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Extensive research on environmentally complaint sol-gel coatings is currently underway for a wide range of applications. Sol-gel technology combines the synergistic properties of inorganic and organic components to design nanostructured coating materials with advanced physical properties. Through a judicious choice of precursors and additives improved performances, such as chemical resistance or pH stability, it can be achieved. This is of particular interest for copper rich AA 2024-T3 aluminium alloys used on aircraft, where increase in local pH occurs at corrosion sites. This work focuses on improving the alkaline stability and anticorrosion properties of such a sol-gel coatings on AA2024-T3 by incorporating aluminium functionality into hybrid materials prepared from hydrolysis and condensation of 3-methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane, zirconium n-propoxide and zirconium/alkoxide precursors. Dynamic light scattering technique was used to study the particle size nature of the sol-gel materials in colloidal form. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy was used to study the oxidation state of the aluminium and zirconium at the sol-gel coating surface. Field emission scanning electrochemical microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy was used to assess the microstructural features. Electrochemical characterisations employing potentiodynamic scanning and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy were performed to investigate the anticorrosion performance of the hybrid sol-gel coatings. The best anticorrosive protection of AA2024-T3 in an alkaline saline solution (pH = 10) was achieved with materials containing 10 mol% and 15 mol% aluminium doped sol-gel coatings. This study shows that presence of aluminium has a positive effect on alkaline stability of the coatings and is a potential green candidate for the protective coatings on aerospace alloys.
Oubaha, M., et al. (2014) Development of a Novel Hybrid Aluminum-Based Sol-Gel Materials: Application to the Protection of AA2024-T3 Alloys in Alkaline Environment. Advances in Materials Physics and Chemistry, 4, 75-84. doi:10.4236/ampc.2014.45010