J.M. Sánchez-Amaya, G. Blanco, F.J. Garcia-Garcia, M. Bethencourt, F.J. Botana
Surface and Coatings Technology, 213 (2012) 105–116
doi: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2012.10.027

This paper describes the deep analysis of cerium conversion coatings developed with thermal activation on AA5083 under optimum processing conditions. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electron dispersive spectroscopy (EDX), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) were employed to study these layers. Ar+ sputtering was also employed to analyse the coatings’ core. Although conversion coatings based on Ce salts have been widely characterised in the literature for different aluminium alloys, the coatings developed with thermal activation on Al–Mg alloys have not been previously investigated with these techniques. SEM/EDX studies have demonstrated the existence of a heterogeneous layer formed by a film of aluminium oxide/hydroxide on the matrix as well as a series of dispersed islands of cerium deposited on the cathodic intermetallics. These results have been further confirmed by means of XPS. The XPS and AES results revealed that the outer layer comprises a mixture coating of Ce3 + (70%) and Ce4 + (30%) compounds. Although only Ce3 + compounds were detected at the inner part of the coating, possible reduction of Ce(IV) to Ce(III) due to the Ar+ beam could not be discarded. Obtained results allowed authors to confirm that the cerium conversion coatings developed have a similar structure to those previously reported for other aluminium alloys.

XPS and AES analyses of cerium conversion coatings generated on AA5083 by thermal activation