Liu, Y., Arenas, M.A., Skeldon, P., Thompson, G.E., Bailey, Paul, Noakes, T.C.Q., Habazaki, H. and Shimizu, K. (2006) Anodic behaviour of a model second phase: Al–20at.%Mg–20at.%Cu. Corrosion Science, 48 (5). pp. 1225-1248. ISSN 0010-938X

The anodic behaviour of sputtering-deposited Al–20at.%Mg–20at.%Cu alloy is investigated during anodizing and potentiodynamic polarization treatments using transmission electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and medium energy ion scattering. The composition of the alloy is close to that of the S-phase in 2024 aluminium alloy. The anodizing behaviour in both 0.1 M ammonium pentaborate and 0.1 M sodium hydroxide electrolytes follows the behaviour of more dilute, solid-solution, aluminium alloys, with enrichment of copper developing in the alloy during the growth of an alumina-based initial oxide containing incorporated magnesium species. Oxygen gas is generated following sufficient enrichment of copper for its oxidation to proceed and hence, for copper species to enter the oxide film. The generation of oxygen gas causes extensive damage to the film, which limits the voltage to relatively low values. Potentiodynamic polarization in 0.1 M sodium hydroxide electrolyte revealed mainly passive behaviour following an initial period of corrosion during which the passive film is developed. In this initial period, copper enriches in the alloy, beneath an oxide film containing aluminium and magnesium species. The magnesium species migrate faster through the film than the aluminium species and form a surface layer of MgO/Mg(OH)2, which protects against losses of aluminium species to solution and permits the establishment of the passive film. The steady open-circuit potential of the passivated alloy in the hydroxide solution is about −550 mV (SCE), compared with about −1940 mV (SCE) for aluminium.

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