The study on corrosion of Pb–Sn–Sb alloys in soil

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Abstract

The paper studies corrosion of selected Pb-Sn-Sb alloys in soil. Corrosion tests were proposed and performed based on the survey of the mechanism of corrosion of archaeological objects – letter types. The composition of tested lead alloys corresponds to the phases in structures of alloys the original types were made from. Three types of soil with different pH were selected as the corrosion environment and one of the set of specimens was exposed additionally to acetic acid vapours to monitor the impact of volatile organic compounds. The results were compared with similar corrosion tests performed at the University of Antwerp. The results implied that it was predominantly the character of the microstructure the lead alloys form that affects corrosion of Pb–Sn–Sb alloys. Intermetallic phases SnSb are formed within the lead matrix, the average composition of which corresponds to 55 % of Sn and 45 % of Sb. The SnSb phase is very hard and resistant; a corrosion microcell is formed when in contact with the matrix, with the lead matrix being preferentially susceptible to corrosion. The content of antimony and tin in the alloy affects formation and the quantity of the SnSb phase.

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