Decoupling the role of stress and corrosion in the intergranular cracking of noble-metal alloys

N. Badwe, X. Chen, D. K. Schreiber, M. J. Olszta, N. R. Overman, E. K. Karasz, A. Y. Tse, S. M. Bruemmer, Karl Sieradzki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Intergranular stress-corrosion cracking (IGSCC) is a form of environmentally induced crack propagation causing premature failure of elemental metals and alloys. It is believed to require the simultaneous presence of tensile stress and corrosion; however, the exact nature of this synergy has eluded experimental identification. For noble metal alloys such as Ag–Au, IGSCC is a consequence of dealloying corrosion, forming a nanoporous gold layer that is believed to have the ability to transmit cracks into grain boundaries in un-dealloyed parent phase via a pure mechanical process. Here using atomic-scale techniques and statistical characterizations for this alloy system, we show that the separate roles of stress and anodic dissolution can be decoupled and that the apparent synergy exists owing to rapid time-dependent morphology changes at the dealloyed layer/parent phase interface. We discuss the applicability of our findings to the IGSCC of important engineering Fe- and Ni-based alloys in critical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-893
Number of pages7
JournalNature materials
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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