Pitting behavior of SiCp/2024 Al metal matrix composites

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The effects of the volume fraction of SiC particulate reinforcements and the concentration of chloride ions in solution on the localized corrosion characteristics of SiCp/2024 Al metal matrix composites (MMC) were investigated. A scanning micro reference electrode (SMRE) technique was employed to study the dynamic process of pitting initiation and development on the surface of the composites at open-circuit potential. Potentiodynamic polarizations were performed to characterize the electrochemical behavior of the MMCs. The morphology of the localized attack on the MMC sample after corrosion tests were examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results of electrochemical measurement showed that the composites were less resistant to pit initiation than the corresponding unreinforced metrix alloy. Increase in the volume fraction of SiCp reinforcement in the SiCp/2024 Al composites resulted in a significant decrease of pitting potential. In situ potential mapping of active centers on the surfaces of the composites revealed that local breakdown of passivity and initiation of micro pitting corrosion could take place even at an open-circuit potential which was more negative than the pitting potential, and the number of active centers on the surfaces of the composites increased as the volume fraction of SiC particulates in MMCs increased. Micro-structural analysis indicated that pitting attack on the composites mainly occurred at SiCp-Al interfaces or inclusions-Al interfaces.

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