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Magnesium alloys are the lightest structural metal used , extensively for engine component manufacturing considering power to weight ratio. Magnesium is also used extensively for transmission and gearbox housings. These alloys are highly susceptible to corrosion when the metal surface is exposed to the environment without a protective finish. No material shows a high corrosion resistance in all kinds of environments. The high corrosion resistance of materials always refers to some specific environments. A particular material can have a high corrosion resistance in one environment but a low corrosion resistance in another media. Magnesium alloys have their own preferred service environments. However, there are fewer media that are suitable for the magnesium alloys compared with other materials, like steel and aluminum alloys. For example, magnesium alloys are usually stable in basic solutions, but in neutral and acidic media they dissolve at high rates. This is quite different to aluminum alloys which are normally quite stable in neutral media but are unstable in both basic and acidic solutions. .

A Magnesium alloy fuel pump body bolted directly onto the cast iron cylinder block of an outward marine motor


(i). UNIFORM SURFACE CORROSION. Uniform surface corrosion is probably the most common type of corrosion. It results from a direct chemical attack on a metal surface that proceeds uniformly over the entire exposed surface The metal gradually becomes thinner and eventually fails. On a polished surface, this type of corrosion is first seen as a general dulling or etching of the surface and, if the attack is allowed to continue, the surface becomes rough and possibly frosted in appearance.


GALVANIC CORROSION Galvanic corrosion is one of the most pressing technical and economic issue that limit Mg use in engines. Mg is subject to galvanic corrosion when it is electrically connected to another metal, immersed in the same conducting liquid (electrolyte); i.e., when there is an electrochemical potential difference plus a liquid electrolyte that current can flow from one to the other. The current through the electrolyte is accomplished by a flow of ions. One of the metals dissolves in the electrolyte to provide the ions; this is called the anode.

The non-dissolving metal is the cathode. Because of its position in the galvanic series, Mg is anodic to almost all other metals. In general, the greater the electrochemical potential difference, the greater the corrosion; thus, a Mg-iron couple is more serious than a Mg-Al one. The most common source of galvanic corrosion occurs from fastening. Through the fasteners an unfavorable CathodicAnodic area ratio creates and with the consist of a large cathodic area and a small anodic area accelerate the corrosion in anode. In case of magnesium alloyed fuel pump body fitted on to the cast iron cylinder block will have larger cathodic area in to smaller anodic area which is unfavorable design. (iii). CREVICE CORROSION Crevice corrosion is one of the most familiar types of corrosion. Field experience shows that this type of corrosion may occur in any crevice where a stagnant solution has pooled. Crevices are usually located at gasket surfaces, lap joints, and under bolt or rivet heads. Crevice corrosion occurs because the environment of the local area is very different from the larger environment. As a result, the metal surfaces, even though they may be the same metal, have different activities, and corrosion occurs inside the crevice. This kind of corrosion can also occur when a surface is covered by a foreign material. PITTING CORROSION Pitting is a form of extremely localized attack that results in holes in the metal. Pits can be isolated, or so close together that they look like a rough surface. Pits are often difficult to detect because of their small size and because they may be covered with corrosion products. Pitting is usually first noticeable as a white or gray powdery deposit, similar to dust, which blotches the surface. When the deposit is cleaned away, tiny pits or holes can be seen in the surface. Most pits develop and grow downward (in the direction of gravity) from a horizontal surface. Pitting failures are commonly caused by electrolytes containing chloride or chlorine containing ions (such as seawater).



Several techniques can be implemented to minimize or eliminate galvanic corrosion; (i). (ii). Elimination of the common electrolyte Reduction of the relative area of dissimilar metal present

(iii). Reduction of the effective potential difference between the dissimilar metal and the magnesium (iv). Protective coating of the dissimilar metal and the magnesium from the common electrolyte Good design can play a vital role in reducing the threat of galvanic corrosion. Elimination of a common electrolyte may be possible by the provision of a simple drain hole or shield to prevent liquid entrapment at the dissimilar metal junction. Alternatively, the location of screws or bolts on raised bosses may also help avoid common electrolyte contact, as would use of nylon washers, spacers, or similar moisture-impermeable gaskets. The use of studs in place of bolts will reduce the area of dissimilar metal exposed by up to 50%, provided the captive ends of the studs are located in blind holes. The degree of attack resulting from galvanic corrosion is, among other things, determined by the potential difference between the metals involved. Consequently, this should be reduced to a minimum by careful material selection or the use of selected plating or coating of metals brought into contact with magnesium. As discussed above, the dissimilar metals that are relatively compatible with magnesium are the aluminum-magnesium (5000 series) alloys, which should be used for washers, shims, fasteners (rivets and special bolts), and structural members, where possible. Other aluminum alloys (with the possible exception of aluminum-magnesium-silicon, 6000 series, aluminum alloys), steels, titanium, copper brass, and others will corrode magnesium when coupled with it under corrosive conditions, and protection may be required. Use of wet-assembly techniques, will eliminate galvanic corrosion in crevices. Caulking the metal junctions will increase the electrical resistance of the galvanic couple by lengthening the electrolytic path and thus reduce the degree of attack should it occur. Vinyl tapes have also been used to separate magnesium from dissimilar metals or a common electrolyte and thus prevent galvanic attack. Finally, painting the magnesium, and more importantly, the dissimilar metal after assembly will effectively insulate the two materials externally from any common electrolyte.

Fastener selection The design of bolted connections and selection of fastener materials are critical decisions for magnesium assemblies exposed to salt water. In rare instances, the problem can be completely avoided by the use of non-metallic fasteners or insulating washers. Where strength is adequate and possibility of seizure is not a concern, fasteners made of compatible aluminum alloys (5000 series or 6000 series) can limit galvanic corrosion. In the great majority of situations, mechanical requirements and cost factors dictate the use of steel fasteners having plated or other protective coatings. However, many proprietary coatings based on zinc or aluminum powders in organic or inorganic binders prove to be completely incompatible with magnesium in salt exposure. Phosphate coatings on steel bolts do not significantly reduce galvanic corrosion of magnesium. In the category of electroplated coatings, zinc is fundamentally the most compatible with magnesium due to its position in the emf series and its polarization characteristics. Zinc-plating technology is highly developed and zinc plating is economical.