Earlier studies on cerium-loaded naturally occurring silica microparticles (i.e., diatomaceous earth) demonstrated the potential to efficiently protect small scratches in epoxy-coated AA2024-T3 panels during relatively short immersion times. The current work investigates the potential of such inhibitor-loaded microparticles to protect wide and deep scribes (up to 1 mm wide) in long-time immersion testing and during cyclic (wet/dry) conditions. For this, cerium nitrate and 2,5-dimercaptothiadiazole (DMTD) were used as inorganic and organic corrosion inhibitors. The corrosion protection was evaluated using a hyphenated real-time optics/electrochemistry method and two individual local techniques measuring oxygen concentration and electrochemical impedance (LEIM) inside the scribe. SEM/EDS was used to analyze the samples after exposure. The results show significant levels of corrosion protection at damaged locations at low cerium concentrations (3.7 wt % Ce3+ relative to the total coating mass) during 30 days of immersion in salt solution. However, for a given scribe geometry, the protection was found to be dependent on the electrolyte volume with larger electrolyte/exposed metal ratios leading to short protection time. A partial replacement of the Ce3+ by DMTD in the microcarriers resulted in a higher degree of passivation than when DMTD was used alone. Wet/dry cyclic exposure tests showed that cyclic conditions can increase the buildup of stable inhibitor-containing layers in the case of cerium-loaded silica microparticles. This underlines the need for more research using wet/dry exposure conditions.
- local electrochemistry