Depth Profiling at a Steel-aluminum Interface Using Slow-flow Direct Current Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry

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    Direct current glow discharge mass spectrometry (dc-GDMS), which relies on sector field mass analyzers, is not commonly used for depth profiling applications because of its slow data acquisition. Nevertheless, dc-GDMS has good reproducibility and low limits of detection, which are analytical features that are encouraging for investigating the potential of dc-GDMS for depth profiling applications. In this work, the diffusion of traces of chromium and nickel was profiled at the interface of a steel-aluminum bilayer using a new sensitive dc-GDMS instrument. The depth profile of the non-treated sample was compared with that of a heat-treated specimen at 400°C for 30 min. Scanning electron micrographs, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) were used to study the diffusion process. The results of the study show that both chromium and nickel are enriched at the steel-aluminum interface, with higher concentrations of both elements for the heat-treated specimen. Two peaks for both chromium and nickel were clearly present at the interface, with a high concentration of chromium in the aluminum layer. This observation is likely a consequence of elemental diffusion from the interface towards the aluminum layer. The presence of the third layer, steel beneath the aluminum layer, might also have contributed to this observation.

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  • Online: December 04,2021
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