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Corrosion is the degradation of useful properties of a metal by

chemical or electrochemical reaction (mostly) with an environment,
in which an anodic and cathodic reaction takes place at equal rate but
at different site

 Except noble metals like Au, Pd and Pt, all

other metals undergo corrosion
Cause of corrosion:
In nature, metals are not found in free state due to their reactivity..
But metals exist as its oxides, sulphides, sulphates, or carbonates,
which are thermodynamically stable states of the metals. The metals
are extracted from these minerals by spending huge amount of
energy. So, they develop a natural tendency to revert to their most
stable forms.

Refining-corrosion cycle:

Mechanical degradation:
Corrosion reduces the thickness of the metal, which causes
in loss of mechanical strength and failure of the structure.
Efficiency of the machine is reduced due to corrosion.
Because of corrosion, pipes are blocked and pumps are
difficult to operate. It also damages boilers.
Corrosion seriously shortens the predicted design life.

Chemical Impact:

 Buildings and other historic monuments are damaged due to

corrosion (e.g.Taj Mahal).

Corrosion products could make sanitizing of equipment more

difficult, eg. milk and dairy product plant.

Corrosion of steel, leads to Cr3+ or Cr6+ ions releasing into

drinking water.

Uniform or general corrosion:
It is the uniform thinning of a metal without any localized attack.
Corrosion does not penetrate very deep inside. Uniform corrosion is more likely
to take place in acidic environments (more severe in the case of SOx).
rusting of iron or structural steels in open air or tarnishing
of silver or electrical contacts or “Fogging ” of nickel
Corrosion of offshore drilling platforms or galvanized steel
stairways or underground pipes

 high - temperature oxidation of metals

Local corrosion:

In localized type of attack, rate of corrosion being greater at some areas than
at others. Here the anode is very small and fixed area of corroding part of metal. So
remaining area of the metal acting as cathode. Local corrosion is more likely to take
place in alkaline, neutral, or slightly acidic environments.

localized corrosion such as pitting, crevice corrosion, galvanic corrosion,

or stress corrosion cracking are more dangerous than uniform corrosion

SCC of austenitic stainless steels in acid chloride media, leading to crack

1. Dry or chemical corrosion
2. Wet or Electrochemical corrosion

1. Dry or chemical corrosion:

Corrosion is due to direct attack of chemicals in dry condition.

Corrosion products are formed at the place of corrosion.

Corrosion is slow, depending on the nature of the chemical reaction.

a) Oxidation Corrosion b) Corrosion by Gases:

It is due to direct attack of Carbon dioxide, Sulphur dioxide, NOx,
oxygen on metals Hydrogen Sulphide, Flourine, Chlorine, etc
Oxygen molecules are attracted to S- more corrosion
the surface by Vander Wall Force C- less corrosion

2. Wet or Electrochemical corrosion

Corrosion is due to the formation of large number of galvanic cells in wet condition.
Corrosion occurs at anode whereas corrosion products are accumulated at cathode.
 Corrosion is fast, due to electrochemical cells.

Important condition:
Corrosion increases with
O2 and moisture
rise in temperature
rise in concentration of H+ ions
increases with O2 and moisture
Sl.No. Wet or Electrochemical corrosion Dry or chemical corrosion:
1 Corrosion is due to the formation of large Corrosion is due to direct attack
number of galvanic cells in wet condition chemicals in dry condition
2 Corrosion occurs at anode whereas corrosion Corrosion products are formed at
products are accumulated at cathode the place of corrosion
3 Corrosion is fast, due to electrochemical Corrosion is slow, depending on the
cells nature of the chemical reaction
4 Explained by electrochemical reactions Explained by adsorption
5 Corrosion takes place at active centre only Corrosion is uniform
i.e., not uniform

Why ?
–economics, safety, and conservation

Losses sustained by industry and by governments ~$ 276 billion in the
United States, or 3.1% of the GDP
 Economic losses can be divided into direct and indirect losses
Direct losses:

 direct replacement of corroded equipment, components, and

 labor and material cost to control the corrosion rate of equipment
and structures
 additional costs incurred by the use of corrosion-resistant metals or
alloys instead of less-expensive carbon steel

Indirect losses:

 Plant shutdowns: due to unexpected corrosion failures of equipment

lead to loss of production and consequently loss of profit
 Contamination: Pb pipes were used to transport water until it was
found that the lead pick-up in the water caused Pb poisoning in humans
 Loss of product: leakage of gasoline or uranium compound due to
corrosion pipes or storage of tanks
 Loss of efficiency: overdesign (additional thicknesses of vessel shells)
and the corrosion products (scales) decrease the heat-transfer rate in heat
 Environmental damage: leakage of dangerous chemicals

 Sudden failure can cause explosions and fire, release of toxic products
and collapse of structures.
Safety is a critical consideration in the design of equipment for nuclear
power plants and for disposal of nuclear wastes.
 Medicals metals used for hip joints, screws, heart valves, etc – high
reliability is of paramount importance.
 Corrosion products could make sanitizing of equipment more
difficult,eg. milk and dairy product plant.
 Loss of metal by corrosion is a waste not only of the metal, but also of
the energy, the water, and the human effort that was used to produce and
fabricate the metal structures

 Corrosion destroys the aesthetic appeal of the product and damages the
product image

 Corrosion seriously shortens the predicted design life

 Corrosion Engineering, M. G. Fontana


 Corrosion and corrosion control, R. W. Revie & H. H. Uhlig

 Principles of Corrosion Engineering and Corrosion Control, Zaki Ahmad
 Fundamentals of Corrosion, Philip A. Schweitzer
1. Corrosion of metals involves
(a) Physical reactions (b) Chemical reactions (c) Both (d) None
2. The following factors play vital role in corrosion process
(a) Temperature (b) Solute concentration (c) Both (d) None
3. Following equation is related to corrosion rate
(a) Nernst equation (b) Faraday’s equation (c) Either (d) Neither
4.The following influences deterioration of polymers
(a) Weather (b) Radiation (c) Temparature (d) All
5. Passivity is not reason for inertness of the following
(a) Au (b) Al (c) Ti (d) Ni
6. When Pt and Co are electrically connected, which one gets corroded
(a) Pt (b) Co (c) None (d) Can’t decide
7. Following is not the main form of polymer deterioration
(a) Corrosion (b) Swelling and Dissolution (c) Weathering (d)
8. Main form of ceramic degradation
(a) Corrosion (b) Weathering (c) Dissolution (d) Swelling
9. Corrosion is a process of
(a) reduction (b) oxidation (c) ozonolysis (d) electrolysis

1. Discuss the five important consequences of corrosion.
2. Discuss the economic aspect of corrosion
3. Describe with an example how corroded structures can lead to
environmental pollution.
4. What is the relationship between depletion of natural resources
and corrosion?
5. Explain how corrosion can be considered as extractive
metallurgy in reverse.
6. Name three cities in Southeast Asia and the Middle East which
have the most corrosive environment.
7. State two important corrosion websites.
8. What is corrosion? Why do metals corrode?
9. Why most of the metals are found in the ore form and not in the
pure form? Explain.