On the Existence of Our Metals-Based Civilization: I. Phase Space Analysis

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The stability of the barrier layers of bilayer passive films that form on metal and alloy surfaces, when in contact with oxidizing aqueous environments, is explored within the framework of the Point Defect Model (PDM) using phase-space analysis (PSA), in which the rate of growth of the barrier layer into the metal, (dL{sup +}/dt), and the barrier layer dissolution rate, (dL{sup -}/dt), are plotted simultaneously against the barrier layer thickness. A point of intersection of dL{sup -}/dt with dL{sup +}/dt indicates the existence of a metastable barrier layer with a steady state thickness greater than zero. If dL{sup -}/dt > ... continued below

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Macdonald, D.D. June 22, 2005.

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The stability of the barrier layers of bilayer passive films that form on metal and alloy surfaces, when in contact with oxidizing aqueous environments, is explored within the framework of the Point Defect Model (PDM) using phase-space analysis (PSA), in which the rate of growth of the barrier layer into the metal, (dL{sup +}/dt), and the barrier layer dissolution rate, (dL{sup -}/dt), are plotted simultaneously against the barrier layer thickness. A point of intersection of dL{sup -}/dt with dL{sup +}/dt indicates the existence of a metastable barrier layer with a steady state thickness greater than zero. If dL{sup -}/dt > (dL{sup +}/dt){sub L=0}, where the latter quantity is the barrier layer growth rate at zero barrier layer thickness, the barrier layer cannot exist, even as a metastable phase, as the resulting thickness would be negative. Under these conditions, the surface is depassivated and the metal may corrode at a rapid rate. Depassivation may result from a change in the oxidation state of the cation upon dissolution of the barrier layer, such that the dissolution rate becomes highly potential dependent (as in the case of transpassive dissolution of chromium-containing alloys, for example, in which the reaction Cr{sub 2}O{sub 3} + 5H{sub 2}O {yields} 2CrO{sub 4}{sup 2-} + 10H {sup +} + 6e{sup -} results in the destruction of the film), or by the action of some solution-phase species (e.g., H{sup +}, Cl{sup -}) that enhances the dissolution rate to the extent that dL{sup -}/dt > (dL{sup +}/dt){sub L=0}. The boundaries for depassivation may be plotted in potential-pH space to develop Kinetic Stability Diagrams (KSDs) as alternatives to the classical Pourbaix diagrams for describing the conditions under which metals or alloys exist in contact with an aqueous environment. The advantage of KSDs is that they provide kinetic descriptions of the state of a metal or alloy that is in much closer concert with the kinetic phenomenon of passivity and depassivation than are equilibrium thermodynamic diagrams. Thus, KSDs more accurately account for the limits of passivity in highly acidic systems, where acid depassivation occurs, and at high potentials, where transition to the transpassive state may occur in some systems. In any event, phase space analysis of the PDM permits specification of the conditions over which reactive metals will remain passive in contact with aqueous systems and hence of the conditions that must be met for the existence of our metals-based civilization.

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  • Report No.: NA
  • Grant Number: NA
  • DOI: 10.2172/859069 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 859069
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc788631

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  • June 22, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Feb. 10, 2016, 5:42 p.m.

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Macdonald, D.D. On the Existence of Our Metals-Based Civilization: I. Phase Space Analysis, report, June 22, 2005; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc788631/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.