Passive film characterisation of duplex stainless steel using scanning Kelvin probe force microscopy in combination with electrochemical measurements

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Ornek C., Leygraf C., Pan J.

NPJ MATERIALS DEGRADATION, vol.3, no.1, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 3 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41529-019-0071-8
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


The characterisation of passive oxide films on heterogeneous microstructures is needed to assess local degradation (corrosion, cracking) in aggressive environments. The Volta potential is a surface-sensitive parameter which can be used to assess the surface nobility and hence passive films. In this work, it is shown that the Volta potential, measured on super duplex stainless steel by scanning Kelvin probe force microscopy, correlates with the electrochemical properties of the passive film, measured by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and potentiodynamic polarisation. Natural oxidation by ageing in ambient air as well as artificial oxidation by immersion in concentrated nitric acid improved the nobility, both reflected by increased Volta potentials and electrochemical parameters. Passivation was associated with vanishing of the inherent Volta potential difference between the ferrite and austenite, thereby reducing the galvanic coupling and hence improving the corrosion resistance of the material. Hydrogen-passive film interactions, triggered by cathodic polarisation, however, largely increased the Volta potential difference between the phases, resulting in loss of electrochemical nobility, with the ferrite being more affected than the austenite. A correlative approach of using the Volta potential in conjunction with electrochemical data has been introduced to characterise the nobility of passive films in global and local scale.