Stress corrosion cracking (SCC) is the unexpected sudden failure of normally ductile metals or tough thermoplastics subjected to a constant tensile stress in a corrosive environment, especially at elevated temperature (in the case of metals).
This type of corrosion often progresses rapidly. The corrosive environment is of crucial importance, and only very small concentrations of certain highly active chemicals are needed to produce catastrophic cracking, often leading to devastating failure.
The stresses can be the result of the crevice loads due to stress concentration, or can be caused by the type of assembly or residual stresses from fabrication (eg. cold working); the residual stresses can be relieved by annealing.
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