The science of metal corrosion

Use metals that are not dissimilar Prevent dissimilar metals form becoming electrically connected by water Keep small anodes from contacting large cathodes. The rate of corrosion depends on the surface area of the anode with respect to the cathode. The smaller the surface area of the anode relative to the surface area of the cathode, the more concentrated the flow of electrons at the anode and the faster the rate of corrosion.

The science of metal corrosion

Physical metallurgy Physical metallurgy is the science of making useful products out of metals. Metal parts can be made in a variety of ways, depending on the shape, properties, and cost desired in the finished product.

The desired properties may be electrical, mechanical, magnetic, or chemical in nature; all of them can be enhanced by alloying and heat treatment.

Minimizing Galvanic Corrosion

The cost of a finished part is often determined more by its ease of manufacture than by the cost of the material. This has led to a wide variety of ways to form metals and to an active competition among different forming methods, as well as among different materials.

Large parts may be made by casting. Thin products such as automobile fenders are made by forming metal sheets, while small parts are often made by powder metallurgy pressing powder into a die and sintering it.

Usually a metal part has the same properties throughout. However, if only the surface needs to be hard or corrosion-resistant, the desired performance can be obtained through a treatment that changes only the composition and strength of the surface.

The science of metal corrosion

Structures and properties of metals Metallic crystal structures Metals are used in engineering structures e. This plasticity stems from the simplicity of the arrangement of atoms in the crystals making up a piece of metal and the nondirectional nature of the bond between the atoms.

As a result of this uphill thermodynamic struggle, the metal has a strong driving force to return to its native, low energy oxide state. This return to the native oxide state is what we call corrosion and even though it is inevitable, substantial barriers (corrosion control methods) can be used to slow its progress toward the equilibrium state. Some metals acquire a natural passivity, or resistance to corrosion. This occurs when the metal reacts with, or corrodes in, the oxygen in air. The result is a thin oxide film that blocks the metal’s tendency to undergo further reaction. Eiffel Tower History. The Eiffel Tower was built for the International Exhibition of Paris of commemorating the centenary of the French Revolution. The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII of England, opened the tower. Of the proposals submitted in a design competition, Gustave Eiffel 's was unanimously chosen. However it was not accepted by all at first, and a petition of names.

Atoms can be arranged in many different ways in crystalline solids, but in metals the packing is in one of three simple forms. In the most ductile metals, atoms are arranged in a close-packed manner. If atoms were visualized as identical spheres and if these spheres were packed into planes in the closest possible manner, there would be two ways to stack close-packed planes one above another see figure.

One would lead to a crystal with hexagonal symmetry called hexagonal close-packedor hcp ; the other would lead to a crystal with cubic symmetry that could also be visualized as an assembly of cubes with atoms at the corners and at the centre of each face known as face-centred cubicor fcc.

Examples of metals with the hcp type of structure are magnesiumcadmium, zinc, and alpha titanium. Metals with the fcc structure include aluminum, coppernickelgamma iron, gold, and silver. The commonest metallic crystal structures. The third common crystal structure in metals can be visualized as an assembly of cubes with atoms at the corners and an atom in the centre of each cube; this is known as body-centred cubic, or bcc.

Examples of metals with the bcc structure are alpha iron, tungsten, chromium, and beta titanium. Some metals, such as titanium and iron, exhibit different crystal structures at different temperatures. This allotropyor transformation from one structure to another with changing temperatureleads to the marked changes in properties that can come from heat treatment see below Heat treating.

When a metal undergoes a phase change from liquid to solid or from one crystal structure to another, the transformation begins with the nucleation and growth of many small crystals of the new phase.

All these crystals, or grains, have the same structure but different orientations, so that, when they finally grow together, boundaries form between the grains. These boundaries play an important role in determining the properties of a piece of metal.

At room temperature they strengthen the metal without reducing its ductility, but at high temperatures they often weaken the structure and lead to early failure. They can be the site of localized corrosion, which also leads to failure. Mechanical properties When a metal rod is lightly loaded, the strain measured by the change in length divided by the original length is proportional to the stress the load per unit of cross-sectional area.

The strain here is said to be elastic, and the ratio of stress to strain is called the elastic modulus. If the load is increased further, however, a point called the yield stress will be reached and exceeded.

Strain will now increase faster than stress, and, when the sample is unloaded, a residual plastic strain or elongation will remain. The elastic strain at the yield stress is typically 0.

The most important mechanical properties of a metal are its yield stress, its ductility measured by the elongation to fractureand its toughness measured by the energy absorbed in tearing the metal.

The yield stress of a metal is determined by the resistance to slipping of one plane of atoms over another. Various barriers to slip can be produced by heat treatment and alloying; examples of such barriers are grain boundaries, fine precipitates, distortion introduced by cold working the metal, and alloying elements dissolved in the metal.

When a metal is made very strong through one or more of these methods, it may suddenly fracture under a load instead of yielding.Introduction. Hundreds of thousands of USTs nationwide store regulated substances, primarily automotive fuels made from petroleum or a mixture of petroleum and other regulated substances.

Read the latest articles of Metal Finishing at, Elsevier’s leading platform of peer-reviewed scholarly literature. Metal Samples specializes in manufacturing products for corrosion monitoring & materials evaluation.

Since we have supplied products and services to chemical processing, water treating, and petroleum industries around the world. A basic understanding of the science behind corrosion helps equip one to make more informed decisions about how various insulation products interact with metals to either induce or inhibit corrosion.

What is corrosion? Cast Iron Intro: While cast-iron cookware has been available for centuries, the advent of industrialized factory production in the mid ’s allowed cast iron to become widely available. When a piece of metal corrodes, the electrolyte helps provide oxygen to the anode.


As oxygen combines with the metal, electrons are liberated. When they flow through the electrolyte to the cathode, the metal of the anode disappears, swept away by the electrical flow or converted into metal cations in a .

The Transfer of Energy 3: Rust and Corrosion - Science NetLinks