The influence of surface microchemistry in protective film formation on multi phase magnesium alloys

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Journal titleApplied Surface Science
Pages28712877; # of pages: 7
Subjectmagnesium alloys; electroless plating; fluoride; copper; metallization
AbstractThe high strength:weight ratio of magnesium alloys makes them an ideal metal for automotive and aerospace applications where weight reduction is of significant concern. Unfortunately, magnesium alloys are highly susceptible to corrosion particularly in salt-spray conditions. This has limited their use in the automotive and aerospace industries, where exposure to harsh service conditions is unavoidable. The simplest way to avoid corrosion is to coat the magnesium-based substrate by a process such as electroless plating, which is a low-cost, non line of sight process. Magnesium is classified as a difficult to plate metal due to its high reactivity. This means that in the presence of air magnesium very quickly forms a passive oxide layer that must be removed prior to plating. Furthermore, high aluminium content alloys are especially difficult to plate due to the formation of intermetallic species at the grain boundaries, resulting in a non-uniform surface potential across the substrate and thereby further complicating the plating process. The objective of this study is to understand how the magnesium alloy microstructure influences the surface chemistry of the alloy during both pretreatment and immersion copper coating of the substrate. A combination of scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy and scanning Auger microscopy has been used to study the surface chemistry at the various stages of the coating process. Our results indicate that the surface chemistry of the alloy is different on the aluminum rich β phase of the material compared to the magnesium matrix which leads to preferential deposition of the metal on the aluminum rich phase of the alloy.
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AffiliationNRC Industrial Materials Institute; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21274335
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Record identifier7bc12287-a45d-4377-9615-1e3c476617d4
Record created2015-03-10
Record modified2016-05-09
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