Oxidation of Metals

, Volume 30, Issue 5–6, pp 405–418 | Cite as

Metal oxidation: An electrochemical perspective

  • J. M. Bailey
  • I. M. Ritchie


A general electrochemical theory for the oxidation of metals is presented. The oxidizing metal is viewed as a self-driving electrochemical cell in which the oxide acts as both ionic and electronic conductor. The irreversibility of each of the charge-transfer steps in the reaction mechanism is expressed in terms of an overpotential, the sum of these being equal to the Gibbs free-energy change accompanying the reaction. From this equality, it is possible to calculate the reaction rate as a function of the change in free energy and of such system parameters as oxide conductivity. It is shown that the Wagner theory and the Mott-Cabrera theory can be derived as special cases of the general electrochemical theory. The common basis for the Wagner theory and the Hoar-Price theory of parabolic oxidation is also demonstrated.

Key words

metal oxidation Wagner theory Mott-Cabrera theory 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Bailey
    • 1
  • I. M. Ritchie
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physical and Inorganic ChemistryUniversity of Western AustraliaNedlands

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