Skip to main content
Log in

The Impact of Corrosion on Society

  • Symposium: Structural Materials for the Americas
  • Published:
Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Almost all metals and alloys are unstable in the Earth’s atmosphere and will always be susceptible to corrosion. The basic principles of corrosion are briefly described in order to explain the observations of corrosion, which render our personal items as well as industrial machinery and public property dysfunctional, aesthetically displeasing, and potentially dangerous. This is followed by a discussion, with case study examples, of three aspects of the impact of corrosion on society: (1) direct effects resulting in injury or death, (2) contamination of the environment, and (3) the financial costs.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14
Fig. 15
Fig. 16
Fig. 17
Fig. 18
Fig. 19
Fig. 20
Fig. 21
Fig. 22

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. D.A. Jones: Principles and Prevention of Corrosion, 2nd ed., Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1996.

    Google Scholar 

  2. M. Pourbaix: Atlas of Electrochemical Equilibria in Aqueous Solutions, National Association of Corrosion Engineers, Paris, 1974, vol. 1.

  3. T.E. Graedel and R.P. Frankenthal: J. Electrochem. Soc., 1990, vol. 137 (8), pp. 2385–94.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. R. Baboian and S.L. Pohlman: in ASM Handbook, Corrosion, M.B. Ives, ed., American Society for Metals International, Materials Park, OH, 1996, vol. 13, pp. 83–87.

  5. B.D. Craig: J. Failure Analysis Prevention, 2006, vol. 7 (2), pp. 12–19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. G.S. Frankel: J. Electrochem. Soc., 1998, vol. 145 (6), pp. 2186–98.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. R. Sooknah, S. Papavinasam, and R.W. Revie: in Corrosion 2007, National Association of Corrosion Engineers, Nashville, TN, 2007.

  8. J.F.D. Stott: Corr. Sci., 1993, vol. 35 (1–4), pp. 667–73.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. N. de Belie, J.J. Lenehan, C.R. Braam, B. Svennerstedt, M. Richardson, and B. Snock: J. Agric. Eng. Res., 2000, vol. 76, pp. 3–16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. W. de Muynck, N. de Belie, and W. Verstraete: Cement Concrete Compos., 2009, vol. 31 (1), pp. 163–70.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. R.A. Lane: J. Failure Analysis Prevention, 2005, vol. 5 (5) pp. 10–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. A.M. Olszewski: J. Failure Analysis Prevention, 2007, vol. 7 (4), pp. 239–46.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. B.M. Carrillo, S.B. Valdez, L. Vevela, L.T. Pérez, O.L. Vargos, and W.M. Schorr: Anti-Corrosion Methods Mater., 2004, vol. 51 (5), pp. 331–38.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. M.R. Louthan, G.R. Caskey, Jr., J.A. Donovan, and D.E. Rawl, Jr.: Mater. Sci. Eng., 1972, vol. 10, pp. 357–68.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. I. Eckerman: J. Loss Prevention Process Industry, 2005, vol. 18 (2), pp. 213–17.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. S. Kumar: The Lancet, 1993, vol. 341 (8854), pp. 1205–06.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. M. Brown: Bhopal Gas Disaster Legacy Lives on 25 Years Later, 2009 [cited 18 July 2010]; available from:

  18. M.J. Peterson: Bhopal Plant Disaster, International Dimensions of Ethics Education in Science and Engineering, 2009, available from:

  19. W. Andrew, R. James, and M. Handfield: Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Sinking of Mv Princess Ashika, Nuku’alofa, Kingdom of Tonga, 2010, p. 629.

    Google Scholar 

  20. C.M. Hansson: Metall. Mater. Trans. A, 1995, vol. 26A, pp. 1321–41.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. A. Rosenberg, C.M. Hansson, and C. Andrade: in The Materials Science of Concrete, J. Skalny, ed., The American Ceramic Society, Cleveland, OH, 1989, pp. 285–313.

  22. B. Isecke: in Corrosion of Reinforcement in Concrete Construction, C. Page, ed., The Concrete Society, London, 1983, pp. 79–89.

  23. NTSB: Aircraft Accident Report—Aloha Airlines Flight 243, Boeing 737-200, National Transportation Safety Board Bureau of Accident Investigation, Washington, DC, 1989.

  24. J. Assaad Abdelmseeh, J.C. Jofriet, and G.L. Hayward: Biosystems Eng., 2008, vol. 99 (3), pp. 382–89.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. L.M. Safley, Jr., P.W. Westerman, M.M. Kim, and D.S. Carr: Bioresource Technol., 1992, vol. 40 (1), pp. 53–61.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. OMAFRA: Corrosion of Roof Truss Gusset Plates in Farm Buildings [cited 20 July 2010]; available from:

  27. OMAFRA: Barn Fires: An Increasing Problem for Ontario Farmers [cited 20 July 2010]; available from:

  28. S. Papavinasam, R.W. Revie, and A.M. Doiron: in Corrosion 2006, National Association of Corrosion Engineers, San Diego, CA, 2006.

  29. G. Korbin: in Microbially Influenced Corrosion, G. Korbin, ed., NACE International, Houston, TX, 1993, pp. 90–100.

  30. Stories in the News: Stories in the News, Mary Kauffman, Ketchikan, AK, 2006.

  31. E. Meggert and L. Giguere: GC-2 Oil Transit Line Release, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Unalaska, AK, 2008, p. 2.

  32. EGCA Magazine: Vadnais Crews Repair Carlsbad’s Headline-Making Ruptured Pipeline, Engineering and General Contractors Association, San Diego, CA, 2007.

  33. B. Henry: North County Times, North County Times, San Diego, CA, April 11, 2007.

  34. G.H. Koch, M.P.H. Brongers, N.G. Thompson, Y.P. Virmani, and J.H. Payer: Corrosion Costs and Prevention Strategies in the United States, Federal Highway Administration, McLean, VA, 2002.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to C. M. Hansson.

Additional information

Manuscript submitted September 20, 2010.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hansson, C.M. The Impact of Corrosion on Society. Metall Mater Trans A 42, 2952–2962 (2011).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: