Nickel is among the most abundant components on earth. It’s hard, yet malleable, magnetic at room temperature, and a relatively good conductor of electrical energy and heat. Most notably, nickel is highly corrosion-resistant, which supplies for quite a lot of uses by industry.
However, a shocking discovery by a group of researchers at Texas A&M University has discovered that nickel not only corrodes but also does so in a way that scientist’s least anticipated.
The group was led by Dr. Michael Demkowicz, associate professor and graduate director within the Department of Engineering and Materials Science, and director of the Center for Analysis Excellence on Dynamically Deformed Solids at Texas A&M University.
Their work was revealed within the Physical Society’s journal in an article titled “Preferential Corrosion of Coherent Twin Boundaries in Pure Nickel Under Cathodic Charging.”
Like a finished jigsaw puzzle, supplies are made of interlocking items. Microscopically, nickel is made from aggregates of small, tightly packed crystals or grains.
Corrosion preferentially assaults the joints, or “boundaries,” between these grains. This phenomenon, often known as intergranular corrosion, is a localized type of decay that happens at the microscopic level, focusing on the breakdown of materials at the edges of each of those boundaries, rather than at the outer surface. As such, it weakens the material from the inside-out.
Until now, scientists thought that one special kind of boundary, referred to as a coherent twin boundary, was resistant to corrosion. Surprisingly, the group found that almost all the corrosion in their experiments occurred exactly on these boundaries.