Why did the metal objects in the Titanic corrode very slowly?


Sarah Hughes

According to Brian Todd, a consultant for the Nickel Development Institute, "Seawater, although corrosive, does not normally cause rapid catastrophic failures. For example, carbon steel immersed in seawater corrodes at about 0.1 mm/yr; whereas in, say, dilute acid, it corrodes at 100 times that rate."

The rate of corrosion would be even slower in the deep ocean, because dissolved oxygen concentration is lower (oxygen and water work together to corrode iron) and because the water is very cold. The coldness of the water not only slows down the rate of the corrosion reactions directly, but also slows biological activities that can contribute to corrosion.

Author: Fred Senese senese@antoine.frostburg.edu



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