This chapter describes the fundamentals of metal corrosion in relation to thermodynamics and kinetics. The chapter is so titled, because corrosion of metal is thermodynamically favourable. Moreover, it impacts negatively on economy and safety. Industries expend a substantial percentage of their budgets on corrosion control, and lose revenue due to corrosion damage. Effects of corrosion on industrial and public infrastructure cannot be overemphasized. Several accidents in the transportation and recreational industries have been linked to corrosion of metallic parts of respective gadgets. Some of these accidents are utterly catastrophic and fatal. Therefore, corrosion, albeit its thermodynamic favouability, is not desired by man. Metals corrode as a way of minimizing energy contents. Active metals are more stable in combined forms such as oxides, sulphides, and hydroxides, even though these forms are less useful to man. It appears the “price” to pay for extracting the pure forms of these metals from their ores is corrosion. This chapter presents fundamentals of thermodynamics and kinetics of metal corrosion, with emphasis on aqueous medium. It promises to serve as an introductory chapter for corrosion science students and as a concise material for tutors.
Part of the book: Corrosion