2.5 liter V6 magnesium alloy engine block (Photo: US Department of Energy)
Corrosion chemistry with and without arsenic as cathodic poison (Image: Monash University)
Magnesium alloys are very attractive for a range of weight-sensitive applications. They have the largest strength-to-weight ratio of the common structural metals, are lighter than aluminum and are particularly favored for being easy to machine and for their ability to be die cast to net shape. Unfortunately, magnesium alloys tend to corrode too easily. A team at Monash University in Australia has now discovered a novel and potentially game-changing approach to the problem: poisoning the chemical reactions leading to corrosion of magnesium alloys by adding a dash of arsenic to the recipe.
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