Corrosion is a process through which metals in manufactured states return to their natural oxidation states. This process is a reduction-oxidation reaction in which the metal is being oxidized by its surroundings, often the oxygen in air. This reaction is both spontaneous and electrochemically favored. Corrosion is essentially the creation of voltaic, or galvanic, cells where the metal in question acts as an anode and generally deteriorates or loses functional stability.
Why Study Corrosion?
Corrosion is a commonplace occurrence, like the rusting and flaking of an old iron yard piece corrosion can be controlled
. Corrosion causes deterioration of manufactured products, damaging their structure and ultimately rendering the product useless. Allowing corrosion is not cost efficient and can inhibit productivity; understanding and preventing corrosion is important for maintaining infrastructures and machinery or any products that face corrosion.
Conditions for Corrosion of Metals
There are three main components necessary for corrosion to occur:
Oxygen (usually from the atmosphere)
An electrolyte ( water)
Many metals used in production occur naturally in an ore and therefore must be separated out, leading to reduced stability. These metals, such as iron, will spontaneously return to their natural states. The products of corrosion often reflect the metal's natural state, both physically and in accordance to oxidation states. The placement of the metal in the Galvanic Series will contribute to its likelihood of corrosion; the higher a metal in the Galvanic Series the less likely it is to corrode. This effect is amplified when two metals at opposite ends of the Galvanic Series are in contact: the higher metal will increase its resistance