Grain Boundary Precipitate Modification for Improved Intergranular Corrosion Resistance
Intergranular corrosion is a significant concern for Al-Mg alloys when subjected to a corrosive salt-water environment. To address this issue, the standard composition of a 5XXX series aluminum alloy (AA5083) was modified in an attempt to improve the alloy’s overall corrosion resistance through alloying and thermal processing. The concept being that through alloying and heat treatments, desirable precipitate phases such as τ- and/or τ-copper rich phase(s) that are known to offer corrosion resistance would potentially form that could effectively improve intergranular corrosion behavior. Therefore, the chemical composition of standard AA5083 was modified by adding various amounts of copper and zinc. Sensitization heat treatments were then performed to determine the specific conditions under which these phases would form. LOM, SEM, STEM imaging and conventional TEM were used to analyze microstructural features. Corrosion was attributed to a network of detrimental Mg-rich grain boundary precipitates in the standard alloy. Alloying with Cu and Zn can offer improved intergranular corrosion behavior. The mechanism seems to be either by delaying or eliminating precipitation at the grain boundaries.
W.J. Poole, M.A. Wells and D.J. Lloyd
K. A. Unocic et al., "Grain Boundary Precipitate Modification for Improved Intergranular Corrosion Resistance", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 519-521, pp. 327-332, 2006