Lithium salts are being investigated as leachable corrosion inhibitor and potential replacement for hexavalent chromium in organic coatings. Model coatings loaded with lithium carbonate or lithium oxalate demonstrated active corrosion inhibition and the formation of a protective layer in a damaged area during neutral salt spray exposure. The present paper provides an abridged overview of the initial studies into this novel inhibitor technology for the active corrosion protection of aluminum alloys. Coating defects were investigated by microscopic techniques before and after exposure to corrosive conditions. Scanning electron microscopy analysis of cross-sections of the coating defect area demonstrated that the protective layer comprises a typical three-layered structure, which included a dense layer near the alloy surface, a porous middle layer, and a flake-shaped out layer. Potentiodynamic polarization measurements obtained with a microcapillary cell positioned in the coating defect area and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy confirmed the corrosion protective properties of these protective layers. The long-term corrosion inhibition of the lithium-based coating technology was tested in industrial coating systems.
- Corrosion inhibition