Forms of Corrosion

There are many forms of corrosion. The form of corrosion depends on the metal involved, its size and shape, its specific function, atmospheric conditions, and the corrosion producing agents present. Those described in this section are the more common forms found on airframe structures.

Surface Corrosion

Surface corrosion appears as a general roughening, etching, or pitting of the surface of a metal, frequently accompanied by a powdery deposit of corrosion products. Surface corrosion may be caused by either direct chemical or electrochemical attack. Sometimes corro sion will spread under the surface coating and cannot be recognized by either the roughening of the surface or the powdery deposit. Instead, closer inspection will reveal the paint or plating is lifted off the surface in small blisters which result from the pressure of the underlying accumulation of corrosion products. [Figure 6-5]

Filiform corrosion gives the appearance of a series of small worms under the paint surface. It is often seen on surfaces that have been improperly chemically treated prior to painting. [Figure 6-6]

Dissimilar Metal Corrosion

Extensive pitting damage may result from contact between dissimilar metal parts in the presence of a conductor. While surface corrosion may or may not be taking place, a galvanic action, not unlike electroplating, occurs at the points or areas of contact where the insulation between the surfaces has broken down or been omitted. This electrochemical attack can be very serious because in many instances the action is taking place out of sight, and the only way to detect it prior to structural failure is by disassembly and inspection. [Figure 6-7]

The contamination of a metalís surface by mechanical means can also induce dissimilar metal corrosion. The improper use of steel cleaning products, such as steel wool or a steel wire brush on aluminum or magnesium, can force small pieces of steel into the metal being cleaned, which will then further corrode and ruin the adjoining surface. Carefully monitor the use of nonwoven abrasive pads, so that pads used on one type of metal are not used again on a different metal surface.

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