Corrosion

Corrosion is the destructive attack of a material by reaction with its environment.

The serious consequences of the corrosion process have become a problem of worldwide significance. In addition to our everyday encounters with this form of degradation, corrosion causes plant shutdowns, waste of valuable resources, loss or contamination of product, reduction in efficiency, costly maintenance, and expensive overdesign. It can also jeopardize safety and inhibit technological progress.


Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen. Formation of an oxide of iron due to oxidation of the iron atoms in solid solution is a well-known example of electrochemical corrosion, commonly known as rusting. This type of damage typically produces oxide(s) and/or salt(s) of the original metal. Corrosion can also occur in materials other than metals, such as ceramics or polymers, although in this context, the term degradation is more common.

In other words, corrosion is the wearing away of metals due to a chemical reaction.


Many structural alloys corrode merely from exposure to moisture in the air, but the process can be strongly affected by exposure to certain substances. Corrosion can be concentrated locally to form a pit or crack, or it can extend across a wide area more or less uniformly corroding the surface. Because corrosion is a diffusion controlled process, it occurs on exposed surfaces. As a result, methods to reduce the activity of the exposed surface, such as passivation and chromate-conversion, can increase a material’s corrosion resistance. However, some corrosion mechanisms are less visible and less predictable.

Metals (and their alloys) can be arranged in a galvanic series representing the potential they develop in a given electrolyte against a standard reference electrode. The relative position of two metals on such a series gives a good indication of which metal is more likely to corrode more quickly. However, other factors such as water aeration and flow rate can influence the process markedly.

Galvanic corrosion is of major interest to the marine industry. Galvanic series tables for sea water are common place due to the extensive use of metal in ship building.

There are various corrosion Mechanisms which are effecting the Oil Refineries.