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Designation: G 15 07

Standard Terminology Relating to

Corrosion and Corrosion Testing1
This standard is issued under the fixed designation G 15; the number immediately following the designation indicates the year of original
adoption or, in the case of revision, the year of last revision. A number in parentheses indicates the year of last reapproval. A superscript
epsilon (e) indicates an editorial change since the last revision or reapproval.
This standard has been approved for use by agencies of the Department of Defense.

1. Scope noble (positive) direction due to current flow. (See polar-

1.1 This terminology covers commonly used terms in the ization.)
field of corrosion. Related terms may be found in Terminolo- anodic protectiontechnique to reduce the corrosion rate of a
gies D 16, D 4538, G 40, or other ASTM terminology stan- metal by polarizing it into its passive region where dissolu-
dards. All terms defined by ASTM committees may be found in tion rates are low.
the ASTM Dictionary of Engineering & Technology. anolyteelectrolyte adjacent to the anode of an electrolytic
2. Referenced Documents auxiliary electrodeSee counter electrode.
breakdown potentialleast noble potential where pitting or

2.1 ASTM Standards:

D 16 Terminology for Paint, Related Coatings, Materials, crevice corrosion, or both, will initiate and propagate.
and Applications cathodeelectrode of an electrolytic cell at which reduction is
D 4538 Terminology Relating to Protective Coating and the principal reaction. (Electrons flow toward the cathode in
Lining Work for Power Generation Facilities the external circuit.)
G 40 Terminology Relating to Wear and Erosion cathodic corrosioncorrosion of a metal when it is a cathode.
(It usually happens to metals because of a rise in pH at the
3. Terminology cathode or as a result of the formation of hydrides.)
cathodic inhibitorcorrosion inhibitor whose primary action
AC impedanceSee electrochemical impedance.
activenegative direction of electrode potential. (Also used to is to slow the kinetics of the cathodic reaction, producing a
describe corrosion and its associated potential range when an negative shift in corrosion potential.
electrode potential is more negative than an adjacent de- cathodic polarizationchange of the electrode potential in
pressed corrosion rate [passive] range.) the active (negative) direction due to current flow. (See
anionnegatively charged ion. polarization.)
cathodic protectiontechnique to reduce the corrosion rate of
anodeelectrode of an electrolytic cell at which oxidation is
a metal surface by making it the cathode of an electrochemi-
the principal reaction. (Electrons flow away from the anode
in the external circuit. It is usually the electrode where cal cell.
corrosion occurs and metal ions enter solution.) catholyteelectrolyte adjacent to the cathode of an electro-
anode corrosion efficiencyratio of the actual corrosion lytic cell.
(weight loss) of an anode to the theoretical corrosion (weight cationpositively charged ion.
caustic crackingstress corrosion cracking of metals in
loss) calculated by Faradays law from the quantity of
caustic solutions. (See also stress-corrosion cracking.)
electricity that has passed.
caustic embrittlementSee caustic cracking.
anodic inhibitorcorrosion inhibitor whose primary action is
cavitationformation and rapid collapse within a liquid of
to slow the kinetics of the anodic reaction, producing a
cavities or bubbles that contain vapor or gas or both.
positive shift in corrosion potential.
cavitation corrosionconjoint action of cavitation-erosion
anodic polarizationchange of the electrode potential in the
and corrosion.
cavitation damagedegradation of a solid body resulting
from its exposure to cavitation. (This may include loss of
This terminology is under the jurisdiction of ASTM Committee G01 on material, surface deformation, or changes in properties or
Corrosion of Metals and is the direct responsibility of Subcommittee G01.02 on
Current edition approved April 1, 2007. Published April 2007. Originally cavitation-erosionloss of material from a solid surface due
approved in 1971. Last previous edition approved in 2006 as G 1506. to mechanical action of continuing exposure to cavitation.

Copyright ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, PO Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959, United States.

G 15 07
chemical conversion coatingprotective or decorative non- deposit corrosionlocalized corrosion under or around a
metallic coating produced in situ by chemical reaction of a deposit or collection of material on a metal surface. (See also
metal with a chosen environment. (It is often used to prepare crevice corrosion.)
the surface prior to the application of an organic coating.) dezincificationSee parting; specific to copper-zinc alloys.
concentration cellelectrolytic cell, the emf of which is differential aeration cell (oxygen concentration cell)
caused by a difference in concentration of some component concentration cell caused by differences in oxygen concen-
in the electrolyte. (This difference leads to the formation of tration along the surface of a metal in an electrolyte. (See
discrete cathode and anode regions.) concentration cell.)
corrosionchemical or electrochemical reaction between a diffusion limited current densitycurrent density, often
material, usually a metal, and its environment that produces referred to as limiting current density, that corresponds to the

a deterioration of the material and its properties. maximum transfer rate that a particular species can sustain
corrosion fatigueprocess in which a metal fractures prema- due to the limitation of diffusion.
turely under conditions of simultaneous corrosion and re- electrochemical admittancereciprocal of the electrochemi-
peated cyclic loading at lower stress levels or fewer cycles cal impedance, DI/DE.
than would be required in the absence of the corrosive electrochemical cellelectrochemical system consisting of an
environment. anode and a cathode in metallic contact and immersed in an
corrosion fatigue strengthmaximum repeated stress that electrolyte. (The anode and cathode may be different metals
can be endured by a metal without failure under definite or dissimilar areas on the same metal surface.)
conditions of corrosion and fatigue and for a specific number electrochemical impedancefrequency dependent, complex
of stress cycles and a specified period of time. valued proportionality factor, DE/DI, between the applied
corrosion inhibitorchemical substance or combination of potential (or current) and the response current (or potential)
substances that, when present in the proper concentration in an electrochemical cell. This factor becomes the imped-
and forms in the environment, prevents or reduces corrosion. ance when the perturbation and response are related linearly
corrosion potentialpotential of a corroding surface in an (the factor value is independent of the perturbation magni-
electrolyte relative to a reference electrode measured under tude) and the response is caused only by the perturbation.
open-circuit conditions. The value may be related to the corrosion rate when the
corrosion rateamount of corrosion occurring in unit time. measurement is made at the corrosion potential.
(For example, mass change per unit area per unit time; electrochemical noisefluctuations of potential or current, or
penetration per unit time.) both, originating from uncontrolled variations in a corrosion
counter electrodeelectrode in an electrochemical cell that is process.
used to transfer current to or from a test electrode. electrochemical potential (electrochemical tension)partial
couponspecimen, usually flat, but occasionally curved or derivative of the total electrochemical free energy of the
cylindrical. system with respect to the number of moles of the constitu-
crevice corrosionlocalized corrosion of a metal surface at, ent in a solution when all other factors are constant.
or immediately adjacent to, an area that is shielded from full (Analogous to the chemical potential of the constituent
exposure to the environment because of close proximity except that it includes the electrical as well as the chemical
between the metal and the surface of another material. contributions to the free energy.)
critical anodic current densitymaximum anodic current electrode potentialpotential of an electrode in an electrolyte
density observed in the active region for a metal or alloy as measured against a reference electrode. (The electrode
electrode that exhibits active-passive behavior in an envi- potential does not include any resistance losses in potential
ronment. in either the solution or external circuit. It represents the
critical humidityrelative humidity above which the atmo- reversible work to move a unit charge from the electrode
spheric corrosion rate of some metals increases sharply. surface through the solution to the reference electrode.)
critical pitting potentialleast noble potential where pitting electrolysisproduction of chemical changes of the electro-
corrosion will initiate and propagate. (See breakdown poten- lyte by the passage of current through an electrochemical
tial.) cell.
current densityelectric current to or from a unit area of an electrolytic cleaningprocess of removing soil, scale, or
electrode surface. corrosion products from a metal surface by subjecting it as
current efficiencyratio of the electrochemical equivalent an electrode to an electric current in an electrolytic bath.
current density for a specific reaction to the total applied Electromotive Force Series (EMF Series)list of elements
current density. arranged according to their standard electrode potentials,
deactivationprocess of prior removal of the active corrosive with noble metals such as gold being positive and active
constituents, usually oxygen, from a corrosive liquid by metals such as zinc being negative.
controlled corrosion of expendable metal or by other chemi- embrittlementsevere loss of ductility or toughness or both,
cal means, thereby making the liquid less corrosive. of a material, usually a metal or alloy.
dealloyingSee parting. environmentally-assisted crackinginitiation or accelera-
depolarizationnot a preferred term. (See polarization.) tion of a cracking process due to the conjoint action of a

G 15 07
chemical environment and tensile stress. form of corrosion but is not recommended because of its use
equilibrium (reversible) potentialpotential of an electrode in metallurgy for the decomposition of carbide to graphite.)
in an electrolytic solution when the forward rate of a given hot corrosionaccelerated corrosion of metal surfaces that
reaction is exactly equal to the reverse rate. (The equilibrium results from the combined effect of oxidation and reactions
potential can only be defined with respect to a specific with sulfur compounds and other contaminants, such as
electrochemical reaction.) chlorides, to form a molten salt on a metal surface which
erosionprogressive loss of material from a solid surface due fluxes, destroys, or disrupts the normal protective oxide.
to mechanical interaction between that surface and a fluid, a hydrogen blisteringformation of blisters on or below a
multi-component fluid, or solid particles carried with the metal surface from excessive internal hydrogen pressure.
fluid. (Hydrogen may be formed during cleaning, plating, corro-
erosion-corrosionconjoint action involving corrosion and sion, and so forth.)
erosion in the presence of a moving corrosive fluid, leading hydrogen embrittlementhydrogen-induced cracking or se-
to the accelerated loss of material. vere loss of ductility caused by the presence of hydrogen in
exchange current densityrate of charge transfer per unit the metal.
area when an electrode reaches dynamic equilibrium (at its immunitystate of resistance to corrosion or anodic dissolu-
reversible potential) in a solution; that is, the rate of anodic tion of a metal caused by thermodynamic stability of the
charge transfer (oxidation) balances the rate of cathodic metal.
charge transfer (reduction). impingement corrosionform of erosion-corrosion generally
exfoliationcorrosion that proceeds laterally from the sites of associated with the local impingement of a high-velocity,
initiation along planes parallel to the surface, generally at flowing fluid against a solid surface.
grain boundaries, forming corrosion products that force impressed currentelectric current supplied by a device
metal away from the body of the material, giving rise to a employing a power source that is external to the electrode
layered appearance. system. (An example is dc current for cathodic protection.)
external circuitwires, connectors, measuring devices, cur- intensiostaticSee galvanostatic.
rent sources, and so forth, that are used to bring about or intercrystalline corrosionSee intergranular corrosion.
measure the desired electrical conditions within the test cell. intergranular corrosionpreferential corrosion at or adja-
filiform corrosioncorrosion that occurs under some coatings cent to the grain boundaries of a metal or alloy.
in the form of randomly distributed threadlike filaments. internal oxidationformation of isolated particles of corro-
fretting corrosiondeterioration at the interface between sion products beneath the metal surface. (This occurs as the
contacting surfaces as the result of corrosion and slight result of preferential oxidation of certain alloy constituents
oscillatory slip between the two surfaces. by inward diffusion of oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and so
galvanic corrosionaccelerated corrosion of a metal because forth.)
of an electrical contact with a more noble metal or nonme- knife-line attackintergranular corrosion of an alloy, usually
tallic conductor in a corrosive electrolyte. stabilized stainless steel, along a line adjoining or in contact
galvanic couplepair of dissimilar conductors, commonly with a weld after heating into the sensitization temperature
metals, in electrical contact. (See galvanic corrosion.) range.
galvanic currentelectric current between metals or conduc- local action corrosioncorrosion caused by local corrosion
tive nonmetals in a galvanic couple. cells on a metal surface.
galvanic serieslist of metals and alloys arranged according local corrosion cellelectrochemical cell created on a metal
to their relative corrosion potentials in a given environment. surface because of a difference in potential between adjacent
galvanodynamicrefers to a technique wherein current, con- areas on that surface.
tinuously varied at a selected rate, is applied to an electrode localized corrosioncorrosion at discrete sites, for example,
in an electrolyte. pitting, crevice corrosion, and stress corrosion cracking.
galvanostaircaserefers to a galvanostep technique for po- long-line currentelectric current through the earth from an
larizing an electrode in a series of constant current steps anodic to a cathodic area of a continuous metallic structure.
wherein the time duration and current increments or decre- (Usually used only where the areas are separated by consid-
ments are equal for each step. erable distance and where the current results from
galvanostaticexperimental technique whereby an electrode concentration-cell action.)
is maintained at a constant current in an electrolyte. Luggin probe or Luggin-Haber capillarydevice used in
galvanosteprefers to a technique in which an electrode is measuring the potential of an electrode with a significant
polarized in a series of current increments or decrements. current density imposed on its surface. (The probe mini-
grain droppingdislodgement and loss of a grain or grains mizes the IR drop that would otherwise be included in the
(crystals) from a metal surface as a result of intergranular measurement and without significantly disturbing the current
corrosion. distribution on the specimen.)
graphitic corrosiondeterioration of metallic constituents in macrocell corrosioncorrosion of a metal embedded in
gray cast iron, which leaves the graphitic particles intact. porous media (for example, concrete or soil) caused by
(The term graphitization is commonly used to identify this concentration or galvanic cells which exist on a scale at least


G 15 07
as large as the smallest major dimension of the corroding polarization resistanceslope (dE/di) at the corrosion poten-
item (for example, the diameter of a bar or pipe). tial of a potential (E)current density (i) curve. (It is
metal dustingaccelerated deterioration of metals in carbon- inversely proportional to the corrosion current density when
aceous gases at elevated temperatures to form a dust-like the polarization resistance technique is applicable.)
corrosion product. potentiodynamicrefers to a technique wherein the potential
metallizingSee thermal spraying. of an electrode with respect to a reference electrode is varied
microbial corrosioncorrosion that is affected by the action at a selected rate by application of a current through the
of microorganisms in the environment. electrolyte.
microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC)corrosion potentiostaircaserefers to a potentiostep technique for po-
inhibited or accelerated by the presence or activity, or both, larizing an electrode in a series of constant potential steps
of microorganisms. wherein the time duration and potential increments or
mixed potentialpotential of a specimen (or specimens in a decrements are equal for each step.
galvanic couple) when two or more electrochemical reac- potentiostatinstrument for automatically maintaining an
tions are occurring simultaneously. electrode in an electrolyte at a constant potential or con-
noblepositive (increasingly oxidizing) direction of electrode trolled potentials with respect to a suitable reference elec-
potential. trode.
noble metalmetal with a standard electrode potential that is potentiostatictechnique for maintaining a constant electrode
more noble (positive) than that of hydrogen. potential.
occluded cellelectrochemical cell created at a localized site potentiosteprefers to a technique in which an electrode is
on a metal surface which has been partially obstructed from polarized in a series of potential increments or decrements.
the bulk environment. poultice corrosionSee deposit corrosion.
open-circuit potentialpotential of an electrode measured Pourbaix diagram (electrode potential-pH diagram)
with respect to a reference electrode or another electrode graphical representation showing regions of thermodynamic

when no current flows to or from it. stability of species in metal-water electrolyte systems.
overvoltagechange in potential of an electrode from its primary passive potential (passivation potential)potential
equilibrium or steady state value when current is applied. corresponding to the maximum active current density (criti-
oxidationloss of electrons by a constituent of a chemical cal anodic current density) of an electrode that exhibits
reaction. (Also refers to the corrosion of a metal that is active-passive corrosion behavior.
exposed to an oxidizing gas at elevated temperatures.) protection potentialmost noble potential where pitting and
partingselective corrosion of one or more components of a crevice corrosion will not propagate.
solid solution alloy. redox potentialpotential of a reversible oxidation-reduction
parting limitminimum concentration of a more noble com- electrode measured with respect to a reference electrode,
ponent in an alloy, above which parting does not occur in a corrected to the hydrogen electrode, in a given electrolyte.
specific environment. reductiongain of electrons by a constituent of a chemical
passivationprocess in metal corrosion by which metals reaction.
become passive. (See passive.) reference electrodeelectrode having a stable and reproduc-
passivatortype of inhibitor which appreciably changes the ible potential, which is used in the measurement of other
potential of a metal to a more noble (positive) value. electrode potentials.
passivestate of the metal surface characterized by low rest potentialSee open-circuit potential.
corrosion rates in a potential region that is strongly oxidizing rougeiron containing film that discolors the surface of
for the metal. stainless steel and other surfaces present in high purity water
passive-active cellcorrosion cell in which the anode is a usually at elevated temperatures.
metal in the active state and the cathode is the same metal in rustcorrosion product consisting primarily of hydrated iron
the passive state. oxide. (A term properly applied only to ferrous alloys.)
patinacorrosion product film, usually green, that forms on sampleportion of material taken from a larger quantity and
the surface of copper and copper alloys exposed to the representative of the whole, to be used for test purposes.
atmosphere. (Also used to describe a weathered surface of season crackingSee stress-corrosion cracking.
any metal.) sensitizationprocess resulting in a metallurgical condition
pittingcorrosion of a metal surface, confined to a point or which causes susceptibility of an alloy to intergranular
small area, that takes the form of cavities. corrosion or intergranular environmentally assisted cracking
pitting factorratio of the depth of the deepest pit resulting in a specific environment.
from corrosion divided by the average penetration as calcu- specimenprepared portion of a sample upon which a test is
lated from weight loss. intended to be performed
polarizationchange from the open-circuit electrode poten- stray current corrosioncorrosion caused by electric current
tial as the result of the passage of current. from a source external to the intended electrical circuit, for
polarization admittancereciprocal of polarization resis- example, extraneous current in the earth.
tance (di/dE). stress-corrosion crackingcracking process that requires the

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simultaneous action of a corrodent and sustained tensile thermogalvanic corrosioncorrosive effect resulting from
stress. (This excludes corrosion-reduced sections which fail the galvanic cell caused by a thermal gradient across the
by fast fracture. It also excludes intercrystalline or transcrys- metal surface.
talline corrosion which can disintegrate an alloy without transpassive regionregion of an anodic polarization curve,
either applied or residual stress.) noble to and above the passive potential range, in which
subsurface corrosionSee internal oxidation. there is a significant increase in current density (increased
sulfidationreaction of a metal or alloy with a sulfur- metal dissolution) as the potential becomes more positive
containing species to produce a sulfur compound that forms (noble).
on or beneath the surface of the metal or alloy. tuberculationformation of localized corrosion products that
Tafel slopeslope of the straight line portion of a polarization appear on a surface as knoblike prominences (tubercules).
curve, usually occurring at more than 50 mV from the uniform corrosioncorrosion that proceeds at about the same
open-circuit potential, when presented in a semi-logarithmic rate over a metal surface.
plot in terms of volts per logarithmic cycle of current density weld decaynot a preferred term. Integranular corrosion,
(commonly referred to as volts per decade). usually of stainless steels or certain nickel-base alloys, that
thermal sprayinggroup of processes wherein finely divided occurs as the result of sensitization in the heat-affected zone
metallic or nonmetallic materials are deposited in a molten during the welding operation.
or semimolten condition to form a coating. (The coating working electrodetest or specimen electrode in an electro-
material may be in the form of powder, ceramic rod, wire, or chemical cell.
molten materials.)

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