Corrosion, Metallurgy’s Waterloo.
Corrosion processes cost the economy of the nations about 4% of their gross national product. Corrosion is a natural process by which materials (often metals) go back to their origin as minerals. Metallurgy is the engineering practice by which minerals are processed to become metals and alloys. There is a natural energy by which the metals may want to go back to minerals. There are engineering ways by which this unavoidable corrosion progression can be delayed, minimized, managed or controlled. Industrial engineers generally perceive corrosion as a nuisance and therefore corrosion is frequently ignored. The wisdom of corrosion experts is many times overlooked during the design and manufacturing of new equipment and components and corrosion related failures (some catastrophic) still occur all over the world. It is time to give corrosion the respect it deserves. The history of how corrosion has come to be recognized (or not) as a science and notorious examples of easy avoidable corrosion related failures will be discussed and highlighted. Corrosion also comes with a little philosophy. Since the increase of entropy distinguishes the future from the past, and corrosion implies destruction, chaos and disorder, corrosion is a measure of time, and our lives.