Electrochemical behavior of tube-fin assembly for an aluminum automotive condenser with improved corrosion resistance

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Abstract

An aluminum automotive condenser was designed to exhibit high corrosion resistance in the seawater acetic acid test (SWAAT) combining zinc coated microchannel tubes and fins made with AA4343/AA3003(Zn)/AA4343 brazing sheet. Electrochemical measurements in SWAAT solution were carried out under laboratory conditions using tube-fin assembly and individual fin and tube samples withdrawn from the condenser core. The aim was to gain information on the protective role of the zinc sacrificial layer and about changes in corrosion behavior as a function of immersion time. External corrosion of the tube-fin system was simulated by immersion of mini-core samples under open circuit conditions. The corrosion rate increased rapidly during the first 6 h and slowly afterwards. The short time behavior was related to the dissolution of the oxide film and fast dissolution of the outermost part of the zinc diffusion layer. With the aid of cross-sectional depth corrosion potential profiles, it was shown that as the sacrificial layer gets dissolved, the surface concentration of zinc decreases and the potential shifts to less negative values. The results of galvanic coupling of tube and fins in a mini-cell showed that the tube became the anode while the fins exhibited cathodic behavior. An evolution in the galvanic interaction was observed, due to the progressive dissolution of the sacrificial zinc layer. The difference of uncoupled potentials between tube and fins decreased from 71 mV to 32 mV after 84 h of galvanic coupling. At the end of such period there was still a part of the zinc sacrificial layer remaining which would serve for protection of the tube material for even longer periods and there were indications of slight corrosion in the fins.

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Pech-Canul, M. A., Guía-Tello, J. C., Pech-Canul, M. I., Aguilar, J. C., Gorocica-Díaz, J. A., Arana-Guillén, R., & Puch-Bleis, J. (2017). Electrochemical behavior of tube-fin assembly for an aluminum automotive condenser with improved corrosion resistance. Results in Physics, 7, 1760–1777. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rinp.2017.05.008

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