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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Corrosion behavior of B206 aluminum-copper casting alloy in seawater environment : electrochemical and microstructural studies Pournazari, Shabnam


Aluminum-copper casting alloys have relatively high strength and hardness, fatigue and creep resistances and good machinability, all of each are dependent on the copper content of the alloy. The Al-Cu casting alloy (4.2-5.0 wt% Cu), known as B206, is a potential candidate material for use in marine applications where good mechanical properties and high strength to weight ratio is desired. These properties are ideal for components of tidal-based energy generating systems. However, corrosion continues to be an issue. This dissertation presents and discusses the results of several electrochemical and microstructural investigations conducted on B206, contributing to a further understanding of the fundamental corrosion processes. Applications of this research are strongest within the marine industry field, yet are extendable to other infrastructural and engineering applications such as aerospace and military. Results of this work elucidate the mechanism of localized corrosion of B206 alloy in seawater. Focused ion beam (FIB) used to determine the subsurface microstructure at local attack sites within the corroded area reveals that localized corrosion is propagated where continuous particles are buried beneath the surface. Propagating away from the initiation sites, corrosion develops preferentially along the grain boundary network beneath the alloy surface. Retrogression and re-aging (RRA) of the alloy to modify the grain structure and render uniform the distribution of the second phase is revealed not to have a substantial effect on the corrosion susceptibility of the alloy. However, Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) and Mott-Schottky tests support the feasibility of implementing anodizing and possibly anodic protection systems for B206 in specific service environments. EIS was also used to determine the effect of cathodic protection (CP) on coated B206 and reveals that its corrosion resistance with CP is superior to the situation without CP and, therefore, that the coating is compatible with CP. Due to its use in the as-cast state, the effect of casting porosity on the corrosion of B206 was investigated using a pencil electrode method. Results reveal that the corrosion can be attributed to the local chemistry inside the pores (conductivity and potential at the bottom of pores).

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