest mass gain, which does not varies with sample geometries. To summarise
T347HFG alloy oxidises in a slower manner, the mass gain is significantly lower (100 – 1000
times less than that observed in T23 alloy) with this difference being temperature dependent.
Figure 5 Distribution of mass change result for T23 alloy after 1000 hours exposure between
600 oC – 750 oC
Figure 6 Distribution of mass change result for T347HFG alloy after 1000 hours exposure
between 600 oC – 750 oC
3.2 Scale morphology
The morphology of the oxide scales developed on the alloys varies with temperature,
specimen geometry and chromium content. Figure 7 (A-H) shows surfaces of the T23 and
T347HFG alloys respectively. The surface of T23 steel at tested temperatures is covered with
thick mixture of iron oxides. At 600 oC there is layer of hematite (Fe2O3) on the surface of the
curve and bridge specimens; however magnetite (Fe3O4) is the main underlying oxide. With
increasing temperature there is less Fe2O3 identified as the outermost layer as a results at 750
C is lack Fe2O3 on the surface and the whole sample is covered with Fe3O4 (Figure 12G, H).
At both 600 oC and 650 oC the scale on T23 alloy starts to exfoliate due to the surface
cracking through the outer oxide layers (Figures 7A and 10C). In comparison at 700 oC and
750 oC oxides layer are fully adherent to the surface, there is minimal exfoliation and the
surface cracking (Figures 7E and 7G). XRD investigations performed on the exposed alloy at
700 oC indicated, that the surface is covered by the mixture of Fe2O3 and Fe0.98O (not shown
Fe2O3 and Fe0.98O
Figure 7 SEM pictures of oxidised surfaces after 1000 hours exposure: A, B– T23 and
T347HFG at 600 oC; C, D – T23 and T347HFG at 650 oC; E, F – T23, T347HFG at 700 oC
and G, H – T23 and T347HFG at 750 oC
T347HFG alloy at low temperatures (600 oC and 650 oC) thin layers of the protective
oxides have developed, with thicknesses of few hundred nm (growing optical interference
colours). Even at 750 oC after 1000 hours exposure T347HFG alloy is covered with a thin
oxide scale (Figure 10H). However in regions there have been a local breakdown of the
protective scale and the nodules (Figure 7H) have developed due to local imperilment of the
Nodules have also developed at 700 oC after 1000 hours exposure; however their size
is significantly smaller (Figures 7E, G). At all temperatures studied the surface of T347HFG
alloy is covered with thin protective oxides which were identified as mixture of chromium
iron oxide (Cr1.3 Fe0.7O3) and jacobsite (MnFe2O4) confirmed by XRD investigations (not
shown here). Furthermore at higher temperatures the nodule of the fast growing oxides are
formed (Figures 7F and 7H), their size is dependent on the exposure conditions.
T23 alloy oxidising in much faster manner than T347HGF alloy, therefore it develops
much thicker and less protective oxide scales (Figure 8A-H). Even at the lower temperatures
the scale is ≈ 70 µm thick. At 600 oC and 650 oC there are three layers can be distinguished;
the inner layer with a mixed chromium and iron oxides as the main constituent is a M3O4
spinel, Fe3O4 is a middle and Fe2O3 as outer layer. The inner layer was adherent to the base
material for the whole test duration at 600 oC for both curved and bridge-shaped specimens
(Figures 8A and 8B). However at 650 oC it loses its adherence in case of the bridge shape
sample next to the transition point between the flat and concave surface (Figure 8C); there is
a gap formed after 1000 hours exposure between the alloy surface and the oxide scale, which
most probably lead to scale exfoliation (Figure 9).
Fe, Cr oxides
Fe, Cr oxides
Fe, Cr oxides
Mix Fe oxides
Mix Fe oxides
Mix Fe oxides
Fe, Cr oxides
Fe, Cr oxides
Fe, Cr oxides
Mix Fe oxides
Fe, Cr oxides
Fe, Cr oxides
Figure 8 SEM picture of the scale developed on the T23 bridge and rectangular shape samples at 600
C – A, B 650 oC – C, D 700 oC – E, F and 750 oC – G, H after 1000 hours exposure
The scale developed on the part of the bridge shape sample where the flat surface
changes into concave, lost adherence after 1000 hours and started to exfoliate (Figure 9). The
spallation was found above the interface between the inner and outer layer, where scale
exhibits high level of stresses, due to transformation from flat to curve surface. Figure 8A and
8B show that at 600 oC the scale formed at T23 alloy is adherent, there are no significant
amount of voids on flat surface of the bridge sample, however some were identified in the
curve specimens and convex part of the bridge ones. There is no gap between the inner and
outer layers at any point for both the analysed geometries.
Figure 9 Mapping of the T23 bridge shape sample after 1000 hours exposure at 650 oC
The scale formed on T23 has low chromium content (Figure 9), the iron content
changes with distance from the alloy surface. The delaminated part of the scale shows higher
iron level than the inner part of the scale therefore conclusion that its main constituents are
Fe2O3 and Fe3O4. In case of the curve shape samples there are no gaps (Figures 8D), the scale
maintains the adherence for the entire test period, however it develops more cracks within
and there are also a significant number of voids, which eventually will coalesce and finally
due to the stress generated within the scale it will lose its adherence and exfoliate.
Figure 10 Mapping of the T23 bridge shape after 1000 hours exposure at 600 oC
EDX mapping analysis of the central layer at 600 oC (Figure 10) shows high
concentration of iron oxide which has been identified as Fe3O4 while the outermost layer is
Fe2O3 rich. Fe2O3 forms on the surface of Fe3O4, within which voids and cracks exist; thus
there is more haematite on the surface of the bridge shaped samples. Figure 10 shows no
exfoliation of the scale at 600 oC as it was seen in case of the sample exposed at 650 oC;
however there is some gap formed in the interface between magnetite and haematite.
In contrast, steam oxidation of T23 alloy at 700 oC and 750 oC causes the
development of thicker, multilayered inner scales, which are not protective but adherent. The
multilayered structure has been identified by EDX as a mix of iron oxide, with Cr distribution
within the layer differs substantially. More uniform distribution of the chromium within the
multilayered inner scale at 750 oC was observed, whereas at 650 oC chromium content
fluctuates. The outer layer was occupied by Fe3O4; there is not outermost layer of haematite
as it was in case of samples exposed to steam at lower temperatures. At the interface between
inner and outer layers voids have coalesced for both curved and bridge samples. The oxide
scale developed on curved specimens is thicker than on flat part of the bridge shape whereas
on the concave surface the oxides seem to be thicker and exhibit higher porosity. Moreover,
next to the metal oxide interface the grain boundaries start to be visible due to voids
injections, which has not been recognised in case of the curve specimens.
Figure 11 SEM picture of the T23 alloy after 1000 hours exposure at 750 oC A –
multilayered inner structure, B – outer layer, C - Mapping of the multilayered inner scale
formed on T23 bridge shape after 1000 hours exposure at 750 oC
The samples exposed at 750 oC exhibit cracks within the outer layers, as well as large
voids (Figure 11B). Despite the significant number of cracks and voids within the layer it is
still able to maintain adherence to the inner layer and there is no gaps nucleation between
those parts of the scale during the 1000 hours exposure. Moreover, there are no gap at the
alloy/scale interface unlike bridge shape specimens at 650 oC. T23 steel exposed to 700 oC
does not exhibit large crack formation, however a gap has developed at the inner / outer layer
In comparison, steam oxidation of T347HFG alloy leads to the formation of much
thinner and more protective oxide scale than that observed on T23 (Figures 12A-F).
T347HFG was covered with a protective mixture of chromium, iron oxide and jacobsite
(MnFe2O3), the thickness of which differs with exposure temperature. There are some
nodules on the sample surfaces. Figure 18F shows a nodule formed after 1000hours exposure
at 750 oC; the EDX analysis (not shown here) indicate that it is a mixture of the Cr, Fe, Ni
rich oxides Moreover the base material beneath the nodule oxidises internally (Figure 12D)
which leads to iron oxide formation. The main constituents of the nodule are chromium,
nickel and iron oxides. At lower temperature (600 oC and 650 oC) the scale consists of a nonuniform discontinuous layer (Figures 12A and 12B), however its discontinuity which spalls
off during the cooling. Additionally there are no nodules identified on T347HFG samples
after exposure at 600 oC and 650 oC.
Figure 12 SEM pictures of the 347HFG after 1000hours exposure A -thin oxides layer
formed at 600 oC, B – thin - discontinuous chromia scale at 650 oC, C - protective chromia
scale at 700 oC, D – nodule at 700 oC E– continuous protective chromia scale at 750 oC, F –
nodule at 750 oC
To summarise ferritic T23 steel exhibits fast oxidation rate at all temperatures, and
leads to the development of the thick non protective oxide scale. The formed scale is double
or triple-layered with an inner iron/chromium spinel under a magnetite layer, in addition
between 600 oC – 700 oC there is additional haematite as the outermost layer. Above 700 oC
the scale morphology changes, the outer scale is occupied by magnetite, lack of Fe2O3 has
formed, the inner layer becomes multilayered, it has been identified as the wustite (FeO) and
(Fe, Cr) spinel. The multilayered inner oxides formed due to the higher exposure temperature
of the material which enables FeO formation.
In contrast T347HFG shows slow oxidation rates in the tested temperature range. At
700 and 750 oC there are nodules forming on the surface as a result of the breakdown of the
protective oxides. Size of which varies with the exposure conditions and time. The higher
level of the chromium (18%) in this material results in formation of the mixed chromium iron
oxide and jacobsite. The protective scale is developed across the whole temperature range
examined, however at 700 oC and 750 oC the scale becomes more adherent and continuous
and therefore more protective than at lower temperatures. At 600 oC and 650 oC the scale
examined is not continuous and non adherent as a result exfoliation during cooling process.
At 700 oC and 750 oC there are some local breakdowns of the protective oxide which have
driven nodule formation.
In terms of mass change data, steam oxidation of the investigated T23 (2.25 wt. % of
Cr) steel follows a parabolic rate dependence. However, it shows an initial deviation from
this . Zurek et al.  believes that the initial oxidation of low Cr ferritic steels follows a
linear rate law as result of the fast oxidation of the oxide free alloy surface, but as soon as the
newly formed layer thickens the dependence transforms to parabolic. Despite the
transformation of rates being well recognised, the identification of the exact transformation
point is complicated . In case of the tests conducted, it varies with the temperature,
possibly a result of changes in element diffusion rates with temperature and therefore faster
breakaway oxidation of the protective thin oxides formed on the bare alloy‟s surface. This is
in agreement with findings of Ennis and Quadakkers , who believe that the transformation
point between the rates is associated with fact that the initial period of oxidation under
different exposure condition may last from a few seconds to hundreds of hours.
Oxidation of T23 at investigated temperatures seems to follow the parabolic law
however above 650 oC the process significantly accelerates most probably due to the FeO
formation, after longer exposure it could transform to linear. This is in accordance with
Wright and Pint , who concluded that at temperatures above 600 oC – 650 oC steam
oxidation rate is closer to linear. It is also confirmed by Lepingle et al.  that the oxidation
of T23 starts to exhibit dependence close to linear above 650 oC. Result of the tests in this
study show that steam oxidation in temperature range 600 oC – 750 oC shows the parabolic
rate dependence (750 oC) the oxidation rate follows. At 600 oC the oxidation of T23 is much
slower; Komai et al.  and Lepingle et al.  believed that it follows the parabolic
The activation energy for T23 at analysed temperatures was calculated for -335
kJ/mol which is in good agreement with Fry et al. . In contrast Wright and Dooley 
have calculated the activation energy in the temperature range between 500 oC – 700 oC as
being -230 kJ/mol, however that value was based on the number of independent test
performed by different groups of researchers. The discrepancy of results is most probably
caused due to diverse test conditions, experimental procedures and the analytical approached
to the data obtained. According to Patterson et al. , a change in steam pressure to which
the material is exposed results in thicker scale formation which means that the oxidation rates
are faster and therefore the values of the activation energy differ. There are number of the
variables such as steam flow, water chemistry which may also influence the results .
The tests conducted showed slower oxidation rate for T347HFG alloy at temperatures
of interest, this is associated with its higher chromium content and therefore formation of
more protective oxides which significantly slow down the oxidation process . There are
only limited published data for the oxidation kinetics of T347HFG at temperature range of
this in 1 bar steam . Wright et al.  show that even after longer exposure at high
temperatures the T347HFG shows slower oxidation. The mass gains of the T347HFG are 20,
63 and 91 mg/cm2 after 40kh exposure at 600 oC, 650 oC and 675 oC respectively .
Moreover work of Hansson and Montgomery  confirmed oxidation of this type of alloy to
be slow; with the oxide scale of T347HFG exposed at 625 oC after over 7000 hours being
still less than 1 μm thick, which correspond to slow oxidation rates. Analysis of the oxidation
kinetics of T347HFG shows that oxide growth rate do not follow fully the parabolic rate law,
therefore it is assumed to be sub-parabolic. In contrast Wright and Dooley  believed that
the oxidation of the T347HFG at high temperature follows closely the parabolic rate law.
This is also in agreement with Viswanathan et al.  and Saunders and McCartney .
Activation energies derived from the data obtained (Table 2) are in agreement with Fry et al.
, who give a value of energy for -132 kJ/mol. The differences in activation energies
values are most probably due to different samples treatment, exposure conditions and
As it was presented in the result section, the scale developed on T23 at 600 oC and
650 oC double-layered with local growth of third outermost layer of haematite, in agreement
with Otsuka et. al  and Nishimura et al. . Moreover Lepingle et al.  and Komai et
al.  indicated that the scale consist of two types of oxides; the inner layer is rich in the
(Fe,Cr)3O4 spinel, whereas the main constituent of the outer layer is magnetite, additionally
there are some traces of the haematite identified as the outermost layer [2, 7 , 9]. In particular
tests the haematite has formed between 600 oC, and 700 oC; there is no track of it at 750 oC.
Fe2O3 forms on the surface of T23 samples at the beginning of the process most probably due
to the relatively high oxygen partial pressure as the result of the slower iron diffusion from
the metal to the magnetite, which is caused by the existence of the Cr rich spinel . After
longer exposure, when the protective properties of the Fe-Cr spinel are lower due to fact that
T23 alloy is not able to sustain the protective layer (low Cr content in the base material)
haematite forms above the region with large amount of voids and cracks which significantly
reduce the iron diffusion . At higher temperatures (700 oC -750 oC) a multilayered inner
scale forms. According to Wright and Dooley  this structure consists of the repeating
double series of the Fe-Cr spinel, however the result of the EDX analysis show also
significant content of the iron which corresponds to magnetite, therefore the conclusion is
that the multilayered structure is mix of the Fe-Cr spinel and Fe3O4  (Figure 18C).
Some authors report a multilayered inner structure forming as a result of heat flux [8,
9], the heat flux is reported by Osgerby and Quadakkers  to be the major difference
between laboratory exposure procedures and plant conditions. Griess et al.  have shown
that even at higher temperature in laboratory test the oxidation rates and scale changes are
slower than in the exposures where the heat flux is present. However the existence of
multilayered oxides maybe explained by higher exposure temperatures . Under such
condition wustite (FeO) is able to form, when the scale cools down the wustite layer
decomposes to magnetite and in many cases transforms to duplex layer of magnetite or mixed
Fe3O4 and Fe-Cr spinel . From the power plant experience point of view the development
of the multilayered inner structure is explained as a result of steam flow rates causing faster
The double-layered oxide scale is present of both types of the specimen geometries;
however its thickness differs. The oxides developed on the bridge shape specimens are
thicker for both 600 oC and 650 oC. The scale is the thickest on the concave and flat surfaces
of the specimen, the scale is thinner where flat surface transform to concave. This is
associated with stress development which causes scale exfoliation; the scale growing there
will be under higher stress therefore there is greater probability of the scale spallation .
Additionally at temperature of 650 oC there is substantial amount of haematite growing on
that part of the scale which will again leads to exfoliation due to differences in coefficients of
thermal expansion (CTE) between Fe2O3 and Fe3O4 . The stress generated upon sample
cooling is tensile, moreover according to Otsuka et al.  the exfoliation is affected by the
radial stress, which leads to spallation if is larger than adhesion strength of the oxide scale.
During the exposure of bridge samples the gaps nucleate at the inner/outer scale interface,
within the oxides at the concave surface and at the transition between the flat and concave
surfaces; however they heal after longer exposure times. The healing may be explained by
access of oxygen molecules through magnetite and haematite ; instead there is gap
between metal and oxide scale. On the other hand there are more voids and a gap present at
the interface between inner and outer scale of the curve samples which results in the
haematite formation . The amount of hematite on the surface of the analysed samples was
also dependent on the sample position within the furnace. The part of the samples facing
steam flow develops more Fe2O3.
Moreover there are small differences in the temperature distribution within the hot zone,
which could have an impact on the haematite formation in the regions with higher
temperature. Furthermore the amount of haematite is larger on the curve and the concave part
of the bridge-shape specimens, where voids and gaps have formed. In contrast the surface
which is at the counter-position to steam flow shows less haematite and spallation.
The scales formed on the T347HFG analysed are significantly thinner than those on
T23; this is result of the formation of protective oxide . According to Viswanathan et al.
 the scale formed on austenitic steels is 2 - 3 times thinner than on ferritics; however for
these particular tests the difference is more significant. The better resistance of the T347HFG
is not just associated with higher chromium content (18%) but also with the grain structure
[6, 9]. The fine grain structure of T347HFG significantly increases the of the Cr supply to the
protective oxides by grain boundary diffusion and so the thin chromia scale can last longer.
Hansson and Montgomery  reported that even after over 7000 hours exposure at 625 oC the
alloy is covered with thin around 1 μm layer of Cr2O3. Additionally they show that the
uniform layer of chromia is able to form after 500 hours 700 oC and suppress the unprotective oxide growth up to 2000 hours. For particular tests a thin layer of Cr1.3 Fe0.7O3 and
MnFe2O4 has formed after exposure at all temperatures tested, however its thickness varies
with exposure conditions. The fast development of the protective oxides scale above 700 oC
is due to enhanced chromium diffusion in the grain boundaries . After longer exposure at
700 oC and 750 oC the protective scale breaks down and double-layered nodules start to
nucleate on the surface. The protective oxide scale formed on T347HFG is able to prevent
fast nodular growth; however, eventually after longer exposures the double-layered scale will
spread along the surface . The double-layered nodule consists of iron oxide with some
traces of chromium and nickel, whereas the inner part is the mix of Fe-Cr spinel and
magnetite. The formation of the nodules is explained by the penetration of the protective
scale along the grain boundaries, furthermore due to the outward diffusion of chromium the
chromium-depleted boundaries are able to oxidise to magnetite. Moreover development of
the nodular oxides is influenced by surface defects, additionally the number of nodules
increases in the corners and on the edges of the samples, which is associated with grain
orientation and higher stresses within the material.
After longer exposure the surfaces of T347HFG forms a double-layered scale , which
at temperature between 575 oC – 650 oC and 1 bar steam consists of outer layer with
magnetite as the main constituent and the inner structure of Fe-Cr spinel . This is in
agreement with findings from Hansson and Montgomery . However Hughes et al. 
have shown that at 670 oC after 11000 hours a double layer forms, where the outer layer is
mix of Fe2O3 and Fe3O4 whereas the inner layer consist of Cr2O3.
To summarise the oxidation of T347HFG is significantly slower than T23 due to
formation of an adherent and protective mixture of chromium/iron oxide and jacobsite on the
surface of the alloy, which is a good diffusion barrier . Such protection significantly slows
down the oxidation rates, as well as, the development of less protective oxides such as Fe-Cr
spinel or iron oxides  T23 alloy contains a relatively low amount of chromium which does
not allow it to form a continues chromia layer ; therefore the oxidation is significantly
faster as the Cr-Fe spinel is less protective . The analysis of the steels performance in
steam oxidation at 600 oC, 650 oC, 700 oC and 750 oC show that T23 is not a good candidate
for boilers components operating at any of these temperatures , whereas the T347HFG
could be successfully used. However in practice other properties especially creep also limit
the use of these alloys.
Steam oxidation performance of the T23 and T347HFG alloys at 600 oC, 650 oC, 700
C and 700 oC with special consideration of the specimen geometry were analysed and
discussed. Based on obtained results from the 1000 hours isothermal tests conducted
following conclusions are drawn.
T23 (2.25 wt% of Cr) steels exhibits much fast mass change at all tested temperatures,
which corresponds with fast oxide growth and low concentration of Cr;
2. There is a clear impact of the specimen geometry on the mass change of the T23
samples, the samples with more complex geometries indicates larger mass change, and it
seems to have an impact on the development of the haematite on the surface of the
magnetite due to generation of voids;
3. At higher temperatures, T23 develops a multilayered inner scales structure, which is
identified as the mixture of the iron and chromium oxides;
4. T347HFG (18.0 wt% of Cr) shows good steam oxidation resistance in the conditions
tested, which is associated with formation of the protective oxide scale
5. Oxidation of T347HFG leads to formation of the double-layered nodules in the regions
with breakaway of the protective scale.
We would like to acknowledge the support of The Energy Programme, which is a Research
Councils UK cross council initiative led by EPSRC and contributed to by ESRC, NERC,
BBSRC and STFC, and specifically the Supergen initiative (Grants GRyS86334y01 and
EPyF029748) and the following companies; Alstom Power Ltd., Doosan Babcock, E.ON,
National Physical Laboratory, Praxair Surface Technologies Ltd, QinetiQ, Rolls-Royce plc,
RWE npower, Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery Ltd. and Tata Steel, for their valuable
contributions to the project.
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