Corrosion of a Laser Mirror
A failed laser mirror and another complete mirror of the same construction were analyzed. The laser mirror consisted of three layers of material brazed together to form channels through which the cooling water flows. Samples were analyzed with light optical and scanning electron microscopy. The corrosion product contained molybdenum and copper with a trace of gold. The base material was analyzed as molybdenum with negligible alloying additions. The primary mode of corrosion attack on the base material appeared to be intergranular, although uniform corrosion was evident also. It was concluded that corrosion attack sufficiently weakened the base material and the brazed joints, allowing catastrophic failure of the mirror due to the pressure of the cooling water. It was recommended that the mirrors be cleaned of all corrosion products present as a result of past service conditions and proof tested. It was recommended that the water system consisting of deionized water and formaldehyde be replaced with water having a low oxygen content and a cathodic inhibitor (oxygen scavenger).