Mechanism of Corrosion of Cast Aluminum-Silicon Alloys in Seawater. Part 1: Characterization and Field Testing of Bare Alloys in the Adriatic Sea


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Aluminum-silicon cast alloys are increasingly used in various applications, including marine. Two Al-Si cast alloys were investigated as materials for marine exposure: Al-Si9-Cu3 and Al-Si7-Mg0.3. Microstructure, chemical composition, and electrochemical properties of nonimmersed alloys were studied, revealing their heterogeneous nature. Eight months of field testing by immersion in the Adriatic Sea was performed to test long-term corrosion and biofouling resistance. Morphological and chemical changes at the surface induced by immersion were investigated using surface analytical techniques. Top and cross-section surfaces were investigated. Electrochemical measurements of immersed samples in artificial seawater revealed that alloys were re-passivated by micrometer-thick oxide layers. Al-Si9-Cu3 alloy forms a layer rich in magnesium, while that formed on Al-Si7-Mg0.3 is rich in silicon. Electrochemical results indicate that both alloys are suitable for use in marine environments, where Al-Si7-Mg0.3 is more resistant than Al-Si9-Cu3. Biofouling formed up to one month of immersion can be removed by sonication. At the end of the immersion period, macro biofouling was firmly attached to the alloys' surface, as evidenced by scanning electron microscopy.
aluminum-silicon cast alloys,field testing,focused ion beam/scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive x-ray pectroscopy,glow discharge optical emission spectroscopy,marine immersion,x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
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