Magnesium and its alloys present several advantages such as a high strength/weight ratio and a low density. These properties allow them to be used for many aeronautical applications but they are very sensitive to corrosion. In order to solve this problem, chromium VI conversion coatings (CCC) are deposited on the surface before a protective top coat application. This process is now limited by several environmental laws due to the high toxicity of hexavalent chromium. However the chemical mechanisms of CCC deposition will be detailed in this chapter in order to understand the chemical properties of this coating. Pre-treatment steps allow cleaning and preparing the surface for improving the coating deposition. A final layer of chromium (III) oxide and magnesium hydroxide composes the coating allowing the protective properties. Orthorhombic potassium chromate clusters trapped on the coating surface give self-healing property to the coating. Alternative conversion coatings are based onto solutions containing chromium (III), permanganate, phosphates, Rare Earth Elements (REEs) or vanadium. The second part of this chapter will detail the deposition and the protection mechanisms of these promising processes of CrVI substitution. Among them, permanganate/phosphate-based coating presents a better corrosion resistance than CCC and REEs have very efficient self-healing properties.
Part of the book: Magnesium Alloys