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The definition and also the mechanism of corrosion is studied on. Research was also

done to find out the correlation between pH and corrosion. The most suitable formula to

express the rate of corrosion of each metals was also determined.

2.1 Corrosion

Corrosion is degradation of materials properties due to interactions with their

environments, and corrosion of most metals is inevitable. While primarily associated

with metallic materials, all material types are susceptible to degradation. Degradation of

polymeric insulating coatings on wiring has been a concern in aging aircraft. Even

ceramics can undergo degradation by selective dissolution. Like death and taxes,

corrosion is something we hope to avoid; but ultimately it is something we must learn to

deal with. (Barbara A. Shaw, Robert G. Kelly, 2006). As far back as the Bronze Age, it

was observed that metals were not very stable when subjected to their natural

environment such as soil and sea water. About 1780, a physiologist, Luigi Galvani,

reported on his experiments with metallic arcs of dissimilar metals. In 1824, Sir

Humphry Davy, on contract to the royal Navy, discovered the principle of cathodic

protection for the mitigation of natural corrosion processes. He was searching for a

method to prevent corrosion of the copper-clad wooden hulls of English ships. He

attached billets of zinc to the copper and observed that the zinc would corrode to save

the copper. Today, over one

and one-half centuries later, corrosion engineers are still using this same method of

preventing corrosion damage by applying this same zinc anode cathodic protection to

steel ships around the world (James. B. Pushman, 1997). Corrosion involves chemical

reactions, in which the original material reacts with a chemical agent to form a new

compound or to dissolve into the chemical agent, in both cases involving a charge

transfer. As for metals, the corrosion process is a dissolution process, with metal atoms

being converted to metal ions. (Hobbs, 2006). At the metal surface, neutral metal atoms

are oxidized to positive metal ions in what is known as an oxidation or anodic reaction:

M M + ne

2++2 e
(e.g. )

2.2 Relationship between pH and Corrosion

pH is defined as the concentration of hydrogen ions. This concentration is calculated

by the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration. The higher the pH level,

the less free hydrogen ions. Additionally, this means a change in one pH value

represents a ten-fold change in concentration of hydrogen ions. The scale goes from 0

to 14 with 7 being neutral. Anything below is considered acid while anything above 7 is

considered alkaline or basic. Both acid and alkalis are capable of being corrosive as

they have the potential to eat away at something, in some cases very rapidly, and would

have the capability of being harmful to objects such as metal (Akinpelumi, 2012) Acids

are lacking in the electron department so they rip electrons off of elements/compounds

they come into contact with. The removal of electrons changes the properties of the

material that the acid is reacting with. A metal that has had its electrons stolen can no

longer hold together as a solid piece. Bases are the opposite in which they have excess

electrons that are donated to the materials they come into contact with. These extra

electrons break the bonds holding the materials together.

2.3 Rate of corrosion

The corrosion rates shown in the result section were expressed in mpy. The inclusion of

corrosion allowances in a structure requires an assumption of uniform penetration rate.

The most common engineering unit of penetration rate is the mpy which stands for mil

per year (Robert G. Kelly, John R. Scully, David Shoesmith, Rudolph G. Buchheit,

2003). According to Corrosionpedia, Mils penetration per year(mpy) is a unit of

measurement equal to one thousandth of an inch. It is used to gauge a coupons

corrosion rate. Mpy is commonly known as mil in the U.S. measurement system.

The formula of Mils penetration per year is given by:

534 x W
Dx AxT


W=weight loss (g)

D=metal density (g/ cm )

A= exposed area of metal ( cm )

T= exposure time (hours)