Numerical investigation of micro-galvanic corrosion in Mg alloys: Role of the cathodic intermetallic phase size and spatial distributions
Magnesium alloys are of increasing interest in structural applications due to their low-density, moderate specific strength and stiffness, recyclability, and high damping among other properties. However, the wide-scale applicability of magnesium alloys in structural applications has been limited due to many factors including its poor corrosion resistance. In this work, a numerical investigation to simulate the micro-galvanic corrosion behavior was performed to examine the influence of size and distribution of cathodic intermetallic phase (ß-Mg17Al12) in a Mg matrix. The ratio of cathodic to anodic surface area was kept constant in each simulation condition to understand the effect of size and spacing distributions. In general, fragmentation of a larger intermetallic particle into smaller ones was found to enhance the localized current density. However, the uniform distribution of this small intermetallic phase throughout the matrix was found to reduce the overall dissolution current density and hence, pitting corrosion severity.