Organic primer coatings loaded with environmentally harmful Cr(VI) corrosion inhibitive pigments still play an important role in corrosion protection of aluminium alloys for the aerospace industry. A potential “green” alternative coating system has recently been developed, loaded with lithium salt corrosion inhibitors. Under exposure to neutral salt spray, lithium salts leach from the organic coating into coating defects to induce the formation of a corrosion protective layer. In this work the composition and growth of this protective layer is investigated by time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). ToF-SIMS imaging is successfully applied to monitor the lateral spread of leaching lithium salts in artificial 1-mm-wide scribes. The chemical composition of the protective layer is revealed by comparing the mass spectra of salt spray exposed scribe areas to the mass spectra of pseudoboehmite and aluminium-lithium layered double hydroxide reference samples. The insights obtained in this work have led to a thorough understanding of the formation mechanism of the protective layer and provide local chemical and structural information which can be linked to corrosion protection behavior.
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- Multivariate analysis