Grade 316L is the low carbon austenitic stainless steel with molybdenum content and is immune from sensitisation (grain boundary carbide precipitation). Thus it is extensively used in heavy gauge welded components. The austenitic structure also gives excellent toughness, even down to cryogenic temperatures. The molybdenum gives 316L good overall corrosion resistant properties, particularly higher resistance to pitting and crevice corrosion in chloride environments. Compared to chromium-nickel austenitic stainless steels, 316L stainless steel offers higher creep, stress to rupture and tensile strength at elevated temperatures. These properties are specified for flat rolled product (plate, sheet, pipe, bar and coil) in ASTM A240/A240M.Thermal treatment of SUS 316L alloys allows significantly influence microstructure and mechanical properties. The aim of this work was the study of microstructure of SUS 316L before and after annealing. The heat regimes were performed at these conditions: 1050, 1100 and 1150 °C for 20 minutes followed by slow cooling in vacuum. Microstructures features were studied by means of optical and scanning electron microscopies, EDX microanalysis and microhardness measurement. Higher aging temperatures and annealing time led to decreasing microhardness and microstructure changes (grain growth).Keywords: Alloy SUS 316L, heat treatment, microstructure, EDX analysis, microhardness
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