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Galvanic Coupling Between Pure Copper and Pure Aluminum Experimental Approach and Mathematical Model

Abstract : The corrosion behavior of a pure aluminum/pure copper couple in a weakly conductive sulfate solution was investigated. Potential and current distributions on the surface of the model couple at the beginning of immersion were obtained by solving the Laplace equation using a finite element method (FEM) algorithm. The potential distribution predicted by the calculations was checked using a Ag/AgCl microreference electrode. A good agreement was found between experimental and theoretical results. It was shown that the reaction occurring at the copper electrode was oxygen reduction, while aluminum remote from the Al/Cu interface remained in the passive state. Moreover, calculations predicted a large cathodic current, related to an increase in oxygen reduction, restricted to copper at the Al/Cu interface. This led to a local pH increase reaching values higher than 9, allowing the dissolution of aluminum to occur close to the interface. Combining these data with optical and scanning electron microscope observations after 24 h of immersion in the sodium sulfate solution allowed a three-step mechanism to be proposed to explain the corrosion damage, and particularly the presence of a copper deposit on the aluminum surface, some distance from the Al/Cu interface, a phenomenon currently observed in commercial copper-rich aluminum alloys.
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Jean-Baptiste Jorcin, Christine Blanc, Nadine Pébère, Bernard Tribollet, Vincent Vivier. Galvanic Coupling Between Pure Copper and Pure Aluminum Experimental Approach and Mathematical Model. Journal of The Electrochemical Society, Electrochemical Society, 2008, vol. 155, pp.C46-C51. ⟨10.1149/1.2803506⟩. ⟨hal-00806027⟩

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