This work utilized synchrotron spectroscopic techniques such as extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS), X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) and synchrotron infrared microspectroscopy (SIRMS) to understand the chemistry, formation, structure and aging of protective chromate conversion coatings (CCC). We shall discuss issues related CCC formed on aluminum-copper alloys. SIRMS combined with argon ion sputtering demonstrated spatial and depth chemical variations of the CCC formed on AA2024-T3. XANES indicated that in the first stages of CCC formation the thickness depends on the Cu content of the substrate and that thinner CCC appears to contain less Cr6+for protection. Micro-XANES shows that even monolayer coverage of chromate can protect the alloy surface. EXAFS and XANES measurements were used to monitor the structural changes of the CCC with time. It was observed that a slight decrease in the Cr(VI)-Cr(III) ratio occurred during the first 24 h following coating. The structure of the CCC is in close agreement with a Cr mixed oxide. EXAFS data appeared to indicate an increase in ordering in the CCC structure with time. © 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
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