Direct Measurements of the Chromium Activity in Complex Nickel Base Alloys by High Temperature Mass Spectrometry
Chromium rich, nickel based alloys Haynes 230 and Inconel 617 are candidate materials for the primary circuit and intermediate heat exchangers (IHX) of (Very)-High Temperature Reactors. The corrosion resistance of these alloys is strongly related to the reactivity of chromium in the reactor specific environment (high temperature, impure helium). At intermediate temperature – 900°C for Haynes 230 and 850°C for Inconel 617 – the alloys under investigation are likely to develop a chromium-rich surface oxide scale. This layer protects from the exchanges with the surrounding medium and thus prevents against intensive corrosion processes. However at higher temperatures, it was shown that the surface chromia can be reduced by reaction with the carbon from the alloy  and the bare material can quickly corrode. Chromium appears to be a key element in this surface scale reactivity. Then, quantitative assessment of the surface requires an accurate knowledge of the chromium activity in the temperature range close to the operating conditions (T ≈ 1273 K). High temperature mass spectrometry (HTMS) coupled to multiple effusion Knudsen cells was successfully used to measure the chromium activity in Inconel 617 and Haynes 230 in the 1423- 1548 K temperature range. Appropriate adjustments of the experimental parameters and in-situ calibration toward pure chromium allow to reach accuracy better than ± 5%. For both alloys, the chromium activities are determined. Our experimental results on Inconel 617 are in disagreement with the data published by Hilpert . Possible explanations for the significant discrepancy are discussed.
Pierre Steinmetz, Ian G. Wright, Alain Galerie, Daniel Monceau and Stéphane Mathieu
S. Gossé et al., "Direct Measurements of the Chromium Activity in Complex Nickel Base Alloys by High Temperature Mass Spectrometry", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 595-598, pp. 975-985, 2008