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MSc Corrosion Control Engineering / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Principles of Corrosion

Unit code MATS66301
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit introduces the fundamental science underlying various corrosion phenomena, using both lectures and laboratory sessions. 


To introduce the thermodynamic and kinetic principles of the chemical and electrochemical processes that give rise to both aqueous corrosion in electrolytes, • To high temperature oxidation in gases. • To enable students to understand the experimental techniques for measuring and monitoring corrosion rates • To give students hand on experience of operating potentiostatic equipment to conduct investigations into corrosion.

Learning outcomes

A greater depth of the learning outcomes will be covered in the following sections:

• Knowledge and understanding

• Intellectual skills

• Practical skills

• Transferable skills and personal qualities

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, group tutorials (problem sessions), recommended textbooks, web resources, self- teaching worked examples, past exam papers, electronic supporting information (Blackboard).


Knowledge and understanding

Understand the common mass transport mechanisms in solutions; use Fick's laws to solve diffusion problems.

Describe the central role of dislocation motion in controlling the properties of metals including explaining phenomena such as work hardening.

Understand the chemistry of typical aqueous solutions in which corrosion could occur, such as salts, acids and alkalis, and be able to describe how the solution chemistry will affect the rate and type of corrosion expected for common metals such as iron, copper and aluminium.

Discuss how the Tafel Law predicts current density for activation controlled processes.

Recognise when mass transport will limit different interfacial processes and predict the effect on the corrosion potential and corrosion current density.

Explain the stages of high temperature oxidation and the kinetics for different types of oxides.

Understand the theory for Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy. 

Intellectual skills

Explain how to relate corrosion current densities to corrosion rates using Faraday’s Law.

Interpret a polarisation curve to determine the types of interfacial processes occurring.

Measure the gradient of the appropriate part of a Linear Polarisation Curve to find the Polarisation Resistance.

Perform calculation using Fick’s Laws to predict corrosion rates for cases diffusion limited reactions are rate limiting.

Use a Pourbaix diagram to describe the surface state for a metal in a known solution.

Measure corrosion rates from the results of impedance measurements. 

Practical skills

Perform experiments to measure corrosion rates in aqueous environments.

Use a potentiostat correctly with either two or three electrode setups. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Gain experience of working in a group to produce coursework. 

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 15%
Written exam 70%
Report 15%

online quiz

Feedback methods

Feedback given verbally and written.

Recommended reading

Students are not required to purchase any textbooks for this module. The following are recommended:   Corrosion : aqueous processes and passive films / edited by J.C. Scully. J. C Scully (John Christopher), 1934-; Herbert Herman London ; New York : Academic Press 1983 Available at Joule Library Main Level (620.1 TRE )   Corrosion of metals : physicochemical principles and current problems / Helmut Kaesche. Helmut Kaesche Berlin ; London : Springer c2003 Available at Joule Library Main Level (620.182 KAE )   Corrosion : for students of science and engineering / Kenneth R. Trethewey, John Chamberlain. Kenneth R. Trethewey (Kenneth Richard), 1950- John Chamberlain 1934- Harlow : Longman Scientific   Technical 1988 Available at Joule Library Main Level (620.182 TRE )   Elementary aspects of corrosion / by P. Neufeld (et al.). Peter Neufeld Redhill 2 Queensway, Redhill, Surrey RH1 1QS : Portcullis Press 1975 Available at Joule Library Upper Level (620.182 NEU )   Corrosion and Protection / edited by Einar Bardal. Einar Bardal editor. SpringerLink (Online service) London : Springer London, 2004 Online access available.   Corrosion and corrosion control : an introduction to corrosion science and engineering / (by) Herbert H. Uhlig. Herbert H. Uhlig (Herbert Henry), 1907- New York ; Chichester : Wiley 2nd ed. 1971 Available at Joule Library Main Level (620.182 UHL )   Basic corrosion and oxidation / John M. West. John M. West (John Michael), 1930- Chichester : Horwood 2nd ed. 1986 Available at Joule Library Main Level (620.182 WES )   Corrosion for Everybody / by Alec Groysman. Alec Groysman author. SpringerLink (Online service) Springer eBooks Dordrecht : Springer Netherlands, 2010 Online access available   Add to e-Shelf   Corrosion and surface chemistry of metals / Dieter Landolt. Dieter Landolt Lausanne : EPFL Press c2007 Available from Main Library Blue Area Floor 2 (620.182 LAN )   High temperature oxidation and corrosion of metals / by David John Young. D. J. Young (David John) Amsterdam ; Boston ; London : Elsevier 1st ed. 2008 Online access available   For reference only. Shreir's Corrosion  Tony Richardson (Coordinating Editor), Bob Cottis, Rob Lindsay, Stuart Lyon, David Scantlebury, Howard Stott, Mike Graham 4th ed. Elsevier; 2010.    For Information and advice on Link2Lists reading list software, see: 


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 34
Independent study hours
Independent study 116

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nicholas Stevens Unit coordinator

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