Scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) is employed to characterize the evolution of local electrochemical surface activity during lithium-based conversion layer formation on legacy aerospace aluminium alloy AA2024-T3. Initially, three types of studied intermetallic particles - S-, θ- and constituent phases - act as active cathodic areas. Subsequently, θ- and constituent phases show passivation preceding that of S-phase particles during the later conversion layer formation stages. The entire surface, including the matrix region, shows a higher reactivity at the beginning and then gradually shows decreasing reactivity. Hydrogen evolution-generated bubbles attach to the alloy surface and locally hinder the conversion layer formation, weakening the corrosion protection the conversion layer provides at those locations.
- Aluminium alloy
- Lithium-based conversion layer