Corrosion can be defined as disintegration of a material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings and in the most common use of the word, this means a loss of electrons of the metals reacting with oxygen and water. Weakening of Fe due to oxidation of the iron atoms is a well-known example of electrochemical type of corrosion and this is commonly known as rusting. This type of damage typically produces salts(s) and/or oxide(s) of the original metal. Corrosion can also refer to other materials than metals, such as polymers or ceramics but for this the term degradation is more common.
Most structural alloys get corroded merely from exposure to moisture in the air, but the process can be strongly affected by the exposure to certain substances. Corrosion can be concentrated locally to form a crack or pit, or it can extend across a wide area to produce general deterioration of surface. While some efforts to reduce corrosion merely redirect the damage into less visible, less predictable forms, controlled corrosion treatments such as chromate conversion and passivation will increase a material's corrosion resistance.
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