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Analyst. 2008 Dec;133(12):1700-6. doi: 10.1039/b804718a. Epub 2008 Sep 23.

Visualization of local electrochemical activity and local nickel ion release on laser-welded NiTi/steel joints using combined alternating current mode and stripping mode SECM.

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  • 1Analytische Chemie-Elektroanalytik & Sensorik, Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum, Bochum, Germany.


Smoothly polished cross-sections of laser-fabricated welds between NiTi shape memory alloy and stainless steel (SS) microwires of approximately the same diameter and, for comparison, between identical stainless steel or NiTi wires have been subjected to local chemical activity and nickel release measurements using scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM). In the alternating current mode (AC-SECM), the measurements detected clear differences in the local interfacial chemical activity of the passivated weld and the base metals only for the heterogeneous joints of the type NiTi-SS. In this case the local electrochemical acvtivity was lower above the weld material. Subjecting cross-sections of NiTi-SS to stripping mode SECM (SM-SECM), higher Ni(2+) concentrations were measured above the regions of the parental NiTi wire, which correlates well with the results from AC-SECM imaging which showed this region as being less passivated. An energy-dispersive elemental analysis of the specimen in a scanning electron microscope revealed the coexistence of Ti and Cr in the weld mass. Possibly, a joint action of these two metals in terms of protective oxide formation is better for passivation of the weld region than the individual action of one or the other element for passivating the original wires. Better passivation of course led to decreased electrochemical activity of the weld surface. Apparently, AC- and SM-mode SECM imaging were sufficiently sensitive to detect and visualize the impact of the changed surface passivation upon laser welding.

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