Formation of intergranular M23C6 carbides and thereafter Cr-depletion zones in commercially available type-347 stainless steels were observed by optical microscopy, conventional transmission electron microscopy and analytical transmission electron microscopy. At the early stage of sensitization, only NbC carbides were observed both intragranularly and intergranularly. At the later stage, formation of intergranular M 23C6 carbides and intergranular corrosion were found. A model is proposed to describe the formation kinetics of intergranular precipitation of NbC and of M23C6, as well as Cr-depletion zones, thermodynamically. Evolution mechanisms of intergranular precipitates were found in the order of 1) the formation of intergranular NbC, 2) the coarsening of NbC, 3) the formation of M23C6, then 4) the coarsening of M23C6 and formation of Cr-depletion zones.
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