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Pure Appl. Chem., 2011, Vol. 83, No. 2, pp. 295-308

Published online 2010-11-20

Resistance to localized corrosion of pure Ni, micro- and nano-SiC composite electrodeposits

Maria Lekka1*, Alex Lanzutti1, Caterina Zanella2, Gabriel Zendron2, Lorenzo Fedrizzi1 and Pier Luigi Bonora2

1 Department of Chemical Science and Technologies, University of Udine, Via del Cotonificio 108, 33100, Udine, Italy
2 Department of Materials Engineering, Laboratory of Industrial Corrosion Control, University of Trento, Via Mesiano 77, 38050, Trento, Italy

Abstract: The aim of this work was the production and characterization of composite Ni matrix electrodeposits. Pure Ni, micro- and nano-SiC Ni matrix composite deposits have been produced from a Watts’s-type electroplating bath under both direct (DC) and pulse current (PC) conditions. The obtained deposits have been characterized regarding their microstructure by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observations on both top surface and cross-section and their SiC content by energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDXS) and glow discharge optical emission spectrometry (GDOES) analyses. The resistance to localized corrosion has been evaluated by exposing the samples in a salt spray cabinet and performing visual observation as well as electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) measurements every five days. Both the use of PC and the codeposition of the nanoparticles lead to a grain refinement of the Ni matrix. The use of the PC did not influence in a significant way the resistance of the pure Ni deposits to the localized corrosion. The incorporation of micro-SiC led to a decrease of the corrosion resistance for the deposits produced under DC, while the microcomposites produced under PC presented a corrosion resistance comparable to the pure Ni deposits. The nanocomposites presented the highest corrosion resistance due to the more compact and fine-grained microstructure. EIS revealed the presence of a localized corrosion attack earlier than the visual observation, giving useful information about the failure mechanism.