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including sulfur compounds and sodium chloride

Including sulfur compounds and sodium chloride

16.8 Corrosion Environments S-231

cessation of stress corrosion, it may, on the other hand, lead to the initiation or enhancement of hydrogen embrittlement.

In order for hydrogen embrittlement to occur, some source of hydrogen must be present, and, in addition, the possibility for the formation of its atomic species. Situations wherein these conditions are met include the following: pickling3of steels in sulfuric acid; electroplating; and the presence of hydrogen-bearing atmospheres (including water vapor) at elevated temperatures such as during welding and heat treatments. Also, the presence of what are termed ‘‘poisons’’ such as sulfur (i.e., H2S) and arsenic compounds accelerates hydrogen embrittlement; these substances retard the formation of molecular hydrogen and thereby increase the residence time of atomic hydrogen on the metal surface. Hydrogen sulfide, probably the most aggressive poison, is found in petroleum fluids, natural gas, oil-well brines, and geothermal fluids.

Water environments can also have a variety of compositions and corrosion characteristics. Fresh water normally contains dissolved oxygen, as well as other minerals several of which account for hardness. Seawater contains approximately 3.5% salt (predominantly sodium chloride), as well as some minerals and organic matter. Seawater is generally more corrosive than fresh water, frequently producing pitting and crevice corrosion. Cast iron, steel, aluminum, copper, brass, and some stainless steels are generally suitable for freshwater use, whereas titanium, brass, some bronzes, copper–nickel alloys, and nickel–chromium–molybdenum alloys are highly corrosion resistant in seawater.

Soils have a wide range of compositions and susceptibilities to corrosion. Com-

Because there are so many acids, bases, and organic solvents, no attempt is made to discuss these solutions. Good references are available that treat these topics in detail.


Several aspects of design consideration have already been discussed, especially with regard to galvanic and crevice corrosion, and erosion–corrosion. In addition, the design should allow for complete drainage in the case of a shutdown, and easy washing. Since dissolved oxygen may enhance the corrosivity of many solutions, the design should, if possible, include provision for the exclusion of air.

Physical barriers to corrosion are applied on surfaces in the form of films and coatings. A large diversity of metallic and nonmetallic coating materials are avail-able. It is essential that the coating maintain a high degree of surface adhesion, which undoubtedly requires some preapplication surface treatment. In most cases, the coating must be virtually nonreactive in the corrosive environment and resistant to mechanical damage that exposes the bare metal to the corrosive environment. All three material types—metals, ceramics, and polymers—are used as coatings for metals.

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