In the present work, TiC/TiB2
/Al composite coatings were synthesized onto a precipitation hardened AlSi1MgMn alloy by laser surface alloying (LSA), using 13.3 J/mm2
and 20 J/mm2
laser energy densities. Microstructure evaluation, microhardness, wear and corrosion performance were investigated and compared with the untreated/substrate Al alloy sample. The results confirmed sound, compact, crackles composite coating of low porosity, with a proper surface/substrate interface. Microstructural analyses revealed the formation of extremely fine nano-precipitates, ranging from of 50–250 nm in the laser melted (LMZ) and large precipitates, accompanied with grain coarsening in the heat-affected zone (HAZ), due to the substrate overheating during the LSA process. Nonetheless, both coatings achieved higher microhardness, with almost 7-times higher wear resistance than the untreated sample as a consequence of high fraction volume of hard, wear resistant TiB2
and TiC phases inside the composite coatings. Further, cyclic polarization results in 0.5 M NaCl aqueous solution confirmed general improvement of corrosion resistance after LSA processed samples, with reduced corrosion current by more than a factor of 9, enhanced passivation/repassivation ability and complete prohibition of crystallographic pitting, which was detected with the untreated Al alloy.
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