Comparison of electrochemical corrosion behaviour of MgO and ZrO2 coatings on AM50 magnesium alloy formed by plasma electrolytic oxidation


Two types of PEO coatings were produced on AM50 magnesium alloy using pulsed DC plasma electrolytic oxidation process in an alkaline phosphate and acidic fluozirconate electrolytes, respectively. The phase composition and microstructure of these PEO coatings were analyzed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The corrosion behaviour of the coated samples was evaluated by open circuit potential (OCP) measurements, potentiodynamic polarization tests, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) in neutral 0.1 M NaCl solution. The results showed that PEO coating prepared from alkaline phosphate electrolyte consisted of only MgO and on the other hand the one formed in acidic fluozirconate solution was mainly composed of ZrO2, MgF2. Electrochemical corrosion tests indicated that the phase composition of PEO coating has a significant effect on the deterioration process of coated magnesium alloy in this corrosive environment. The PEO coating that was composed of only MgO suffered from localized corrosion in the 50 hour exposure studies, whereas the PEO coating with ZrO2 compounds showed a much superior stability during the corrosion tests and provided an efficient corrosion protection. The results showed that the preparation of PEO coating with higher chemical stability compounds offers an opportunity to produce layers that could provide better corrosion protection to magnesium alloys.
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