Corrosion is a natural process, which converts a refined metal to a more chemically-stable form, such as its oxide, hydroxide, or sulfide. It is the destruction of materials by chemical and/or electrochemical reaction with their environment. Corrosion engineering is the dedicated to controlling and stopping corrosion. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metal in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen or sulfur, rusting, the formation of iron oxides, is a well-known example of electrochemical corrosion. This type of damage typically produces oxide or salt 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. Corrosion degrades the useful properties of materials and structures including strength, appearance and permeability to liquids, many structural alloys corrode merely from exposure to moisture in air, but the process can be strongly affected by exposure to certain substances. Corrosion can be concentrated locally to form a pit or crack, because corrosion is a diffusion-controlled process, it occurs on exposed surfaces. As a result, methods to reduce the activity of the surface, such as passivation and chromate conversion. However, some corrosion mechanisms are less visible and less predictable, in a galvanic couple, the more active metal corrodes at an accelerated rate and the more noble metal corrodes at a slower rate. When immersed separately, each metal corrodes at its own rate, what type of metal to use is readily determined by following the galvanic series. For example, zinc is used as a sacrificial anode for steel structures. Galvanic corrosion is of major interest to the industry and also anywhere water contacts pipes or metal structures. Factors such as size of anode, types of metal. The surface area ratio of the anode and cathode directly affects the corrosion rates of the materials, galvanic corrosion is often prevented by the use of sacrificial anodes. In any given environment, one metal will be more noble or more active than others. Two metals in electrical contact share the same electrons, so that the tug-of-war at each surface is analogous to competition for free electrons between the two materials. Using the electrolyte as a host for the flow of ions in the same direction, the resulting mass flow or electric current can be measured to establish a hierarchy of materials in the medium of interest. This hierarchy is called a series and is useful in predicting and understanding corrosion
Rust, the most familiar example of corrosion
Volcanic gases have accelerated the extensive corrosion of this abandoned mining machinery, rendering it almost unrecognizable
Corrosion on exposed metal, including a bolt and nut
Gold nuggets do not naturally corrode, even on a geological time scale.