Date of Award

Fall 10-2017

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Materials Science and Engineering


Bryan A. Webler


This study investigated localized corrosion behavior of austenitic stainless steels under stressed and unstressed conditions, as well as corrosion of metallic thin films. While austenitic stainless steels are widely used in corrosive environments, they are vulnerable to pitting and stress corrosion cracking (SCC), particularly in chloride-containing environments. The corrosion resistance of austenitic stainless steels is closely tied to the alloying elements chromium, nickel, and molybdenum. Polarization curves were measured for five commercially available austenitic stainless steels of varying chromium, nickel, and molybdenum content in 3.5 wt.% and 25 wt.% NaCl solutions. The alloys were also tested in tension at slow strain rates in air and in a chloride environment under different polarization conditions to explore the relationship between the extent of pitting corrosion and SCC over a range of alloy content and environment. The influence of alloy composition on corrosion resistance was found to be consistent with the pitting resistance equivalent number (PREN) under some conditions, but there were also conditions under which the model did not hold for certain commercial alloy compositions. Monotonic loading was used to generate SCC in in 300 series stainless steels, and it was possible to control the failure mode through adjusting environmental and polarization conditions. Metallic thin film systems of thickness 10-200 nm are being investigated for use as corrosion sensors and protective coatings, however the corrosion properties of ferrous thin films have not been widely studied. The effects of film thickness and substrate conductivity were examined using potentiodynamic polarization and scanning vibrating electrode technique (SVET) on iron thin films. Thicker films undergo more corrosion than thinner films in the same environment, though the corrosion mechanism is the same. Conductive substrates encourage general corrosion, similar to that of bulk iron, while insulating substrates supported only localized corrosion.