Initial atmospheric corrosion studies of copper from macroscale to nanoscale in a simulated indoor atmospheric environment

W. Zhao, R. P. Babu, T. Chang, I. Odnevall, P. Hedström, M. Johnson and C. Leygraf

Corrosion Science, 195 109995 (2021)
Corrosion effects on copper exposed in a humid atmosphere with formic acid (mimicking indoor corrosion) have been explored through successive increase in surface lateral resolution from macroscale (IRRAS, GIXRD) over microscale (LOM, SEM, IR microscopy) to nanoscale (Nano-FTIR, FIB/SEM/EDS). Initial more uniform growth of Cu2O is followed by more varying topography and thickness until local removal of Cu2O enables the aqueous adlayer to react with the copper substrate. Local formation of Cu(OH)(HCOO) and adjacent Cu2O provide microscopic and spectroscopic evidence of corrosion cells. Nano-FTIR shows that the density of Cu(OH)(HCOO) nuclei, but not their size, increases with exposure time.