First-Principles Surface Interaction Studies of Aluminum-Copper and Aluminum-Copper-Magnesium Secondary Phases in Aluminum Alloys
First-principles density functional theory-based calculations were performed to study θ-phase Al2Cu, S-phase Al2CuMg surface stability, as well as their interactions with water molecules and chloride (Cl−) ions. These secondary phases are commonly found in aluminum-based alloys and are initiation points for localized corrosion. Density functional theory (DFT)-based simulations provide insight into the origins of localized (pitting) corrosion processes of aluminum-based alloys. For both phases studied, Cl− ions cause atomic distortions on the surface layers. The nature of the distortions could be a factor to weaken the interlayer bonds in the Al2Cu and Al2CuMg secondary phases, facilitating the corrosion process. Electronic structure calculations revealed not only electron charge transfer from Cl− ions to alloy surface but also electron sharing, suggesting ionic and covalent bonding features, respectively. The S-phase Al2CuMg structure has a more active surface than the θ-phase Al2Cu. We also found a higher tendency of formation of new species, such as Al3+, Al(OH)2+, HCl, AlCl2+, Al(OH)Cl+, and Cl2 on the S-phase Al2CuMg surface. Surface chemical reactions and resultant species present contribute to establishment of local surface chemistry that influences the corrosion behavior of aluminum alloys.
da Silva, Thiago H.; Nelson, Eric B.; Williamson, Izaak; Efaw, Corey M.; Sapper, Erik; Hurley, Michael F.; and Li, Lan. (2018). "First-Principles Surface Interaction Studies of Aluminum-Copper and Aluminum-Copper-Magnesium Secondary Phases in Aluminum Alloys". Applied Surface Science, 439, 910-918. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsusc.2017.12.256