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Surface orientation plays an important role in the oxidation behavior of single crystals where studies have found the relative oxidation rates for surfaces with different orientations. However, most materials are polycrystalline and contain myriad orientations that contribute to the overall oxidation process. Here we determine the effects of orientation on the early stages of oxidation behavior as a function of surface orientation for polycrystalline nickel (face-centered cubic) and chromium (body-centered cubic). After high temperature oxidation, the oxide topography is characterized using optical profilometry and the underlying microstructure is characterized with electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). By correlating results from EBSD and optical profilometry, the oxide height is determined for each crystallographic orientation. In both Ni and Cr, a strong relationship is observed between the oxidation rate and direction of the surface normal; for Ni, (111) surfaces oxidize slowest, while (100) surfaces in Cr have the lowest oxidation rates. Although orientation-dependent oxidation rates are observed at short times, the effect is diminished at longer oxidation times.

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Journal of Materials Science, published by Springer. Copyright restrictions may apply. DOI: 10.1007/s10853-009-4144-x