Recognition and Analysis of Corrosion Failure Mechanisms
Corrosion has a vast impact on the global and domestic economy, and currently incurs losses of nearly $300 billion annually to the U.S. economy alone. Because of the huge impact of corrosion, it is imperative to have a systematic approach to recognizing and mitigating corrosion problems as soon as possible after they become apparent. A proper failure analysis includes collection of pertinent background data and service history, followed by visual inspection, photographic documentation, material evaluation, data review and conclusion procurement. In analyzing corrosion failures, one must recognize the wide range of common corrosion mechanisms. The features of any corrosion failure give strong clues as to the most likely cause of the corrosion. This article details a proven approach to properly determining the root cause of a failure, and includes pictographic illustrations of the most common corrosion mechanisms, including general corrosion, pitting, galvanic corrosion, dealloying, crevice corrosion, microbiologically-influenced corrosion (MIC), corrosion fatigue, stress corrosion cracking (SCC), intergranular corrosion, fretting, erosion corrosion and hydrogen damage.