Corrosion is a naturally occurring phenomenon commonly defined as the deterioration of a substance (usually a metal) or its properties because of a reaction with its environment. Corrosion can cause dangerous and expensive damage to water and wastewater systems, pipelines, bridges and public buildings. According to a current corrosion study, it costs the United States approximately $276 billion on an annual basis. Production and manufacturing industries are widely affected by corrosion, with pulp-and-paper corrosion costing approximately $6 billion per year, followed by oil-and-gas exploration at $4.1 billion, food processing at $2.1 billion and mining at $0.1 billion. Fortunately, there are time-proven methods to prevent and control corrosion, reducing or eliminating its impact.
The science of corrosion prevention and control is highly complex, exacerbated by the fact that corrosion takes many different forms and is affected by numerous outside factors. Corrosion professionals must understand the effects of: