Corrosion (Electrochemical Stability of Materials)

PSL Université Paris

Course Description

Optimizing the functional lifetime of a material is a fundamental driving force for the development of new materials and in fact has been a preoccupation of our civilization from prehistory to the present day. This course will survey the mechanisms that determine the stability and reactivity of metallic materials in contact with diverse environments. We will evoke a number of critical questions: How can we predict the lifetime of materials in given applications and environments? How can we apply short term tests to predict the long term behavior of the materials? How can we incorporate anticorrosion concepts directly into the design of a new material? We will seek a balanced presentation between fundamental physical chemistry useful for simulation of corrosion problems and the more intuitive approach often used in industry. Different viewpoints will be developed with an emphasis on the perspective of the developer of new, innovative materials. The class will begin with a thorough review of the electrochemical theory of corrosion. We will then apply the theory to an interpretation of corrosion mechanisms focusing on the dynamics of the corroding system, reviewing in turn diverse forms of corrosion for different materials and environments. This will take us from the simplest case of uniform corrosion to complex material / environmental interactions leading to a high degree of localized damage. Special emphasis will be placed on the importance of passive film stability and metallurgical microstructure. The significance of corrosion resistance relative to other physical properties of the material will be emphasized. Complex environments will also be considered such as occur during atmospheric corrosion when materials are exposed to rapidly changing and/or cyclic environments. We will also review examples of how anticorrosion concepts may be introduced into the design of new materials and assemblies of materials including passivity, inhibitors, and galvanic protection. As time permits we will also discuss coatings including metals, oxides and polymers and take a look at the mechanisms of corrosion at the metal/oxide /polymer interface for painted materials.

Subject area

Chemistry Materials


Application deadline



Recognize  the various forms of aqueous corrosion. Identify the corrosion risk for selected materials and environments. Understand the fundamental chemical / electrochemical mechanisms of corrosion. Apply the electrochemical theory of corrosion to identify mechanism and predict material lifetimes in a given environment. Incorporate anti corrosion or optimized corrosion concepts into the criteria of material choice and design.


Electrochemistry, physical chemistry of solutions, introductory metallurgy


15 h

Day of the weeks

Wednesday afternoon

Validation mode

Written Examination



PSL Université Paris


Chimie Paristech


Engineering cycle at Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris

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