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Results Of A Simple Corrosion Experiment In A Freshman Materials Course

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.348.1 - 2.348.6



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Paper Authors

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John R. Williams

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3264

Results of a Simple Corrosion Experiment in a Freshman Materials Course

John R. Williams Purdue University Statewide Technology

Abstract Corrosion and its prevention is an important aspect of materials studies. This paper presents results of simple experiments developed for use in a time-limited course. Conventional corrosion rate experiments are time consuming, but yield useful corrosion rate data that can be used for design considerations. The lab work described here is oriented toward rapid, visual results that can be correlated to the effects of material structure, grain size, etc.

Procedures and techniques are presented describing how to perform these simple experiments and listing the equipment needed. Typical results are presented along with explanations of the anticipated results. Potential pitfalls are discussed. Student comments are also provided. The paper includes photographs of typical results.

These experiments also help the student to develop powers of observation and reporting as well as teach them something about the corrosion process.

Introduction The effects of corrosion are obvious all around us. The etching of metallurgical samples and the way a battery works are examples of electrochemical processes. Visit a junk yard and observe the rusted hulks that were once someone's shiny new car. Non-functional farm machinery often litters the landscape because it costs too much to haul it away to a landfill. Those of us living in the rust belt wax the exterior of our vehicles, and often pay someone to provide a rust protective coating on the underside of them. Approximately 20% of the iron and steel products manufactured each year are used to replace objects that have been discarded due to rust damage 1. Figure 1 is a photograph of a truck ravaged by corrosion typical of damage brought primarily by road salt used for winter de-icing.

Figure 1. An older vehicle shows the effects of corrosion

The Purdue University School of Technology requires all AS and BS degree Mechanical Engineering Technology students to take a sequence of materials-related courses. The first

Williams, J. R. (1997, June), Results Of A Simple Corrosion Experiment In A Freshman Materials Course Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6766

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