Interface strength and degradation of adhesively bonded porous aluminum oxides

Shoshan T. Abrahami, John M. M. de Kok, Visweswara Chakravarthy Gudla, Rajan Ambat, Herman Terryn, Johannes M. C. Mol

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    For more than six decades, chromic acid anodizing has been the main step in the surface treatment of aluminum for adhesivelybonded aircraft structures. Soon this process, known for producing a readily adherent oxide with an excellent corrosion resistance,will be banned by strict international environmental and health regulations. Replacing this traditional process in a high-demandingand high-risk industry such as aircraft construction requires an in-depth understanding of the underlying adhesion and degradationmechanisms at the oxide/resin interface resulting from alternative processes. The relationship between the anodizing conditions insulfuric and mixtures of sulfuric and phosphoric acid electrolytes and the formation and durability of bonding under variousenvironmental conditions was investigated. Scanning electron microscopy was used to characterize the oxide features. Selectedspecimens were studied with transmission electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to measureresin concentration within structurally different porous anodic oxide layers as a function of depth. Results show that there are twocritical morphological aspects for strong and durable bonding. First, a minimum pore size is pivotal for the formation of a stableinterface, as reflected by the initial peel strengths. Second, the increased surface roughness of the oxide/resin interface caused byextended chemical dissolution at higher temperature and higher phosphoric acid concentration is crucial to assure bond durabilityunder water ingress. There is, however, an upper limit to the beneficial amount of anodic dissolution above which bonds are pronefor corrosive degradation. Morphology is, however, not the only prerequisite for good bonding and bond performance alsodepends on the oxides’ chemical composition.
    Original languageEnglish
    Journalnpj Materials Degradation
    Issue number8
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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