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This article provides a general introduction to the kinetics of aqueous corrosion with an emphasis on electrochemical principles. It describes the thermodynamic basis for corrosion by determining the equilibrium potentials of electrochemical reactions from the Nernst equation. A corrosion process can be controlled by the electronic conductivity of passive films when the cathodic reaction occurs on the surface of the film and by activation control of corrosion. Passivation becomes thermodynamically possible when the corrosion potential exceeds the potential corresponding to the equilibrium between a metal and one of its oxides/hydroxides. The article schematically illustrates a current-potential or polarization curve for an anodic process.

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