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Title: Corrosion-induced microstructural developments in 316 stainless steel during exposure to molten Li 2BeF 4(FLiBe) salt

The microstructural evaluation and characterization of 316 stainless steel samples that were tested in molten Li 2BeF 4 (FLiBe) salt were investigated in this study for evaluating its performance in high-temperature molten fluoride salts. Recently, 316 stainless steel and FLiBe salt are being actively considered as the main structural alloy and primary coolant of fluoride salt-cooled high-temperature reactor (FHR), a leading nuclear reactor concept for the next generation nuclear plants (NGNP). In support of the materials development for the FHR, high-temperature corrosion tests of 316 stainless steel in molten FLiBe salt at 700°C have been conducted in both bare graphite crucibles and 316 stainless steel-lined crucibles in an inert atmosphere for up to 3000 hours. The microstructure of the tested samples was comprehensively characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in conjunction with energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) with EDS. In addition to the noticeable intergranular corrosion attack on surface, the corrosion in terms of the Cr depletion along high angle grain boundaries (15-180º) extended to 22µm in depth after 3000-hour exposure to molten FLiBe salt in graphite crucible. The coherent Σ3 grain boundary appeared high resistance to the Crmore » depletion. The substantial Cr depletion from the near-to-surface layer induced phase transformation from γ-martensite to α-ferrite phase (FeNi x) during corrosion at 700ºC. Furthermore, the presence of graphite in the molten salt doubled the corrosion attack depth and led to the formation of round Mo2C, hexagonal Cr 7C 3 and needle-like Al 4C 3 phase within the alloy as deep as 50 µm after 3000-hour corrosion testing. Based on the microstructural analysis, the corrosion mechanisms of 316 stainless steel in molten FLiBe salt in different corrosion crucibles were illuminated through schematic diagrams. Additionally, a thermal diffusion controlled corrosion model was developed and validated by experimental data for predicting the long-term corrosion attack depth.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3]
  1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
  2. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
  3. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0022-3115; PII: S0022311516309138
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Nuclear Materials
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 482; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0022-3115
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; corrosion; microstructure; molten salt reactor
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1396828