Role of Chloride in the Corrosion and Fracture Behavior of Micro-Alloyed Steel in E80 Simulated Fuel Grade Ethanol Environment

Materials (Basel). 2016 Jun 16;9(6):463. doi: 10.3390/ma9060463.


In this study, micro-alloyed steel (MAS) material normally used in the production of auto parts has been immersed in an E80 simulated fuel grade ethanol (SFGE) environment and its degradation mechanism in the presence of sodium chloride (NaCl) was evaluated. Corrosion behavior was determined through mass loss tests and electrochemical measurements with respect to a reference test in the absence of NaCl. Fracture behavior was determined via J-integral tests with three-point bend specimens at an ambient temperature of 27 °C. The mass loss of MAS increased in E80 with NaCl up to a concentration of 32 mg/L; beyond that threshold, the effect of increasing chloride was insignificant. MAS did not demonstrate distinct passivation behavior, as well as pitting potential with anodic polarization, in the range of the ethanol-chloride ratio. Chloride caused pitting in MAS. The fracture resistance of MAS reduced in E80 with increasing chloride. Crack tip blunting decreased with increasing chloride, thus accounting for the reduction in fracture toughness.

Keywords: chloride; fracture toughness; fuel grade ethanol; micro-alloyed steel; pitting corrosion.