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What is corrosion science?

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Quick Answer

Corrosion science is the study of material degradation, both metallic and non-metallic. It is a branch of engineering and materials science, although it often spans other disciplines, with the goal being to understand and prevent corrosion.

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Full Answer

Experts estimate losses of $400 million every year due to corrosion, spanning individuals, businesses and government organizations. Corrosion science seeks to understand the mechanisms of corrosion, predict the potential extent of damage and prevent corrosion in the future. Corrosion scientists may also look for environmentally sustainable ways to prevent corrosion. Corrosion science attempts to make structures and products safer by eliminating the possibility of materials failing. It also contributes to conservation of resources and sustainability by ensuring that products last longer without requiring frequent replacement.

Understanding corrosion requires the input of multiple scientific disciplines. Engineers must understand the intended use and lifetime of structures, while materials scientists study the basic components of structures themselves. Environmental scientists and chemists look at the causes of corrosion, such as humidity, soil factors, pollution and precipitation. Materials scientists and chemists may also develop novel substances and coatings to protect from corrosion. Some universities have departments specializing in the study of materials and corrosion, and several scholarly journals deal exclusively with corrosion research.

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