Team Gonzalez-Garcia

The section Localised Corrosion and Electrochemistry has two main research lines. The first focuses on studying the relation between the microstructure of metals and corrosion properties. The second research line focuses on the micro electrochemical characterisation of materials for diverse applications such as energy storage, art heritage and biomaterials. The application of high-resolution electrochemical methods (based on micro- and nano-sensors) connects both research lines.    

In general, the design of metal alloys is primarily based on controlling the mechanical properties by the adequate grain size, dislocation density, phase fractions and size distributions of strengthening precipitates. Corrosion performance is usually only considered in the final product at the latest stage.

This is because the microstructure design of strength is possible based on established and well-known quantitative relations between microstructure and mechanical behaviour. However, the relations between microstructure and corrosion behaviour are still largely unrevealed. This research line focuses on helping to understand why a particular metal is susceptible to corrosion attack and the relation with its microstructure. The main ambition is to understand and quantify the correlation between (localised) corrosion and microstructural features such as grain size distribution, phase composition, inclusions and intermetallics distribution.

Advanced electrochemical techniques are applied with sub-micrometre range resolution to obtain a direct correlation between microstructural features and corrosion properties.

New experimental routes are implemented and explored to provide more understanding of the corrosion failure of metal alloys (eg. steel, aluminium, titanium), as well as the triggering factor(s) involved in its initiation. In this research area, the synergy between different disciplines is required: metallurgy, surface analysis and corrosion-electrochemistry.

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The focus is investigating materials in a broader range of applications of relevance for society and industry where electrochemical processes play an essential role. For this purpose, we expand the application of micro-electrochemical approaches for interfacial processes found
in research areas such as electro-catalysis, corrosion protection methods, and art restoration and conservation. Our team has expertise in localised electrochemical techniques such as Scanning Electrochemical Microscope (SECM), Scanning Vibrating Electrode Technique (SVET), electrochemical micro-capillary cell and Kelvin-probe Atomic Force Microscope (SKPFM).

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