Corrosion of Aluminum Alloy 7075-T6 Wing Panel
New aircraft wing panels extruded from 7075-T6 aluminum exhibited an unusual pattern of circular black interrupted lines, which could not be removed by scouring or light sanding. The panels, subsequent to profiling and machining, were required to be penetrated inspected, shot peened, H2SO4 anodized, and coated with MIL-C-27725 integral fuel tank coating on the rib side. Scanning electron microscopy and microprobe analysis (both conventional energy-dispersive and Auger analyzers) showed that the anodic coating was applied over an improperly cleaned and contaminated surface. The expanding corrosion product had cracked and, in some places, had flaked away the anodized coating. The corrodent had penetrated the base aluminum in the form of subsurface intergranular attack to a depth of 0.035 mm (0.0014 in.). It was recommended that a vapor degreaser be used during cleaning prior to anodizing. A hot inhibited alkaline cleaner was also recommended during cleaning prior to anodizing. The panels should be dichromate sealed after anodizing. The use of deionized water was also recommended during the dichromate sealing operation. In addition, the use of an epoxy primer prior to shipment of the panels was endorsed. Most importantly, surveillance of the anodizing process itself was emphasized.