Protective ability of hybrid nano-composite coatings with cerium sulphate as inhibitor against corrosion of AA2024 aluminium alloy

The corrosion protective ability of hybrid oxy silane nano-composite coatings deposited on AA2024 by sol-gel technique was studied. The coatings are developed as an environmentally friendly alternative of the toxic chromium containing coatings on aluminium. A cerium salt, Ce2(SO4)3, was used as inhibitor of the corrosion process. Two methods were applied to introduce the salt in the hybrid matrix: directly in the matrix, or by porous Al2O3nano-particles preliminary loaded by the salt. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to evaluate the superficial morphology of the coatings, while their layer structure was studied by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Linear voltammetry (LVA) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) were used for assessment of the barrier ability. The hybrid matrix was found to possess remarkable barrier ability which was preserved even after prolonged exposure of the coatings to a model corrosive medium of 0.05 M NaCl. In all cases, the cerium salt involved either directly or by Al2O3nano-particles proved to deteriorate the protective properties of the coatings and to accelerate pitting nucleation. The experimental results have shown that cerium sulphate, introduced in the by the both manners in the hybrid matrix did not efficiently inhibit the corrosion of AA2024, unlike the reported inhibiting properties of other cerium salts.