Intergranular Corrosion

This type of corrosion is an attack along the grain boundaries of an alloy and commonly results from a lack of uniformity in the alloy structure. Aluminum alloys and some stainless steels are particularly susceptible to this form of electrochemical attack. [Figure 6-8] The lack of uniformity is caused by changes that occur in the alloy during heating and cooling during the material’s manufacturing process.

Intergranular corrosion may exist without visible surface evidence. Very severe intergranular corrosion may sometimes cause the surface of a metal to “exfoliate."

[Figure 6-9] This is a lifting or flaking of the metal at the surface due to delamination of the grain boundaries caused by the pressure of corrosion residual product buildup. This type of corrosion is difficult to detect in its initial stage. Extruded components such as spars can be subject to this type of corrosion. Ultrasonic and eddy current inspection methods are being used with a great deal of success.

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