Electrochemical depth profiling of multilayer metallic structures: An aluminum brazing sheet

F. Norouzi Afshar, R. Ambat, C. Kwakernaak, J.H.W. de Wit, J.M.C. Mol, H. Terryn

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Combinatory localized electrochemical cell and glow discharge optical emission spectrometry (GDOES) measurements were performed to obtain a thorough in depth electrochemical characterization of an aluminum brazing sheet. By defining electrochemical criteria i.e. breakdown potential, corrosion potential, cathodic and anodic reactivities, and tracking their changes as a function of depth, the evolution of electrochemical responses through out the material thickness were analyzed and correlated to the corresponding microstructural features. Polarization curves in 1wt% NaCl solution at pH 2.8 were obtained at different depths from the surface using controlled sputtering in a glow discharge optical emission spectrometer as a sample preparation technique. The anodic and cathodic reactivity of the top surface areas were significantly higher than that of the bulk, thus indicating these areas to be more susceptible to localized attack. Consistent with this, optical microscopy and scanning electron microscope analysis revealed a relatively high density of fine intermetallic and silicon particles at these areas. The corrosion mechanism of the top layers was identified to be intergranular and pitting corrosion, while lower sensitivity to these localized attacks were detected toward the brazing sheet core. The results highlight the successful application of the electrochemical depth profiling approach in prediction of the corrosion behavior of the aluminum brazing sheet and the importance of the electrochemical activity of the outer 10μm in controlling the corrosion performance of the aluminum brazing sheet.
Original languageEnglish
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Pages (from-to)285-293
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Micro-capillary-cell
  • Brazing sheet
  • Corrosion-potential profile

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