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Bronze artifacts are generally covered with green or blue coloured corrosion products called patina, which not only enhances the good appearance of the bronze, but also helps to protect it. Because of the increased air pollution and acid rain the large collection of statues and works of art made from bronze exposed in the urban environment could be damaged. The increase of air pollution damages also archaeological bronze objects exposed or stored in a museum. This is why it is necessary to find ways to improve the protection that the patina gives to bronze. In order to preserve metal works from the aggressive atmosphere, organic inhibitors are often employed. The inhibiting effects of two imidazole derivatives (4-methyl-1-phenylimidazole and 4-methyl-1-(p-tolyl)imidazole) on artificial patina were examined. The results of these investigations have shown that both inhibitors studied improve the protective properties of bronze patina in simulated urban acid rains.
Corrosion Protection of Synthetic Bronze Patina
K. Marušiæ+, H. Otmaèiæ-Æurkoviæ, H. Takenouti,* A. D. Mance, and E. Stupnišek-Lisac
Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology, University of Zagreb, Croatia,,,
*Laboratoire Interfaces et Systèmes Electrochimiques (LISE), CNRS,
Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
Bronze artifacts are generally covered with green or blue coloured corrosion prod-
ucts called patina, which not only enhances the good appearance of the bronze, but also
helps to protect it. Because of the increased air pollution and acid rain the large collec-
tion of statues and works of art made from bronze exposed in the urban environment
could be damaged. The increase of air pollution damages also archaeological bronze ob-
jects exposed or stored in a museum. This is why it is necessary to find ways to improve
the protection that the patina gives to bronze. In order to preserve metal works from the
aggressive atmosphere, organic inhibitors are often employed. The inhibiting effects of
two imidazole derivatives (4-methyl-1-phenylimidazole and 4-methyl-1-(p-tolyl)imidazole)
on artificial patina were examined. The results of these investigations have shown that
both inhibitors studied improve the protective properties of bronze patina in simulated
urban acid rains.
Key words:
Archeological artefact, imidazole, artificial patina, electrochemical impedance spectro-
scopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy
When exposed to their environment, bronze
objects, undergo a corrosion process, leading to the
formation of a protective layer of corrosion prod-
ucts on their surface.1This kind of patina is called
natural patina and it forms spontaneously. Depend-
ing on the environment it is exposed to, the patina
has a specific structure.2The second type of patina
is synthetic or artificial patina with defined chemi-
cal composition that can be formed in the labora-
tory allowing appropriate accelerated surface treat-
ment of bronze.3,4
Synthetic patina with a similar composition as
the natural patina is used for the present investiga-
tions. There are two electrochemical methods for
making artificial patina; potentiostatic (under po-
tential control) and galvanostatic (under current
regulation). The patina formation was carried out in
a sulphate/carbonate solution to mimic an urban at-
mospheric conditions.
Because of an increase of air pollution leading
to acid rainfall, the bronze and patina in urban at-
mospheres are being destroyed. Therefore, a similar
solution to the patina formation medium, but acidi-
fied to pH 5, is used for the corrosion test solution
corresponding to acid rain in an urban zone. Previ-
ous investigations5–11 have shown that the environ-
mentally friendly imidazole derivatives are good
copper corrosion inhibitors in different media. It is
reasonable to expect then that these compounds are
also valid for other bronzes, if they showed a
marked protective effect for these two different
copper alloys
Experimental conditions
To obtain a representative patina in a short pe-
riod, the patina was synthesised by two different
electrochemical methods, on two different bronzes:
Cu-8Sn-14Pb (B66 bronze) and Cu-6Sn. The com-
position of these alloys is given in Table 1.
The concentration was normalized so that the
sum of the all elements analyzed by EDS (Energy
dispersive X-ray spectroscopy) is 100 %. This is
also the case for all other EDS results.
K. MARUŠIÆ et al., Corrosion Protection of Synthetic Bronze Patina, Chem. Biochem. Eng. Q. 21 (1) 71–76 (2007) 71
+Corresponding author
Original scientific paper
Received: October 15, 2006
Accepted: December 13, 2006
Table 1 Composition of the B66 and Cu-6Sn bronze in
atomic %
Sn Pb Ni Zn Fe Sb P Cu
B66 7.91 13.60 0.59 0.52 0.22 0.15 0.02 76.99
Cu-6Sn 6.10 0.01 00.10 0.02 00.11 93.66
The concentration normalized to 100 % for the total of elements an-
Cu-6Sn bronze was the composition represen-
tative of the Transylvanian archaeological patina of
the last Neolithic to Roman period.12 Bronze B66
containing lead as an alloy element is, in contrast,
selected as the representative of bronze coins found
in Morocco for the Post-Roman era.13 Therefore,
the composition of two bronzes correspond to that
of the cultural heritage, rather than bronze statues
exposed in the urban area. The aim of this paper is
to discover whether the anticorrosion effect of
imidazole compounds used are valid for two differ-
ent compositions, one a Cu-Sn binary alloy and the
other Cu-Sn-Pb ternary alloy.
Patina was synthesized, on both bronzes, in
an aerated solution composed of g=0.2gL
–1 NaHCO3at 30 °C. The pH of
this solution, as prepared was ca 8.5. This solution is
expected to produce a patina characteristic for the ur-
ban environment. The SO42– ions are one of the main
pollutants in urban atmosphere due to the industrial
activity and the car exhaust emission.
Patina on the B66 bronze (Pb containing the
bronze above) was synthesised during 24 h under a
constant anodic current density j=30mAcm
The patina on the Cu-6Sn bronze was synthe-
sised under potential regulation:
– During 60 s at – 0.2 V vs. to the initial open
circuit potential, that varies substantially from one
specimen to another.
– The potential of the open circuit becomes re-
producible and is equal to – 0.05V vs. SCE.
– Patina formation during the next 48 h at 0.09
V vs. SCE.
– Second step patina formation during another
48 h at 0.07 V vs. SCE.
This procedure introduced later in the present
work, though more complicated than the current
regulation method, allowed patina formation of six
electrodes simultaneously. The first step is intro-
duced for two reasons; to increase the reproducibi-
lity and to avoid the formation of pits at the elec-
trode surface. This step allows the reduction of a
native oxide layer, formed during the time separat-
ing between the moment when the electrode was
polished, and the time when it was dipped into the
patina formation solution. The overall current den-
sity is lower, compared to the patina formation at a
constant current. Consequently, so is the thickness
of the patina layer for the same polarization period.
A slow patina formation allowed, in contrast, the
structure closer to the natural patina.14 This process
is therefore well adapted to compare the inhibiting
effect of a few compounds simultaneously.
The morphology and crystallographic structure
of artificially obtained patina were examined with
Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and X-ray
Elemental Energy Dispersion Spectroscopy (EDS)
analyses. SEM studies were performed with a Leica
Stereoscan 440 coupled with EDS elemental
semi-quantitative analyses (Princeton Gamma-Tech,
Inc.) at 20 keV.
The protective characteristics of patinated
bronze with and without the presence of inhibitors
were investigated by electrochemical impedance
spectroscopy (EIS). Measurements were performed
using EG&G potentiostat/galvanostat Model 263A
and Frequency Response Detector 1025 that were
controlled with Power-Sine software. The EIS mea-
surements were carried out in g= 0.2 g L–1 Na2SO4
+g= 0.2 g L–1 NaHCO3acidified to pH 5 by addi-
tion of a dilute sulphuric acid at room temperature
without regulation. The corrosion test solution is at
the thermodynamic equilibrium to ambient air.
The investigated corrosion inhibitors were:
4-methyl-1-phenylimidazole (PMI at concentration
c= 5 mmol L–1) and 4-methyl-1-(p-tolyl)imidazole
(TMI at c=1 mmol L–1). The inhibitor concentra-
tion was selected according to our former work on
the copper electrode for Cu-Sn-Pb alloy.10–11
Results and discussion
SEM observation and EDS analyses
The artificial patina formed by electrochemical
synthesis was dried at room temperature and ob-
served by SEM.
Fig. 1 and 2 show the structure of patina on the
surface of B66 and Cu-6Sn bronze. The SEM pic-
tures show different structures of patina layers. The
B66 bronze has three layers (Fig. 1, point 1, 2, 3).
EDS analyses were carried out on these layers and
the results are summarized in Table 2.
72 K. MARUŠIÆ et al., Corrosion Protection of Synthetic Bronze Patina, Chem. Biochem. Eng. Q. 21 (1) 71–76 (2007)
Fig. 1 SEM image of the B66 bronze covered with a syn-
thetic patina formed by galvanostatic method
The outer layer of the B66 bronze patina
(Point 1. in Fig.1.) is rich in copper (33 %) and
oxygen (64 %) and contains some quantity of
sulphur (3 %) while the content of tin is negligi-
ble. The carbon-content was clearly observed, but
not analysed because the EDS is insufficiently
accurate for this element. Copper is soluble and
by dissolution – precipitation mechanism, it
forms patina with granular structure (point 1 in
Fig. 1) which consists of (Cu4(OH)6SO4) and
Cu2(CO3)(OH)2. This interpretation is essentially
supported by the Raman spectroscopy analyses re-
ported elsewhere.4,17
The intermediate layer (point 2. in Fig.1.) is
also rich in copper and oxygen but has a very dif-
ferent, smooth structure which indicates that the in-
termediate layer contains cuprite (Cu2O), character-
ized by a reddish colour.
The composition of the inner layer (point 3. in
Fig.1.) shows an enrichment in tin (12 %) and de-
crease in copper content (26 %). It is important to
note that the selective dissolution of copper from
the bronze matrix is one of the main features of
bronze corrosion and patina formation. This process
is known as decuprification. This is the same pro-
cess found on newly patinated bronze as well as on
archaeological bronzes2.
The Cu-6Sn bronze also has three layers
(Fig. 2, points 1, 2, and 3). EDS analyses were
also carried out on these layers of the Cu-6Sn
bronze patina and they are summarized in the Ta-
ble 2.
Layer 1 on the Cu-6Sn bronze (Point 1 on Fig.
2) contains a significant amount of oxygen (79 %)
and a small amount of sulphur (0.5 %). This means
that this layer is formed of copper-oxide, with a
small amount of copper-sulphate.
The crystalline structure that can be observed on
the SEM picture as layer 2 (point 2, Fig. 2) contains
a greater amount of copper (36 %) and sulphur (1.
%) than layer 1. Thus, it can be assumed that in this
part of the bronze copper-sulphate crystals are the
main corrosion product (Fig. 2). This layer is rough,
and probably the laser beam collected also the inner
layer formed essentially copper oxide. But, the col-
our of this part is in favour of copper salt.
Layer 3 (point 3, Fig. 2) contains mostly cop-
per (52 %) and oxygen (48 %) which form cop-
per-oxyde (Cu2O) (Fig. 4) like the intermediary
layer on the B66 bronze. It is not completely ex-
cluded that there is an inner most layer rich in tin
oxide, but we did not succeed in reaching this stra-
EIS measurements
Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS)
was applied on both bronzes covered with artificial
patina in order to investigate the protective effect of
two imidazole derivatives; 4-methyl-1-phenylimi-
dazole (PMI) and 4-methyl-1-(p-tolyl)imidazole
(TMI). After the impedance measurements in the
sulphate/carbonate solution, the electrodes were im-
mersed in the sulphate / carbonate solution contain-
ing one of the studied inhibitors. The influence of
PMI on the EIS spectra on the bronze B66 covered
with patina is presented in Fig. 3a and that of TMI
in Fig. 3b. Fig. 4a illustrates the effect of PMI on
the Cu-6Sn bronze with artificial patina and Fig. 4b
that of TMI. These spectra were collected after one
hour of immersion in the corrosion test solution.
First, the EIS was collected in the solution without
inhibitor, then with the inhibitor added to the corro-
sion test solution.
K. MARUŠIÆ et al., Corrosion Protection of Synthetic Bronze Patina, Chem. Biochem. Eng. Q. 21 (1) 71–76 (2007) 73
Table 2 The elemental composition in atomic % of the
B66 and Cu-6Sn bronze patinas at three different
Position Cu S O Sn
B66 bronze
1 33.1 2.6 64.2 0.1
2 35.2 1.5 63.2 0.1
3 26.4 2.9 57.8 12.9
1 20.1 0.5 79.4 0
2 35.6 1.1 63.3 0
3 51.6 0.1 47.9 0.4
Fig. 2 SEM image of the Cu-6Sn bronze covered with ar-
tificial patina formed under potential regulation
Though not clearly seen for many diagrams,
there are three capacitive loops involved in the imped-
ance spectra. Therefore, the equivalent electrical cir-
cuit depicted in Fig. 5 was used to carry out the pa-
rameters fitting with a simplex method.
The Rf-Cfcircuit, the contribution of which
will be revealed in the high frequency domain, cor-
responds to the capacitance and resistance of the
surface film, likely the oxide layer which is too thin
to be observed by SEM picture. The Cfis related to
the dielectric property of this layer whereas Rfde-
notes an ionic leakage through this layer. The me-
dium frequency circuit Rt-Cdcorresponds to the
charge transfer resistance and the double layer ca-
pacitance. The low frequency loop represented by
the RF-CFcircuit is allocated to faradic resistance
and faradic capacitance,12 implying the patina layer
and eventually oxidation – reduction reaction in-
duced by the dissolved oxygen.
Table 3 summarizes the results of the regres-
sion calculation.
The results relative to the blank test, that is the
EIS measured before addition of the inhibitor scat-
tered significantly. This phenomenon was explained
by the formation of a native oxide layer between
the moment when the patina formation was made,
and the effect of imidazole compounds was evalu-
ated.12 When recorded successively the impedance
spectra in the corrosion test solution without inhibi-
tor, the low frequency limit of the impedance de-
creased at the initial period corresponding to the
dissolution of the native oxide layer, then increased
with time corresponding to the formation of another
oxide layer at the bronze surface.
The value of Cfis located between 0.1 and
–2, which is in agreement with the forma-
tion of a thin surface film. This capacitance may
correspond likely to the oxide film located between
the substrate bronze and the patina layer. In this hy-
pothesis, the permittivity of many oxides is close to
10, and then if the model of planer capacitance is
applied, the thickness of the oxide film is evaluated
to be d= 10 to 100 nm. This value validates the hy-
pothesis on the origin of the high frequency capaci-
tive loop. In the solution containing the PMI, Rfof
the B66 bronze with patina layer is much higher
than in the uninhibited solution (Sample 1). Also,
the increase of Cfis observed which is in agreement
74 K. MARUŠIÆ et al., Corrosion Protection of Synthetic Bronze Patina, Chem. Biochem. Eng. Q. 21 (1) 71–76 (2007)
Fig. 4EIS spectra of the patinated Cu-6Sn bronze in sul-
phate/carbonate solution a) with and without the addition of
5 mmol L–1 PMI; b) with and without the addition of 1 mmol
Fig. 3EIS spectra of the B66 bronze covered with an arti-
ficial patina in sulphate/carbonate solution a) with and without
the addition of 5 mmol L–1 PMI; b) with and without the addi-
tion of 1 mmol L–1 TMI
Fig. 5 Equivalent circuit used for fitting EIS data
with the transformation of the surface film to a new
and a thin protective oxide layer. In contrast, Rfand
Cfof the B66 sample immersed in the TMI contain-
ing the solution are similar to those observed in the
uninhibited solution. The TMI modifies little the
oxide layer. Rtvalue in both studied corrosion in-
hibitors is much higher than that in the uninhibited
solution. That is, these compounds hinder markedly
the corrosion kinetics.
The RF-CFloop corresponds, as mentioned
above, to a redox process involving corrosion prod-
ucts or dissolved oxygen. From the data in Table 3,
it can be seen that this process is slowed down in
the presence of both inhibitors. The formation of a
complex with the patina and the inhibitor may sta-
bilize the patina layer. This is an interesting feature
since the imidazole not only hinders the corrosion
rate of the substrate bronze, but also slows down
the degradation of the patina layer with time.
For Cu-6Sn bronze, the addition of both PMI
and TMI modify scarcely the value Rfand Cf.
Therefore, these molecules do not modify substan-
tially the surface oxide film. In contrast, Rtin-
creases significantly in the presence of both sub-
stances, therefore they slow down dramatically the
corrosion process. This is also true for RF. In other
words, PMI and TMI allow first the inhibition of
bronze corrosion and second the stabilization of the
patina layer leading to the protection of the sub-
strate bronze.
Figure 6 illustrates, for example, the time
change of the impedance spectrum of B66 bronze
covered with artificial patina in the corrosion test
solution containing 1mmol L–1 TMI. A marked de-
crease of the low frequency limit of the impedance,
polarization resistance, can be noticed. Beyond this
initial change, the polarization resistance increased
continuously up to a couple of weeks. At the third
week of immersion, a slight decrease of this resis-
tance was observed. That is, the inhibiting effect of
this compound improves slowly with time. A final
decrease of the polarisation resistance may be ex-
plained by the roughening of the electrode surface.
It is important to note that a slow increase of inhib-
iting effect was observed in all four cases examined
in this study.
Both imidazoles examined in this study
showed an inhibiting effect for Cu-8Sn-14Pb ter-
nary bronze and Cu-6Sn binary bronze covered
with artificial patina. The corrosion test in the urban
K. MARUŠIÆ et al., Corrosion Protection of Synthetic Bronze Patina, Chem. Biochem. Eng. Q. 21 (1) 71–76 (2007) 75
Table 3 EIS data of the bronze electrodes covered with artificial patina in sulphate / carbonate solution with and without addi-
tion of the inhibitors examined
Bronze B66 Cu-6Sn
Sample Blank PMI Blank TMI Blank PMI Blank TMI
Rf,kWcm20.613 9.29 2.11 2.11 5.66 3.92 7.27 4.60
–2 0.11 0.81 0.12 0.13 0.05 0.07 0.07 0.04
nf0.63 0.70 0.73 0.74 0.80 0.75 0.69 0.71
Rt,kWcm23.0 5.2 28.0 30.9 8.2 35.1 5.3 23.5
Cd, mF cm–2 221 24 60 19 0.7 5.6 1.0 3.2
nd0.59 0.50 0.59 0.67 0.52 0.53 0.61 0.52
RF,kWcm21.9 10.6 2.9 25.0 22.1 33.5 16.5 18.6
–2 41 0.49 4.5 0.51 0.36 0.36 0.38 0.62
nF0.97 0.51 0.92 0.80 0.50 0.51 0.53 0.58
Blank: Data from the EIS determined before inhibitor addition in the solution.
Fig. 6 Time evolution of the impedance spectrum in the
corrosion test solution containing 1 mmol L–1 TMI
atmosphere with artists’ bronze was not carried out,
but the experimental method used in this work will
allow a preliminary selection of inhibitors expected
to be efficient towards the corrosion of bronze in-
duced by acid rain.
– Artificial patina was formed electrochemi-
cally on bronzes Cu-8Sn-14Pb (B66) under con-
stant current regulation, and Cu-6Sn under three
step potential regulation in aerated sulphate/carbon-
ate solution which simulates the formation of patina
in urban atmosphere.
– The results obtained by SEM and EDS analy-
ses have shown that patina consists of three layers
of different textures on both bronzes. On the B66
bronze the outer layer (1) is turquoise blue of
granular structure that consists of brochantite
(Cu4(OH)6SO4) and of malachite Cu2(CO3)(OH)2.
The intermediate layer (2) is rich in copper as well
as oxygen. This layer may be likely constituted by
the cuprite (Cu2O) layer, characterized by reddish
colour. At the inner layer (3) the copper content is
low indicating the decuprification process. The tin
was transformed into SnO2which protects copper
from further oxidation. The Cu-6Sn bronze layer 1
is formed of copper-oxide and copper-sulphate.
Layer 2 contains copper-sulphate crystals together
with cuprite. Layer 3 consists of copper-oxide.
– The protective efficiency of two non-toxic
imidazole derivatives (4-methyl-1-phenylimidazole
and 4-methyl-1-(p-tolyl)imidazole) on bronze pati-
nas was investigated by electrochemical impedance
spectroscopy. The results of the investigation have
shown that both organic compounds have protec-
tive properties on patinas on both bronzes in a me-
dium simulating urban acid rain due to atmospheric
pollution. Its protective effectiveness increases with
the immersion time in the inhibitor containing the
corrosion test solution.
The financial support from the Ministry of Sci-
ence and Technology of the Republic of Croatia un-
der Project 0125012 is gratefully acknowledged. The
authors acknowledge EGIDE for financial support
of this work through EcoNet and Cogito projects.
cconcentration, mmol L–1
wmass fraction, %
jcurrent density, A m–2
Reelectrolyte resistance, Wm2
Rffilm resistance, Wm2
Cffilm capacitance, F m–2
gmass concentration, mmol L–1
dthickness, nm
nfconstant phase element coefficient associated
with the film resistance
Rtcharge transfer resistance, Wm2
Cddouble layer capacitance, F m–2
ndconstant phase element coefficient associated
with the double layer capacitance
RFfaradaic resistance, Wm2
CFfaradaic capacitance, F m–2
nFconstant phase element coefficient associated
with the faradaic capacitance
Zimpedance, kWcm2
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76 K. MARUŠIÆ et al., Corrosion Protection of Synthetic Bronze Patina, Chem. Biochem. Eng. Q. 21 (1) 71–76 (2007)
... Because of the markedly increasing air pollution, additional protection for bronze exposed in urban environment is needed. [1][2][3][4] The use of corrosion inhibitors is one of the interesting methods for protection of metals. Inhibitors are chemical compounds that, when added in small amounts to a corrosion system decrease greatly the corrosion rate of a metal or alloy. ...
... For the sake of simplicity, this circuit will be named 2RC. This circuit consists of [2,4,16] a high frequency loop R t -C d which corresponds to the charge transfer resistance and double layer capacitance and a low frequency loop R F -C F allocated to faradaic resistance and capacitance. The impedance with Cole -Cole distribution of the time constant can be expressed by: ω⋅R⋅C is dimensionless, thus if R is expressed in Ω or Ω·cm 2 , then C is expressed in F or F·cm -2 . ...
... where, as stated earlier, for a dilute solution, the activity, a, can be replaced by the concentration, c. c/θ with respect to c is presented in Fig.10. The adsorption energy was determined from the Langmuir isotherm according to Eqs. (2) and (4): ∆G ads = -26 kJ·mol -1 Value of the adsorption free energy ∆G ads , indicates that the interaction between inhibitor and bronze surface is spontaneous and determined by physisorption. ...
... There are many ways how to obtain artificial patina. They are based on nitrates, carbonates, chlorides or sulphates [10][11][12][13]. Patina based on nitrates and carbonates is less stable in under atmospheric conditions, thus some changes in structure and appearance like stains or colour change may appear. ...
Full-text available
Formation of natural patina on copper and copper alloys objects takes tens of years. There are solutions for patination, which are used in restorers’ practice. However, these artificial patinas are usually based on nitrates, carbonates or chlorides. Patina based on brochantite is the most stable phase under atmospheric conditions. This type of patina was successfully formed in laboratory in a small exposure chamber with higher content of SO 2 . This work is next step of the experiment to make this method become more practicable. It started with construction 2 m ³ exposure chamber and simulation of ideal conditions for patination process. The length of drying phase, homogeneity of conditions, pH of feeding water, colour of patina, placement of samples and final appearance were observed. The chamber construction allows to achieve ideal pH value of feeding water, samples surface became dry during the ventilation and temperature during condensation was stable at 40 °C. These conditions are ideal for patination process.
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. Protecting Cultural Heritage (CH) from corrosion and other environmental damages, mainly involving metallic or organic layers contained in artwork, represents a major challenge for conservation scientists. Electrochemical techniques provide useful information about the deterioration effects of metallic coatings and organic layers. Recently, Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) has been successfully applied in the study of metallic corrosion. However, EIS has not succeeded in becoming a routine technique, due to problems regarding both instrumental apparatus (which is not ideal for in situ analysis, especially with previous cell configurations), and the difficulty with data processing. At the same time, new portable electrochemical sensors, immunosensors, and biosensors have successfully made a scientific impact, mainly with in situ diagnosis of organic components contained in CH objects. For this purpose, this review presents two sections: the first describes the analytical optimization of impedance electrochemical cell geometries that are suitable for in situ metal-coating investigation; the second reports on the assembly of small electrochemical sensors, immunosensors, and biosensors, which useful for in situ organic layer characterization. This overview summarizes the state of the art regarding the application of electrochemical techniques and small electrochemical devices as alternative tools for the understanding of CH.
In the present work, the efficiency and time-degradation of new protective organic coatings for artificially patinated bronze based on nitrocellulose lacquer containing thiadiazole derivatives (2-mercapto-5-amino-1,3,4-thiadiazole and 2-mercapto-5-methyl-1,3,4-thiadiazole) as corrosion inhibitors were investigated. The samples were intermittently exposed to a solution simulating an urban rain (pH 5) and their behaviour was monitored for nearly three months by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) measurements. Optical microscopy examination of cross sections of bronze samples covered with patina and nitrocellulose lacquer, without and with inhibitors, was used to determine the thickness of the coatings. Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) was employed to put on evidence the chemical interactions between the organic inhibitors and nitrocellulose lacquer functional groups. The best results were achieved in the presence of 2-mercapto-5-amino-1,3,4-thiadiazole into the nitrocellulose lacquer coating, which offers the highest long-lasting protection to patinated bronzes, without changing the visual appearance of the bronze surfaces covered with patina. This approach proved to be a promising alternative to benzotriazole in the development of highly protective coatings for patinated bronzes.
Heterocyclic organic compounds containing nitrogen, sulfur or oxygen atoms are often used to protect metals from corrosion acting as organic corrosion inhibitors. Their inhibiting role is based on excellent ligand abilities and formation of stabile metal complex. Two requirements are essential for using selected class of organic inhibitors: (a) ligand capacity in the conditions of corrosion such as atmospheric conditions, acid or neutral corrosion, etc., and (b) nontoxicity, i.e., environmentally friendly inhibitors. Imidazole derivatives are capable to fulfil both requirements and they are, from that point of view, very promising and profound class of ligands. Synthesis and X-ray diffraction molecular and crystal structure of 4-methyl-1-N-(p-tolyl)imidazole has been reported, since it exhibits the most prominent corrosion inhibiting role. The synthesis, starting from 4-methylimidazole and 4-bromotoluene, is based on Ullmann-type coupling reaction by applying modifications of N-arylation by arylhalogenides and Cu2O as an efficient catalyst. The molecular and crystal structure of prepared N-substituted imidazole derivative reveals non-planar molecular conformation and the supramolecular assembling of the molecules via C-H···N intermolecular hydrogen bonds between Csp2-H proton donor groups and basic imidazole nitrogen atom. The molecules are related by a 21 screw axis parallel to [0 1 0] in the form of infinite C(4) zig-zag 1D chains via C-H···N intermolecular hydrogen bonds. Such alignment produces additional weak stacking interaction between imidazole and phenyl ring of related chains.
Cultural artefacts are unique and must be conserved for the future generations, even if a slow but progressive deterioration of their constituting materials is unavoidable. Among the different scientific methods employed in the conservation of metallic artefacts, electrochemical techniques have been increasingly applied in the last decades. The two application fields in conservation-treatment and research-are presented and illustrated by numerous practical examples. Electrochemical methods are accessible and versatile, in agreement with the specific demand of cultural heritage conservation.
Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and SEM-EDX observations were used to evaluate the inhibiting effect of four thiadiazole derivatives, i.e. 2-mercapto-5-amino-1,3,4-thiadiazole (MAT), 2-mercapto-5-methyl-1,3,4-thiadiazole (MMeT), 2-mercapto-5-acetylamino-1,3,4-thiadiazole (MAcAT) and 2-mercapto-5-phenylamino-1,3,4-thiadiazole(MPhAT) on the corrosion of naked and artificially patinated bronze surface exposed to an acidic solution (pH 3) that simulates a strongly polluted rainfall. For comparison reasons, the inhibiting effect of benzotriazole (BTA) was also examined. In an attempt to better understand the influence of solution pH on the adsorption of the thiadiazole derivatives and to correlate their structural and electronic characteristics with the experimental inhibition efficiencies, quantum chemical calculations were performed starting with thiadiazole and its protonated derivatives. Finally, a possible inhibition mechanism of the thiadiazole protonated species on bronze corrosion was proposed. It was concluded that MMeT and MAT allow the stabilization of the patina layer, leading to the protection of the bronze substrate and their effectiveness significantly increase with the immersion time.
The patina that covers bronze often has an aesthetic and/or historical value. It should therefore be protected from corrosion in aggressive urban environments. In the present study, two green chemically obtained bronze patinas were examined, as well as an electrochemical patina that resembles the natural patina. Different protective systems were applied to the samples: azole-based inhibitors in an ethanol solution, azole-based inhibitors in polymer coating or wax coating. The efficiency of these protective systems during immersion in simulated urban rainwater was monitored by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The results showed that the protection of patinated bronzes by the inhibitor/ethanol system was long-lasting and most effective for electrochemically patinated bronze. Protective properties of investigated inhibitor/Paraloid B44 systems were found to depend on inhibitor present in the coating as well as on properties of the patina layer on which it was applied. For all types of patina BTA/Paraloid B44 coating exhibited better protecting properties than MTI/Paraloid B44 coating. Carnauba wax was found to provide stabile and effective protection, especially for nitrate patinated bronze.
Ancient and historic tin bronzes can be substantially affected by corrosion when submitted to non adequate storage conditions or more aggressive environments such as, for example, the marked increase of air pollution and of acidity of rainwater in urban medium recently affecting outdoor monuments. To protect them, some triazole compounds were tested as corrosion inhibitors of bronze covered with patina layer. As in the case of cultural artefacts, each specimen is unique, an accurate comparison of inhibiting effect of different molecules is therefore hard to realise. To overcome this difficulty, on the basis of a global understanding of the nature of natural bronze patinas, artificial patinas were synthesised on a contemporary bronze (Cu–Sn–Pb) having a similar composition to that of bronze coins dating of the post Roman Empire (5th–6th century AD). Surface characterization and electrochemical experiments were carried out both on contemporary bronze covered with artificial patina and on three ancient bronze coins discovered in Morocco. All triazole derivatives used, benzo-triazole (BTA), amino-triazole (ATA) and bi-triazole (BiTA), exhibited fairly good protective properties on the synthetic bronze. The BTA is efficient in an artificial patina isolated of the substrate bronze and an old bronze specimen covered with patina layer, but this substance is considered as toxic. The BiTA has shown only a slight inhibiting effect on the ancient bronze coin. The ATA is the most effective at 0.1mM concentration, and the initial treatment of bronze at a higher concentration makes inhibiting effect lower. The ATA is therefore considered the most promising candidate to be applied to protect antique bronze artefacts covered with natural patina layer.
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The aim of this work was to investigate the efficiency of 1-phenyl-4-methylimidazole for corrosion inhibition of copper in 3% NaCl solution. The formation of a thick layer on the copper surface was observed in the presence of this compound. The protective properties of this layer were characterized by means of cyclic voltammetry and through AFM and SEM/EDX measurements. Voltammetric measurements were performed in stirred and quiescent solutions as well as at different immersion times. Voltammetric measurements showed that the protective properties of the layer were enhanced by stirring and with an increase in immersion time. The time dependence of the protective layer formation was characterized by AFM measurements. From SEM/EDX measurements it was concluded that this protective layer has a complex structure consisting of the inhibitor and corrosion products.
The influence of flow rate and temperature on inhibitory efficiency of 4-methyl-5-hydroxymethylimidazole on copper corrosion in hydrochloric acid (HCl) was investigated. The study was performed using electrochemical methods of potentiostatic polarization (Tafel extrapolation and polarization resistance determination). Potentiostatic tests were carried out at three different flow rates (v1 = 0.0045 m/s, v2 = 0.0075 m/s, and v3 = 0.0136 m/s) and at three different temperatures 125°C, 35°C, and 45°C). Results were compared with the efficiency of a commercial inhibitor for copper corrosion under the same conditions. The investigation shows that flow rate and temperature both influence corrosion of copper in uninhibited and inhibited HCl. The comparison of the efficiency of 4-methyl-5-hydroxymethylimidazole and the commercial inhibitor shows that the latter did not inhibit corrosion of copper in 0.5 M HCl underflow conditions.
A bronze coin datable of the post-Roman empire and discovered in Morocco was studied. The in-depth structure and the composition of both patina and substrate alloy were determined by SEM observations, EDS (elemental dispersion analysis using X-ray) cartographies and Raman spectroscopy on a cross-section. The composition of the patina and that of the substrate alloy were found to be highly heterogeneous. Some patina particles were also scraped off from coin surface. Their electrochemical properties were characterized by cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy with a cavity microelectrode. Cyclic voltammetry revealed the presence of three cathodic current peaks. In situ Raman microspectroscopy on the microelectrode allowed the attribution of two of them to Cu(0)|Cu(I) and Cu(I)|Cu(II). The third one was ascribed to the presence of lead oxide. Moreover, it was observed that tin dioxide initially present in the patina gradually disappeared independently of the potential cycling. This phenomenon was explained by the dissolution of this species through a chemical process. The impedance spectra collected with the cavity microelectrode were simulated suitably with an oxidation–reduction reaction coupled with a hemispherical diffusion model of dissolved oxygen.
Inhibiting efficiencies of various imidazole derivatives on atmospheric corrosion of copper on printed circuit boards were investigated. Experiments were carried out on double sided copper boards using a procedure based on international standards and applied in the electronics industry. Electrochemical measurements were performed on copper in solutions containing imidazole derivatives, under stationary and flow conditions. The influence of flow velocity and temperature on the inhibiting characteristics was investigated. The imidazole derivatives studied have good inhibiting properties for copper against atmospheric corrosion.
Natural patinas on archaeological bronzes (Cu–Sn alloys) have been classified and characterized in order to get a deeper insight into their formation mechanisms. From examinations of cross-sections on archaeological artefacts, two classes of corrosion structures were defined (Type I and Type II), using both optical and electron microscopies, EDSX, XRD, IRS and a statistical treatment of data (Principal Components Analysis). A Type I structure (even surface) is defined as a two-layer passivating deposit due to an internal oxidation with a decuprification process (i.e. selective dissolution of copper). A Type II structure (coarse surface) corresponds to more severe attacks, such as pitting but also general uneven corrosion; it is modelled by a three-layer structure, characterized by the presence of cuprous oxide and by an increase in the chloride content at the internal layer/alloy interface related with selective dissolution of copper. A phenomenological model to explain the formation of bronze patinas is developed on the basis of a decuprification phenomenon.
The efficiency of nontoxic imidazole derivatives as copper corrosion inhibitors in sodium chloride solutions was studied by electrochemical polarization methods (Tafel extrapolation and polarization resistance method) and weight-loss measurements. Results obtained during this study show that inhibitors with higher molecular weight, especially those with a phenyl ring, have better inhibiting properties. The values of free energy of adsorption, as calculated from Freundlich isotherm, indicate that investigated imidazole derivatives physisorbe on the copper surface.
The variable character of the ambient parameters determine different passivating properties of the corrosion products formed during outdoor exposure. Three year tests, at least, are necessary in the atmosphere where the patina should be naturally formed, to have long term information about the protectiveness it can develop, its stabilisation rate and the morphology of the attack suffered by the metal. Patinas formed in laboratory, on the contrary, can have well defined chemical composition and morphology, allowing accelerated formation through uniform attack, with controllable corrosion rate of the metal.The protective properties of the corrosion products of copper forming light blue, green, purple and brown artificial patinas and of patina naturally formed during outdoor exposure were evaluated through different characterisation techniques. Potentiokinetic polarisation, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and EDX surface analysis were applied on the weathered metal samples. The composition of the corrosion products was determined through X ray diffraction and IR spectroscopies.Comparison of the results allowed the classification of the green patina, among the artificial and the naturally formed by outdoor exposure, as the best, from the protective properties point of view. The other 3 presented different failures, consisting of poor adherence, high porosity and exfoliation of the underlying metal.
The aim of this paper is to study influence of the molecular structure on the inhibiting properties of organic compounds in corrosion processes in acid media. The inhibiting efficiency of non-toxic imidazole derivatives on copper corrosion in sulphuric acid is investigated. The investigation is performed using electrochemical methods of potentiodynamic polarisation as well as gravimetric measurements. The results of the investigation show that the inhibiting properties of substituted imidazoles depend on molecular structure. The best protection (93%) is obtained by adding a phenyl ring to the imidazole structure. The values of standard free energies of adsorption, as calculated from the Freundlich isotherm, indicate that in the presence of sulphuric acid imidazole derivatives adsorb on copper by a physisorption-based mechanism.
The chemistry of copper patination was investigated by two series of experiments. The chemistry of an aqueous copper-sulphate solution was studied at concentrations and pH values near those predicted in an electrolyte on copper exposed to the atmosphere. The electrochemical reactions in an electrolyte in contact with cuprite were investigated in a reaction vessel which used cuprite powder in artificial rainwater to study the electrochemistry of the atmospheric corrosion and patination of copper. Typical sulphate concentrations in rainwater are sufficient to precipitate posnjakite (Cu4SO4(OH)(6)2H(2)O)), a possible precursor to brochantite, within an hour of wetting a cuprite surface. Brochantite (Cu4SO4(OH)(6)), the most commonly found copper salt in natural patinas is responsible for their green appearance. Precipitation of brochantite from the electrolyte resulted from an increase in pH due to the cathodic reduction of oxygen and an increase in cupric ion concentrations by cuprite oxidation. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Decuprification phenomenon of Cu-Sn alloys in aqueous solution at nearly neutral pH condition, METAL 98
  • L Robbiola
  • N Pereira
  • K Thaury
  • C Fiaud
  • J.-P Labbé
Robbiola, L., Pereira, N., Thaury, K., Fiaud, C., Labbé, J.-P., Decuprification phenomenon of Cu-Sn alloys in aqueous solution at nearly neutral pH condition, METAL 98, Ed. W. Mourey & L. Robbiola, James & James Science Publ., London (1998) 136-144.