Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy Study of Interfacial Defects Formed by Dissolution of Aluminum in Aqueous Sodium Hydroxide

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Hebert, Kurt
Wu, Huiquan
Gessman, Thomas
Lynn, Kelvin
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Hebert, Kurt R
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Chemical and Biological Engineering

The function of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has been to prepare students for the study and application of chemistry in industry. This focus has included preparation for employment in various industries as well as the development, design, and operation of equipment and processes within industry.Through the CBE Department, Iowa State University is nationally recognized for its initiatives in bioinformatics, biomaterials, bioproducts, metabolic/tissue engineering, multiphase computational fluid dynamics, advanced polymeric materials and nanostructured materials.

The Department of Chemical Engineering was founded in 1913 under the Department of Physics and Illuminating Engineering. From 1915 to 1931 it was jointly administered by the Divisions of Industrial Science and Engineering, and from 1931 onward it has been under the Division/College of Engineering. In 1928 it merged with Mining Engineering, and from 1973–1979 it merged with Nuclear Engineering. It became Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2005.

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1913 - present

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  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1913–1928)
  • Department of Chemical and Mining Engineering (1928–1957)
  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1957–1973, 1979–2005)
    • Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (2005–present)

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High-purity aluminum foils were examined using positron annihilation spectroscopy (PAS) after dissolution for various times in 1 M NaOH at room temperature. Measurements of the S and W shape parameters of the annihilation photopeak at 511 keV show the presence of voids of at least nanometer dimension located at the metal-oxide film interface. The large Sparameter suggests that the metallic surface of the void is free of oxide. Voids are found in as-received foils and are also produced by dissolution in NaOH, evidently by a solid-state interfacial process. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) images of NaOH-dissolved foils, after stripping the surface oxide film in chromic-phosphoric acid bath, reveal cavities on the order of 100 nm size. The average cavity depth is in quantitative agreement with the PAS-derived thickness of the interfacial void-containing layer, and the dissolution time dependence of the defect layer S parameter closely parallels that of the fractional coverage of the foil surface by cavities; thus, the cavities are believed to be interfacial voids created along with those detected by PAS. The cavity distribution on the surface closely resembles that of corrosion pits formed by anodic etching in 1 M HCl, thereby suggesting that the interfacial voids revealed by AFM serve as sites for pit initiation.


This article is from Journal of the Electrochemical Society 148 (2001): B92–B100, doi:10.1149/1.1341241. Posted with permission.

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Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2001