Corrosion initiation induced by sodium sulfate and sodium chloride particles on Cu and the golden alloy Cu5Al5Zn at simulated atmospheric conditions

University essay from KTH/Materialvetenskap

Abstract: Effects of sodium sulfate (Na2SO4) particle deposition on the atmospheric corrosion of copper (Cu) metal and a Cu-based alloy (Cu5Al5Zn) used in architectural applications were investigated at laboratory conditions compared with effects induced by sodium chloride (NaCl) and to some extent ammonium sulfate (NH4)2SO4 induced corrosion. Pre-deposited surfaces were exposed to repeated wet/dry conditions in a climatic chamber and the formation of corrosion products were assessed using light optical microscopy (LOM), scanning electron microscopy with elemental analysis (SEM/EDS), Fourier transform infrared techniques (FTIR microscopy) and cathodic reduction (CR). Na2SO4 induced corrosion resulted in corrosion cells locally over the surface on both Cu and Cu5Al5Zn, of increased oxygen content in the anodic area of the cells (center of pre-deposited area). The main corrosion products formed on Cu metal are basic copper sulfates and cuprite (Cu2O), while basic sulfates (copper and/or zinc) and Cu2O were the main corrosion products formed on Cu5Al5Zn. A combined deposition of Na2SO4 + NaCl was carried out on the Cu5Al5Zn alloy using two different deposition methods to investigate the possible interplay from a corrosion initiation perspective between the two salt particles. For short time exposed Cu5Al5Zn (1 cycle), two different corrosion cells formed, mainly induced by Na2SO4 and NaCl. Corrosion products formed in anodic areas of a Na2SO4 induced corrosion cell were similar to findings observed for Cu5Al5Zn pre-deposited with Na2SO4 only, whereas peripheral cathodic areas primarily were affected by NaCl dissolution and predominantly composed of Cu2O that was the main corrosion product with small amount of hydroxides and carbonates of the NaCl induced corrosion cells. After relatively longer exposure periods (2 and 6 wet/dry cycles), NaCl dominated the corrosion of the entire surface with the formation of more Cu2O, hydroxides and carbonates. Cathodic reduction findings revealed a negative interplay on corrosion for the mixed salt after short time exposures (1 and 2 cycles), whereas a slight synergistic effect was evident after a longer exposure period (6 cycles), compared with corrosion induced by single salts.

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