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Inspection of trivalent chromium conversion coatings using laser light: The unexpected role of interference on cold-rolled aluminium

: Rischmüller, Jörg; Toschke, Yannic; Imlau, Mirco; Schlag, Mareike; Brüning, Hauke; Brune, Kai

Fulltext ()

Sensors. Online journal 20 (2020), No.8, Art. 2164, 18 pp.
ISSN: 1424-8220
ISSN: 1424-8239
ISSN: 1424-3210
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IFAM ()
laser-based inspection; interference screw; layer model; trivalent chromium conversion coating; cold-rolled aluminium; rough surface; AA3003

Laser-based inspection of trivalent chromium conversion coatings on rough, cold-rolled aluminium substrates is studied from a basic physics perspective by means of angle and wavelength dependent measurements. As a result, we show that the correlation between the scattered laser light and the coating weight of the conversion layer is dominated by the phenomenon of interference. The combined experimental and numerical approach of our study is based on an appropriate layer model which was developed from a set of reference measurements of confocal microscopy, electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The aluminium alloy AA3003 with a trivalent chromium conversion coating serves as an example. Our derived model is capable to reconstruct the reflectance of a laser beam at grazing incidence even for a pronounced surface roughness of Rq≈300 nm , for different coating thicknesses less than 70 n m corresponding to coating weights between zero and 0.5 g / m 2 and for laser wavelengths from 405 n m to 785 n m . In our discussion we outline the possibility to transfer the results to other aluminium alloys and/or other metallic substrates, as well as their potential for industrial applications such as 100% inline-capability, costs, velocity and ruggedness.