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This article begins with a discussion on the corrosion characteristics of unalloyed magnesium and two major magnesium alloy systems. It shows the effects of iron and 13 other elements on the saltwater corrosion performance of magnesium in binary alloys with increasing levels of the individual elements. The article illustrates the effect of increasing iron, nickel, and copper contamination on the standard ASTM B 117 salt-spray performance of the die-cast AZ91 test specimens as compared to the range of performance observed for cold-rolled steel and die-cast aluminum alloy 380 samples. It discusses the effect of heat treating and cold working on the corrosion rates of the die-cast AZ91 alloy. The article concludes with a description on the causes of corrosion failures in magnesium alloys.

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