The anodic dissolution behavior of sintered iron in ammoniacal ammonium carbonate solution (pH = 9.7) has been investigated with the aid of electrochemical techniques. Surface films formed on bulk iron during air exposure or immersion in the ammoniacal solution were characterized by using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Immersion in the ammoniacal solution gave an apparent open circuit potential (OCP) in the range of E = 0.04 to 0.09 V, standard hydrogen electrode (SHE); at these potentials, no dissolution of Fe was detected. Potential transients obtained during cathodic reactivation and the XPS results suggest that an air-formed oxide of Fe3O4 is responsible for this behavior. The anodic polarization behavior of sintered Fe was similar to that of bulk Fe, showing active, passive, and oxygen evolution regions. A very high current density observed in the passive region for some sintered specimens was attributable to active dissolution within the pore structure, analogous to conditions during crevice corrosion. The presence of oxygen in the solution stabilized both the passive film and the more noble apparent OCP.
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