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Title: Stress corrosion cracking in Al-Zn-Mg-Cu aluminum alloys in saline environments
Authors: Scamans, GM
Keywords: Stress corrosion cracking;Al-Zn-Mg-Cu;Alloy composition;Saline environments
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A, 44A(3), 1230 - 1253, 2013
Abstract: Stress corrosion cracking of Al-Zn-Mg-Cu (AA7xxx) aluminum alloys exposed to saline environments at temperatures ranging from 293 K to 353 K (20 °C to 80 °C) has been reviewed with particular attention to the influences of alloy composition and temper, and bulk and local environmental conditions. Stress corrosion crack (SCC) growth rates at room temperature for peak- and over-aged tempers in saline environments are minimized for Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloys containing less than ~8 wt pct Zn when Zn/Mg ratios are ranging from 2 to 3, excess magnesium levels are less than 1 wt pct, and copper content is either less than ~0.2 wt pct or ranging from 1.3 to 2 wt pct. A minimum chloride ion concentration of ~0.01 M is required for crack growth rates to exceed those in distilled water, which insures that the local solution pH in crack-tip regions can be maintained at less than 4. Crack growth rates in saline solution without other additions gradually increase with bulk chloride ion concentrations up to around 0.6 M NaCl, whereas in solutions with sufficiently low dichromate (or chromate), inhibitor additions are insensitive to the bulk chloride concentration and are typically at least double those observed without the additions. DCB specimens, fatigue pre-cracked in air before immersion in a saline environment, show an initial period with no detectible crack growth, followed by crack growth at the distilled water rate, and then transition to a higher crack growth rate typical of region 2 crack growth in the saline environment. Time spent in each stage depends on the type of pre-crack (“pop-in” vs fatigue), applied stress intensity factor, alloy chemistry, bulk environment, and, if applied, the external polarization. Apparent activation energies (E a) for SCC growth in Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloys exposed to 0.6 M NaCl over the temperatures ranging from 293 K to 353 K (20 °C to 80 °C) for under-, peak-, and over-aged low-copper-containing alloys (<0.2 wt pct) are typically ranging from 80 to 85 kJ/mol, whereas for high-copper-containing alloys (>~0.8 wt pct), they are typically ranging from 20 to 40 kJ/mol for under- and peak-aged alloys, and based on limited data, around 85 kJ/mol for over-aged tempers. This means that crack propagation in saline environments is most likely to occur by a hydrogen-related process for low-copper-containing Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloys in under-, peak- and over-aged tempers, and for high-copper alloys in under- and peak-aged tempers. For over-aged high-copper-containing alloys, cracking is most probably under anodic dissolution control. Future stress corrosion studies should focus on understanding the factors that control crack initiation, and insuring that the next generation of higher performance Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloys has similar longer crack initiation times and crack propagation rates to those of the incumbent alloys in an over-aged condition where crack rates are less than 1 mm/month at a high stress intensity factor.
Description: Copyright 2013 ASM International. This paper was published in Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A, 44A(3), 1230 - 1253, and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of ASM International. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplications of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of this paper are prohibited.
ISSN: 1073-5623
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Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology (BCAST)

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