The effect of impurities on formation of interfacial metallic voids, during uniform dissolution of aluminum in 1 M NaOH, was investigated. These voids are thought to act as initiation sites for pitting. Foils of three different bulk purities were used: 99.98% (3N), 99.997% (4N), and 99.9995% (5N). Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy (PAS) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) revealed that nm-scale voids were formed by dissolution in each foil. The void volume fraction increased to a maximum during dissolution, at a time which increased with foil purity. The concurrent accumulation of near-surface Cu and Fe impurities during caustic etching was characterized using Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS). For the three foils, a correlation of void volume fraction with Cu surface concentration was suggested. Processes involving Cu impurities may then at least partly control the formation of voids.
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