Mg-rich primer (MRP) containing aluminum tri-polyphosphate functions via a galvanic mechanism to protect AZ91D alloy from corrosion in the 3 wt % NaCl solution. However, its protective performance can be strongly affected by the testing environment. Therefore, it is important to investigate the performance of the primer on magnesium alloys in an acid rain environment. In the present study, the protective performance of MRP with or without aluminum tri-polyphosphate was investigated via open circuit potential (OCP), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), scanning electronic microscopy (SEM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) in the simulated acid rain. Compared to the primer without aluminum tri-polyphosphate, the MRP containing aluminum tri-polyphosphate pigments exhibited better protective performance in the simulated acid rain condition. In the initial stage, the acidic condition prompted the aluminum tri-polyphosphate pigments to release phosphates and H+
to form magnesium phosphates on Mg particles, retarding their consumption rate. The Mg-rich primer with aluminum tri-polyphosphate can provide cathodic protection to AZ91D alloy for about 49 days in the simulated acid rain solution. Simultaneously, the corrosion products of Mg particles, magnesium oxides and phosphates, precipitated on the Mg particles and improved the stability of the primer. In addition, a protective film, consisting of magnesium oxides and phosphates, formed on the AZ91D substrate. Consequently, all these factors contributed to the long cathodic protection and improved corrosion resistance of MRP containing aluminum tri-polyphosphate in the simulated acid rain.
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