The corrosion of magnesium and of the magnesium aluminum alloys containing manganese

Boyer, J A

The extensive use of magnesium and its alloys in aircraft has been seriously handicapped by the uncertainties surrounding their resistance to corrosion. This problem has been given intense study by the American Magnesium Corporation and at the request of the Subcommittee on Materials for Aircraft of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics this report was prepared on the corrosion of magnesium. The tentative conclusions drawn from the experimental facts of this investigation are as follows: the overvoltage of pure magnesium is quite high. On immersion in salt water the metal corrodes with the liberation of hydrogen until the film of corrosion product lowers the potential to a critical value. When the potential reaches this value it no longer exceeds the theoretical hydrogen potential plus the overvoltage of the metal. Rapid corrosion consequently ceases. When aluminum is added, especially when in large amounts, the overvoltage is decreased and hydrogen plates out at a much lower potential than with pure magnesium. The addition of small amount of manganese raises the overvoltage back to practically that of pure metal, and the film is again negative.

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