This paper systematically investigated the effects of normalizing, annealing and water-quenching heat treatments on corrosion of samples of the steel types in 0.5M H2SO4 containing 3.5%-Wt sodium chloride at ambient temperature. Non-heat-treated (control) and heat-treated samples of low and medium carbon steel with respective carbon contents of 0.207% C and 0.46% C were produced, cleaned, weighted and immersed in pairs in the chloride medium for various durations of 72, 96 and 168 hours. Thereupon, the samples were removed, re-cleaned, dried, and re-weighed. The respective average pair weight losses were evaluated and used to determine the corrosion penetration rates of the samples in the medium. Analysis of the entire obtained rates data showed that corrosion of the samples tended to increasingly passivate with the exposure time in all cases. The low carbon steel samples generally showed much less resistance to corrosion in the medium, compared to the medium carbon steel. The experiment demonstrated that the control, annealed, normalized, and quenched low carbon steel samples comparably resisted corrosion in the medium. Furthermore, the quenched medium carbon steel samples exhibited much better corrosion resistance than their annealed and the annealed better than their normalized. Correlative micro-structural analysis of the control, normalized, annealed, and quenched steel types with the worst-case corrosion showed no appreciable changes in the case of low carbon steel samples, but various levels of reduction and re-orientations in grain sizes and inter-granular boundaries of the carbide, ferrite, pearlite, and martensite in the matrix structures of the medium carbon steel samples, compared to the corroded control samples of the steel types.
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