The Effect of Increasing the Amount of Indium Alloying Material on the Efficiency of Sacrificial Aluminium Anodes

Materials (Basel). 2021 Apr 2;14(7):1755. doi: 10.3390/ma14071755.


Al-Zn-In alloys having 4.2% zinc content and various indium content in the range of 0.02-0.2% were tested with respect to the most important electrochemical properties of sacrificial anodes in a cathodic protection, i.e., the current capacity and potential of the operating anode. The distribution of In and Zn in the tested alloys was mapped by means of the EDX technique, which demonstrated that these elements dissolve well in the alloy matrix and are evenly distributed within it. The current capacity of such alloys was determined by means of the method of determining the mass loss during the dissolution by a current of known charge. The results obtained demonstrate that the current capacity of Al-Zn-In alloy decreases with the increase in the In content, which results in an increased consumption of anode material and shorter lifetime of anodes. With 0.02% In content, the capacity amounted to approx. 2500 Ah/kg, whereas the alloy with 0.2% In had as much as 30% lower capacity amounting to approx. 1750 Ah/kg. Microscopic examination for the morphology and surface profile of the samples after their exposure demonstrated that a higher indium content in the alloy results in a more uneven general corrosion pattern during the dissolution of such alloy, and the cavities (pits) appearing on the alloy surface are larger and deeper. As the indium content is increased from 0.02% to 0.05%, the Al-Zn-In alloy potential decreases by about 50 mV to -1100 mV vs. Ag/AgCl electrode, which is advantageous in terms of using this alloy as a sacrificial anode. When the indium content is further increased from 0.05% to 0.2%, the potential of the alloy is no longer changed to a more negative one. The results obtained from all these tests demonstrate that alloys containing up to 0.05% of In additive are practically applicable for cathodic protection.

Keywords: Al-Zn-In; aluminium galvanic anode; aluminium sacrificial anode; cathodic protection; closed circuit potential of sacrificial anode; current capacity of sacrificial anode.