UBC Theses and Dissertations
Corrosion behaviour of AZ31 magnesium alloy in highly alkaline environments Doja, Somi
Magnesium (Mg) and its alloys are known for their high chemical reactivity. This property often poses issues related to undesirable corrosion, or degradation of exposed surfaces. The chemical reactivity of Mg can be also exploited, and as a result Mg alloys often find use as anode materials for fuel cells. However, due to a long term immersion of the anodes in highly alkaline environments, the problem of corrosion remains and needs to be evaluated. Therefore, in this research, the corrosion behavior of a commercially available magnesium alloy AZ31 in 45 wt% potassium hydroxide (KOH), a common electrolyte for alkaline fuel cells, was studied. Immersion tests were performed for a total duration of 20 days to study the growth of corrosion products on the alloy’s surface. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and X-ray Diffraction (XRD) were carried out to characterize the structure and chemistry of the corrosion products. Also, electrochemical studies were carried out to study the kinetics of corrosion of the AZ31 alloy. Finally, the effect of adding 2 wt% sodium silicate (Na₂SiO₃) to the KOH electrolyte in order to manipulate the corrosion rate was also examined. Tafel analysis confirmed that the corrosion potential of the AZ31 sample immersed in the Na₂SiO₃ + KOH solution reduced by 16% with respect to that of sample immersed in pure KOH. Although the AZ31 alloy contains only a trace amount of nickel, SEM-EDS characterization of the corrosion products revealed that they contained high levels of nickel, with XRD analysis confirming the presence of a nickel hydroxide layer. In the case of the sample immersed in Na₂SiO₃ + KOH electrolyte, an additional layer rich in silicates developed, and likely acted as a barrier for diffusion of ions from surface of the AZ31 sample to the electrolyte. EIS results of modeling the surface corrosion phenomena revealed that a modified Randle’s circuit represented the electrochemical processes occurring on the surface of the alloy. Warburg impedance for the sample immersed in Na₂SiO₃ + KOH was relatively high, suggesting a dissolution of ions from the surface into the highly alkaline KOH electrolyte.
Item Citations and Data
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International