Microstructural characterisation and corrosion studies of excimer laser-treated aluminium alloy AA2024-T351

  • Zakria Aburas

Student thesis: Phd


Laser surface melting (LSM) of aluminium alloys with high power continuous wave (CW) CO2 and Nd:YAG lasers has been shown to produce dendritic/cellular microstructures with refined second-phase particles distributed along the dendritic boundaries. Although refinement of the microstructure and extension of the solute solubility in the matrix can be achieved, the refined second-phase particles still act as preferential sites to initiate localized corrosion. In contrast to a CW laser, an excimer laser with a UV wavelength and pulses width in the range of nanoseconds, resulting in extremely high cooling rate up to 1011 K/s, is expected to generate a further refining of the near-surface microstructure and hence, improved corrosion performance. In this project, a Lumonics IPEX 848 KrF excimer laser, with a wavelength of 248 nm and pulse width of 13 ns, has been used for surface melting of an AA2024-T351 alloy. The aim is to investigate the microstructure and the resultant corrosion behaviour of the laser treated surface, and its contribution to alloy performance. The laser fluence was fixed at 7 J/cm2 and the number of pulses per unit area was varied as 10, 25 and 50 pulses respectively. Microstructural characterisation and compositional analysis have been performed by SEM/EDX, TEM/EDX and XRD to disclose solidification phenomena and phase transformations. The results show that the melted layers, with a melt depth from 3 to 7 ┬Ám, have been achieved, that is far more chemically uniform than the bulk alloy. In particular, the relatively fine precipitates and dispersoids in the matrix have been dissolved, while large constituent intermetallic particles at the melted layer/matrix interface have been partially melted. In addition, solute-rich bands, containing particularly copper, were formed within the melted layers, especially at the melted layer/matrix interface. SKPFM also reveals that the laser-melted layers exhibit a uniform surface potential distribution.The corrosion performance of AA2024-T351 alloy before and after LSM has been evaluated by anodic polarisation in deaerated and aerated 0.1 M NaCl solution, and immersion tests in 0.1 NaCl solutions. Exfoliation corrosion immersion test ASTM G34- 01 (EXCO test) was also carried out to evaluate the intergranular corrosion (IGC)/exfoliation resistance of the alloy. The results show that the untreated alloy exhibits severe pitting corrosion and IGC. After LSM, significant improvement of corrosion resistance has been achieved. However, delamination of the laser melted layer from the matrix was evident after an EXCO test for 6 hours. The absence of significant corrosion product may suggest a stress-related mechanism. In order to investigate the effect of LSM on anodising of AA2024-T351 alloy and its influence on the corrosion resistance, excimer LSM has been applied as a pre-treatment method prior to anodising in 0.46 M H2SO4 solution. The results show that LSM significantly improved the corrosion performance following anodising compared with the alloy anodised without LSM and LSM alone.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorZhu Liu (Supervisor)


  • AA2024-T351 Aluminum Alloy, Excimer Laser, Corrosion, Anodizing

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