High strength 7xxx aluminium alloys are used extensively in the aerospace industry because the alloys offer excellent mechanical properties. Unfortunately, the alloys can suffer localised corrosion due to the presence of large intermetallic particles at the alloy surface that are aligned in the rolling direction. Laser surface melting (LSM) techniques offer the potential to reduce and/or to eliminate the intermetallic phases from the surface of the alloy without affecting the alloy matrix.The present study concerns the application of LSM using an excimer laser to enhance the corrosion resistance of AA 7075-T6 aluminium alloy. The initial stage of the project was aimed at optimising the laser conditions for production of a uniform microstructure, with the increase in the corrosion resistance of the alloy being determined by potentiodynamic polarization measurements in sodium chloride solution. Low and high laser energy densities were used with a different number of pulses per unit area to treat the alloy surface, which were achieved by changing both the laser fluence and the pulse repetition frequency. A laser fluence of 3.3 J/cm2 with 80 pulses was subsequently selected as the optimum condition to treat the surface of the alloy. The composition and microstructure of the alloy before and after LSM treatment, and following corrosion tests, were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD).After the laser treatment, the surface and the cross-sections of the alloy showed a significant reduction in the number of large intermetallic particles and a relatively homogenous melted layer was generated that provided significant improvement in the resistance of the alloy against corrosion, as assessed by several corrosion test methods, including exfoliation corrosion (EXCO) tests. However, delamination of the melted layer was observed after extended testing in the EXCO solution which is possibly related to the formation of bands of fine magnesium and zinc-rich precipitates within the melted layer. Therefore, anodising in sulphuric acid was applied to the LSM alloy, in order to further increase the corrosion resistance and to protect the laser treated layer from delamination by generating a thin oxide film over the LSM layer. The results revealed that the anodic treatment increased the resistance of the alloy to exfoliation attack.
|Date of Award||1 Aug 2013|
- The University of Manchester
|Supervisor||Peter Skeldon (Supervisor)|
- AA 7075-T6, Excimer, LSM, Corrosion, Anodising, EXCO, SEM, TEM, XRD