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Hot dip aluminizing of mild steel at different temperatures was conducted to reveal
the influence of reaction temperature and time on interfacial intermetallic compounds
(IMCs). Scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry and X-ray
diffraction were employed to investigate the interfacial microstructures. The IMCs
of the dipping interface consisted of a thick layer of η-Fe2Al5 between 4.2–132.2 μm next to the steel and a thin layer of θ-Fe4Al13 between 0–5.5 μm close to the aluminum. With increasing dipping temperature and time,
the total thickness of IMCs (Fe2Al5 plus Fe4Al13) increased. Specifically, the growth of the Fe2Al5 layer can be described by parabolic rate laws. An activation energy of 93 kJ mol−1 was obtained, combining both the results from the present work and previous studies
in the temperature range of 675–900°C. The change in Fe4Al13 thickness is not significant compared with the Fe2Al5. However, the decrease in IMC thickness of the Fe4Al13 with dipping temperature was observed for the first time and had never been reported
before. Moreover, it can be clearly observed that the thickness of the Fe4Al13 decreased with dipping time based on the linear fitting results by excluding the
result of the initial 1 s. A possible mechanism is that interfacial dynamics and thermodynamics
work for the dissolution and decomposition of the Fe4Al13 layer. Higher temperature accelerates the dissolution of the θ layer.