Impact of the final thermal sealing of combined zinc/cerium oxide protective coating primers formed on low carbon steel

Original scientific paper

  • Stephan V. Kozhukharov LAMAR Laboratory for Advanced Materials Research, University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy – Sofia
  • Christian Girginov Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Nelly Boshkova Institute of Physical Chemistry – Bulgarian Academy of Science, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Alexandar Tzanev Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry – Bulgarian Academy of Science, Sofia, Bulgaria
Keywords: Zn-galvanization, cerium oxide primer layers (CeOPL), thermal sealing, barrier properties, surface analysis
Graphical Abstract


The final sealing possesses a proven beneficial effect on the protective properties of anodic oxide films on aluminum. In this sense, the present research is devoted to the evaluation of the impact of this procedure on the barrier ability of combined Zn/Ce oxide layers deposited on low carbon steel samples. For this purpose, four samples were submitted to galvanic zinc deposition, followed by spontaneous formation of cerium oxide primer layer (CeOPL). Afterwards, two of the samples underwent thermal sealing in boiling water in order to enhance their barrier ability. Its evaluation was performed by two electrochemical methods: electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and potentiodynamic scanning (PDS) after 24 hours of exposure to a diluted model corrosive medium (MCM). Other instrumental methods were used in order to describe the effect of this final procedure on the color characteristics and hydrophobicity of the films. The results were collected from multiple tests, followed by statistical data treatment. In addition, the surfaces of the obtained films were submitted to direct observation by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), coupled with energy dispersion X-ray (EDX). Their composition was determined by means of X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). The acquired data have revealed a detrimental effect of the final sealing in boiling water. It was expressed by the loss of the barrier properties of the Zn/CeOPL films, combined with additional decolorization and hydrophilization. Finally, the mechanism of this detrimental effect was determined by further SEM, EDX and XPS analyses.


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