Intergranular Corrosion of an Aluminum Alloy Ship Hull
Cracks occurred in a new ship hull after only three months in service. It was noted that the 5xxx series of aluminum alloys are often selected for weldability and are generally very resistant to corrosion. However, if the material has prolonged exposure at slightly elevated temperatures of 66 to 180 deg C (150 to 350 deg F), an alloy such as 5083 can become susceptible to intergranular corrosion. Investigation (visual inspection, corrosion testing, SEM images) supported the conclusion that the cracks occurred because during exposures to chloride solutions like seawater, galvanic couples formed between precipitates and the alloy matrix, leading to severe intergranular attack. No recommendations were made.