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Corrosion Fundamentals

Forms of Corrosion

The forms of corrosion described here use the terminology in use at NASA-KSC.  There are other equally valid methods of classifying corrosion, and no universally-accepted terminology is in use.  Keep in mind that a given situation may lead to several forms of corrosion on the same piece of material.

(Click on Title for a Detail Explanation)

Illustration Form of Corrosion
Uniform Corrosion in Structural Steel

Uniform Corrosion

This is also called general corrosion. The surface effect produced by most direct chemical attacks (e.g., as by an acid) is a uniform etching of the metal.

Galvanic Corrosion of a Helicopter Rotor Blade Galvanic Corrosion

Galvanic corrosion is an electrochemical action of two dissimilar metals in the presence of an electrolyte and an electron conductive path. It occurs when dissimilar metals are in contact.

Crevice Corrosion of a Titanium Flange

Concentration Cell Corrosion

Concentration cell corrosion occurs when two or more areas of a metal surface are in contact with different concentrations of the same solution.

Pitting Corrosion of Cast Iron Pitting Corrosion

Pitting corrosion is localized corrosion that occurs at microscopic defects on a metal surface. The pits are often found underneath surface deposits caused by corrosion product accumulation.

Pipe Flange Corrosion Crevice Corrosion

Crevice or contact corrosion is the corrosion produced at the region of contact of metals with metals or metals with nonmetals. It may occur at washers, under barnacles, at sand grains, under applied protective films, and at pockets formed by threaded joints.

Filiform Corrosion

Filiform Corrosion

This type of corrosion occurs on painted or plated surfaces when moisture permeates the coating. Long branching filaments of corrosion product extend out from the original corrosion pit and cause degradation of the protective coating.

Exfoliation of a Fire Hydrant

Intergranular Corrosion

Intergranular corrosion is an attack on or adjacent to the grain boundaries of a metal or alloy.

Stress Corrosion Cracking Cause by Pitting

Stress Corrosion Cracking

Stress corrosion cracking (SCC) is caused by the simultaneous effects of tensile stress and a specific corrosive environment. Stresses may be due to applied loads, residual stresses from the manufacturing process, or a combination of both.

Corrosion Fatigue in a Passenger Jet Corrosion Fatigue

Corrosion fatigue is a special case of stress corrosion caused by the combined effects of cyclic stress and corrosion. No metal is immune from some reduction of its resistance to cyclic stressing if the metal is in a corrosive environment.

Fretting Corrosion of a Bearing Surface
Fretting Corrosion

The rapid corrosion that occurs at the interface between contacting, highly loaded metal surfaces when subjected to slight vibratory motions is known as fretting corrosion.

Erosion Corrosion

Erosion Corrosion

Erosion corrosion is the result of a combination of an aggressive chemical environment and high fluid-surface velocities.

Dealloying of a Copper Nickel Alloy

Dealloying is a rare form of corrosion found in copper alloys, gray cast iron, and some other alloys. Dealloying occurs when the alloy loses the active component of the metal and retains the more corrosion resistant component in a porous "sponge" on the metal surface.

Hydrogen Blistering
Hydrogen Damage

Hydrogen embrittlement is a problem with high-strength steels, titanium, and some other metals. Control is by eliminating hydrogen from the environment or by the use of resistant alloys.

Rebar Corrosion in Concrete
Corrosion in Concrete

Concrete is a widely-used structural material that is frequently reinforced with carbon steel reinforcing rods, post-tensioning cable or prestressing wires. The steel is necessary to maintain the strength of the structure, but it is subject to corrosion.

Microbial Corrosion of a Fire Hydrant

Microbial Corrosion

Microbial corrosion (also called microbiologically -influenced corrosion or MIC) is corrosion that is caused by the presence and activities of microbes. This corrosion can take many forms and can be controlled by biocides or by conventional corrosion control methods.

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