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The progress of the oxide "breakdown" process can be monitored, during the incubation period, by measuring the electrical resistivity (Fig. 33) of the oxide film [67]. The resistivity of the oxide declines rapidly with time, as a result of the increasing hypostoichiometry of the oxide, and hydriding commences once the resistivity declines below a critical level. The hypostoichiometry changes because the rate of dissolution of oxygen atoms from the oxide into the metal now exceeds the rate at which replacement oxygen atoms can be acquired from the environment.

29. Critical hydro gen fluxes for surface hydride layer formation (from Chemistry & Materials Division, CRNL, Progress Report, January-March 1979, AECL-6538). corrosion resistance. Thus, use of this evidence requires us to accept that all nodules will form away from intermetallics because it has long been known that some poorly heat treated materials nucleate nodules at such locations. In support of this the work of Demars, Givord and Armand is often quoted [49]. However, only one of their heat treatments (an

0 I/Î . 37. Decrease in thickness of interference-colour oxide films as a function of annealing time in vacua at 400°C [83]. (a) (b) FIG. 38. Oxide-metal interface of specimen after vacuum annealing at 500° C. Note breakup of oxide ridges and formation of pores; (a) lOOOx, (b) 3000x [245]. inhomogeneously (Fig. 38). This irregular dissolution of the grain boundary ridges leads to the formation of large pores in the oxide. These pores are thought to pass right through the oxide film because similar rows of pores have been seen when oxide films on specimens exposed to low oxygen partial pressure environments were viewed from the outside by a replica technique (Fig.

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