Electrodeposition of corrosion resistant zinc alloy coatings
With the increase use of de-icing salts on roads for safety, the need for improved corrosion resistance of the traditional galvanized automobile bodies has never been greater. In the present work, Zn alloy coatings (Zn-Ni and Zn-Co) were studied as an alternative to pure Zn coatings. The production of these deposits involved formulation of various acidic (pH of about 5.5) chloride based solutions. These showed anomalous deposition, that is, alloys were deposited much more easily than expected from the noble behaviour of Ni and Co metals. Coating compositions ranging from 0 to about 37% Ni and 20% Co were obtained. The chemical composition of the coatings depended very much on the electrolytes nature and operating conditions. The Ni content of deposits increased with increase in Ni bath concentration, temperature, pH and solution agitation but decreased considerably with increase in current density. The throwing power of the Zn-Ni solution deteriorated as Ni metal bath concentration increased. The Co content of deposits also increased with increase in Co bath concentration and temperature, and decreased with increase in current density. However, the addition of commercial organic additives to Zn-Co plating solutions suppressed considerably the amount of Co in the coatings. The Co content of deposits plated from Zincrolyte solution was found to be more sensitive to variation in current density than in the case of deposits plated from the alkaline Canning solution. The chromating procedures were carried out using laboratory formulated solution and commercially available ones. The deposit surface state was of great significance in influencing the formulation of conversion coatings. Bright and smooth deposits acquired an iridescent colour when treated with the laboratory formulated solution. However, the dull deposits acquired a brownish appearance. The correlation between the electrochemical test results and the neutral salt spray in marine environment was good. Non-chromated Zn-Ni coatings containing about 11-14% Ni increased in corrosion resistance compared to pure Zn. Non-chromated Zn-Co deposits of composition 4-8% were required to show a significant improvement in corrosion resistance Corrosion resistance was improved considerably by conversion coating. However, the type of conversion coating was very important. Samples treated in a laboratory solution performed badly compared to those treated in commercial solutions. Zn alloy coatings were superior to pure Zn, the Schloetter sample (13.8% Ni) had the lowest corrosion rate, followed by the Canning sample (1.0% Co) and then Zincrolyte (0.3% Co).Neither the chromium content of the conversion films nor the chromium state was found to have an effect on corrosion performance of the coatings.
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