Corrosion and Oxidation
Corrosion is a key subject for more or less all classes of alloys that fall within the broad definition of stainless steels because these alloys were developed with the intention of preventing corrosion. This chapter provides an introduction to the fundamentals of electrochemical theory as it pertains to corrosion resistance of stainless steels. The discussion provides an overview of electrochemical reactions, Faraday's law, the Nernst equation, galvanic versus electrochemical cells, corrosion tendency, and Pourbaix diagrams.
Corrosion involves chemical reactions in equilibrium that that are understood through principles of thermodynamics. In practice, the rate at which corrosion reactions occur is the most important consideration. This chapter deals with corrosion kinetics, which allows engineers to to understand rates of corrosion. The discussion covers two kinetic processes, namely electrode reactions at the cathode and anode and conduction of ions in the electrolyte. The chapter also provides information on passivation and its effect on polarization diagrams.