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Lab Looks at Vapor Corrosion on Atomic Scale

Monday, June 4, 2018

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Recent research at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, has shed some light on the atomic-level process of corrosion vis a vis water vapor, zeroing in on the role of protons in the oxidation process.

Oxidation
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

Researchers from the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, used the facility’s environmental transmission electron microscope to observe at the atomic level water vapor corrosion of a nickel-chromium alloy.

Langli Luo, Mao Su and Pengfei Yan authored the new report, published earlier this month in Nature Materials under the title “Atomic origins of water-vapour-promoted alloy oxidation.” The authors and their team used the facility’s environmental transmission electron microscope to observe at the atomic level water vapor corrosion of a nickel-chromium alloy at elevated temperatures. Under the microscope, the researchers saw “a complex dance of protons, cations and anions that led to increased corrosion and a more porous structure of the oxide,” according to EMSL.

“Protons derived from water dissociation can occupy interstitial positions in the oxide lattice, consequently lowering vacancy formation energy and decreasing the diffusion barrier of both cations and anions,” the scientists write in the abstract of the paper, “which leads to enhanced oxidation in moist environments at elevated temperatures.”

The hint at the role of protons in the oxidation process, the researchers say, could have implications in our understanding of water vapor-induced corrosion processes in general.

The research was funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division.

   

Tagged categories: Corrosion; Research and development

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