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Title: Corrosion behaviour of extruded heat exchanger aluminium alloys
Author: Laferrere, Alice Marie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2719 8969
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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Extruded Al-Mn alloy are used in heat exchanger applications due to their light weight and good thermal conductivity. Depending on the application, the units may be subjected to external corrosion, which can lead to perforation of the tube. The industrial test most commonly used to assess heat exchanger alloys is the seawater acetic acid test (SWAAT). This is a cyclic fog at 40°C and pH 2.9. In the present study, it was found that pits developing in extruded Al-Mn tubes during the SWAAT test are purely crystallographic. Furthermore, a mechanistic understanding for crystallographic pitting has been developed. The SWAAT test can be of relatively long duration and, typically, does not yield information on the underlying corrosion initiation and propagation mechanisms. In the present study, alternate methods to assess pitting corrosion were elaborated. A drop testing procedure has been successfully implemented to study the mechanism of pit initiation. It was revealed that pits initiated within the aluminium matrix in the vicinity of grain boundaries. A close link between large second-phase particles and pit initiation was established. No preferred grain orientation for pit initiation was evident. Scanning electron microscopy and associated tomography were undertaken for the first time to clarify the mechanism of pit propagation. The pit walls were oriented {100}, while the fast-dissolving planes were {110} and {111}. The findings were in accordance with previous literature. Corrosion penetrated deeper into the alloy when the corrosion front was close to a grain boundary. Pit walls were cathodic to the aluminium matrix, possibly due to enrichment of alloying elements at pit walls. The effect of alloy additions on the corrosion behaviour of extruded aluminium alloys was investigated. Alloys with varying copper, iron and manganese contents were compared. Shot noise analysis and post-mortem analyses were undertaken. The increased amount of manganese in solid solution delayed the transition from micropits to stable pitting. This delay is attributable to second-phase particles that are less cathodic to the aluminium matrix in alloys with increased manganese content. Increasing copper decreased the size of the dissolved polyhedra during stable pitting. Furthermore, pits propagated faster in alloys rich in copper. This could be attributed to an increased level of copper enrichment at the pit walls. Finally, more second-phase particles were present in alloys with increased iron levels. Additionally, pits located in those alloys propagated deeper than pits located in alloys with low levels of iron. A competition between two different types of cathodes, enrichment layer and second-phase particles, is suggested. In conclusion, the effect of microstructure and alloy additions on the corrosion mechanism for crystallographic pitting developed during the project was clarified.
Supervisor: Zhou, Xiaorong Sponsor: Rio Tinto Alcan
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: corrosion ; aluminium alloys ; heat exchanger