Novel Anti-Corrosion Nano-Sized Vanadia-Based Thin Films Prepared by Sol-Gel Method for Aluminum Alloys

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Chromate conversion coatings have been widely applied for the corrosion protection of aluminum alloys. However, the waste containing Cr6+ has many limitations due to the environmental consideration and health hazards. Vanadates are among the proposed alternatives to chromating. Series of specimens were prepared under the following conditions: (a) as polished, (b) directly treated with vanadia, (c) etched, (d) oxide thickened, and (e) etching followed by oxide thickening. After surface preparation, the specimens were dipped in vanadia solution prepared via sol gel method. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and polarization measurements have been used to evaluate the coating performance in 3.5% NaCl. The optimum conditions under which vanadia treatments can provide good corrosion protection to the aluminum substrate were determined. The surface morphologies of the treated samples were investigated using SEM and EDS. Optical microscope was also used to investigate the occurrence of pitting corrosion. The surface preparation prior to vanadia treatment was found to have a marked effect on the corrosion protection of AA6061 T6. Generally, vanadia treatments improve the corrosion resistance due to formation of highly protective vanadium oxides. According to the EIS and polarization measurements, a combination between etching and oxide thickening prior to vanadia treatment plays an important role on the corrosion protection mechanism.