Oxidation of Metals

, Volume 89, Issue 1–2, pp 1–31 | Cite as

Reduction of Wustite Scale by Dissolved Carbon in Steel at 650–900 °C

  • R. Y. Chen
Original Paper


The reduction behaviour of wustite-type iron oxide scale on a low-carbon, low-silicon steel by dissolved carbon in the steel at 650–900 °C under pure nitrogen was studied. It was found that dissoved carbon in the steel examined was able to react with the wustite scale on the surface, leading to reduction of this scale. It was also found that the scale reduction rate was the most rapid within 750–800 °C, followed by that at 700 °C and then at 850 °C, whereas the rates were essentially zero at 650 and 900 °C. Decarburization occurred to the steel as a result of scale reduction, and the degree of decarburization at 750–800 °C was also the most severe. The rate of scale–carbon reaction was primarily controlled by carbon diffusion through the decarburization layer as the calculated carbon permeability, defined as the product of carbon diffusivity and the carbon concentration difference across the decarburization layer, also reached its maximum within 750–800 °C. Scale reduction led to the formation of pores at the scale–steel interface as a result of volume shrinkage when wustite was reduced to iron, but the porosity volume was smaller than calculated at 800–850 °C, which could have an inhibiting effect on the scale–carbon reaction. The calculated volume of CO + CO2 gases generated as a result of scale–carbon reactions was about 100 times the calculated porosity volume. It was believed that the wustite scale was permeable to CO and/or CO2, allowing the much larger volume of CO and CO2 gases to escape through the scale layer.


Wustite Scale reduction by dissolved carbon in steel Steel decarburization Carbon permeability CO CO2 



Permission from the management of BlueScope Limited for publication of the information contained in this paper is gratefully acknowledged. Dr Andrew Dixon at BlueScope Limited had kindly reviewed the manuscript of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Product Innovation and TechnologyBlueScope LimitedHastingsAustralia

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