A chromate-free, self-healing conversion coating solution for magnesium alloy substrates, composed of 10-20 wt. % Mg(NO.sub.3).sub.2.6H.sub.2O, 1-5 wt. % Al(NO.sub.3).sub.3.9H.sub.2O, and less than 1 wt. % of [V.sub.10O.sub.28].sup.6- or VO.sub.3.sup.- dissolved in water. The corrosion resistance offered by the resulting coating is in several hundreds of hours in salt-spray testing. This prolonged corrosion protection is attributed to the creation of a unique structure and morphology of the conversion coating that serves as a barrier coating with self-healing properties. Hydroxoaluminates form the backbone of the barrier protection offered while the magnesium hydroxide domains facilitate the "slow release" of vanadium compounds as self-healing moieties to defect sites, thus providing active corrosion protection.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT OF INVENTION
The work leading to the present application was done as part of Department of Energy Grant Number: DE-FG02-08ER85204, the government has certain rights in the invention.