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Morphology evolution in dealloying

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Dealloying, the selective dissolution of an elemental component from an alloy, is an important corrosion mechanism and a technological significant means to fabricate nanoporous structures for a variety of applications.

Dealloying, the selective dissolution of an elemental component from an alloy, is an important corrosion mechanism and a technological significant means to fabricate nanoporous structures for a variety of applications. In noble metal alloys, dealloying proceeds above a composition dependent critical potential, and bi-continuous structure evolves "simultaneously" as a result of the interplay between percolation dissolution and surface diffusion. In contrast, dealloying in alloys that show considerable solid-state mass transport at ambient temperature is largely unexplored despite its relevance to nanoparticle catalysts and Li-ion anodes. In my dissertation, I discuss the behaviors of two alloy systems in order to elucidate the role of bulk lattice diffusion in dealloying. First, Mg-Cd alloys are chosen to show that when the dealloying is controlled by bulk diffusion, a new type of porosity - negative void dendrites will form, and the process mirrors electrodeposition. Then, Li-Sn alloys are studied with respect to the composition, particle size and dealloying rate effects on the morphology evolution. Under the right condition, dealloying of Li-Sn supported by percolation dissolution results in the same bi-continuous structure as nanoporous noble metals; whereas lattice diffusion through the otherwise "passivated" surface allows for dealloying with no porosity evolution. The interactions between bulk diffusion, surface diffusion and dissolution are revealed by chronopotentiometry and linear sweep voltammetry technics. The better understanding of dealloying from these experiments enables me to construct a brief review summarizing the electrochemistry and morphology aspects of dealloying as well as offering interpretations to new observations such as critical size effect and encased voids in nanoporous gold. At the end of the dissertation, I will describe a preliminary attempt to generalize the morphology evolution "rules of dealloying" to all solid-to-solid interfacial controlled phase transition process, demonstrating that bi-continuous morphologies can evolve regardless of the nature of parent phase.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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Corrosion and passivation of Mg-Al and Ni-Cr alloys

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In this dissertation, micro-galvanic corrosion effects and passivation behavior of single-phase binary alloys have been studied in order to formulate new insights towards the development of “stainless-like” lightweight alloys. As

In this dissertation, micro-galvanic corrosion effects and passivation behavior of single-phase binary alloys have been studied in order to formulate new insights towards the development of “stainless-like” lightweight alloys. As a lightweight material of interest, Mg-xAl alloys were studied using aqueous free corrosion, atmospheric corrosion, dissolution rate kinetics, and ionic liquid dissolution. Polarization and “accelerated” free corrosion studies in aqueous chloride were used to characterize the corrosion behavior and morphology of alloys. Atmospheric corrosion experiments revealed surface roughness and pH evolution behavior in aqueous environment. Dissolution in absence of water using choline-chloride:urea ionic liquid allowed for a simpler dissolution mechanism to be observed, providing additional insights regarding surface mobility of Al. These results were compared with commercial alloy (AZ31B, AM60, and AZ91D) behavior to better elucidate effects associated with secondary phases and intermetallic particles often present in Mg alloys. Aqueous free corrosion, “accelerated” free corrosion and ionic liquid dissolution studies have confirmed Al surface enrichment in a variety of morphologies, including Al-rich platelet and Al nanowire formation. This behavior is attributed to the preferential dissolution of Al as the more “noble” element in the matrix. Inductively-coupled mass spectroscopy was used to measure first-order rate reaction constants for elemental Mg and Al dissolution in aqueous chloride environment to be kMg= 9.419 x 10-6 and kAl = 2.103 x 10-6 for future implementation in kinetic Monte Carlo simulations. To better understand how “stainless-like” passivation may be achieved, Ni-xCr alloys were studied using polarization and potential pulse experiments. The passivation potential, critical current density, and passivation current density were found to decay with increasing Cr composition. The measured average number of monolayers dissolved during passivation was found to be in good agreement with percolation theory, with a fitted 3-D percolation threshold of p_c^3D=0.118 compared with the theoretical value of 0.137. Using these results, possible approaches towards achieving passivation in other systems, including Mg-Al, are discussed.

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Date Created
  • 2018