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aluminium oxide sulfuric acid, Al2O3, is a naturally occurring form of the mineral corundum, an inorganic mineral with a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale (similar to diamond). It is used for a variety of applications in industrial processes. It is an excellent abrasive, particularly for cutting tools, and is the main ingredient in many types of sandpaper.
Traditionally, aluminium oxide was anodized by the chrome-acid anodizing process, which provides good anticorrosive properties. However, this technique has a negative impact on the environment, releasing heavy metals that can be toxic and polluting. Therefore, research in this field is focused on finding new alternative techniques that can be used for the production of anodic films with a lower environmental impact.
In this study, the effect of cerium(IV) ion addition to the sulfuric-acid electrolyte on the characteristics of the anodic alumina oxide (AAO) film was investigated. The AAO film grew faster, had higher breakdown voltage, and was less susceptible to plasma-etching corrosion when 3 mM of cerium(IV) ions were added. The a-Al2O3 peak ratio was increased by 20%, and surface integrity features of the AAO film improved.
It is known that the pore size of AAO film increases after single-step anodizing [32,33]. After addition of 3 mM of cerium(IV) to the sulfuric-acid electrolyte, FE-SEM images show a self-sealing layer etched by the physicochemical reaction with CF4/Ar/O2 plasma. This coating enhances the hardness of the AAO film. The etching resistance of the AAO film was improved, and the generation of contamination particles was reduced by 50%.