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This chapter addresses the basic concepts important to understanding corrosion of metals. It begins with an overview of the three types of behaviors that a metal exhibits when immersed in an environment and of the four requirements of a corrosion cell. The chapter then covers the important characteristics of metals with respect to corrosion, namely the metallurgical characteristics, the inherent tendency to corrode, and the tendency to form insoluble corrosion products. The important characteristics of aqueous solutions with respect to corrosion are then addressed. The characteristics include: conductivity of the solution, acidity and alkalinity, oxidizing power, degree of ionization, and solubility in the solution. These characteristics, in combination with the characteristics of the metal, will determine the corrosion behavior of a metal/environment combination. The chapter concludes with a section on the determination of corrosion rates and corrosion rate allowances.

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