Many water contacting metals depend on an adherent oxide film to protect them from
corrodents like oxygen and sulfur (called “passivation”).
However, passivating oxide layers sometimes accelerate the failure of the metal.
Why is this?
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Under a situation of erosion-corrosion, the protective oxide layer can be abraded, exposing the underlying metal. A new passive layer would normally readily form by oxidation and protect the metal, but if the erosion rate is sufficiently high, a protective film will not have time to form before it is eroded....
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