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The effect of temperature on the corrosion of aluminiumFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was conducted to study the effect of temperature on the corrosion of aluminum. The tests were done using aluminum plates placed in a salt solution and stored at various temperatures.

Hypothesis

Only the aluminum plates that are stored at a sufficiently high temperature will corrode.

Scientific Terms

Aluminum, corrosion, oxide coating, pH, diffusion process, electrochemical process

Background

Corrosion in aluminum

Aluminum is the most abundant  metal found on Earth and has excellent resistance to corrosion. This strong resistance to corrosion is due to the layer of oxide on the metal’s surface. Should the coating be damaged, it will immediately reform on the surface. This process will occur is most environments.

The oxide film that forms on the surface of aluminum is normally stable in solutions with pH values between 4.0 and 8.5. The conditions required for the corrosion of aluminum are that the oxide film must undergo continual abrasion or that the protective coating is damaged while being deprived of the oxygen supply required to rebuild the coating.

Increasing the temperature while the humidity of the environment remains constant will also increase the rate of corrosion. A higher temperature will stimulate the corrosion process by increasing the speed of the diffusion process as well as the electrochemical reactions taking place.
 

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Complexity level:
7
Project cost ($):
40
Time required:
2 hours for preparation, 5 days for observation
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

None