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As a wire corrodes, its electrical resistance increases due to a loss of metallic cross-sectional area. By continuously monitoring resistance, corrosion can be monitored in the ambient where the wire is exposed. Although simple in principle, this technique has a number of practical problems when applied to atmospheric corrosion tests used with electronic equipment. These problems include: (1) the need to use very small diameter wires which are quite fragile; (2) the need to clean the wire in a reproducible and effective initialization process; and (3) the need to hold the wire in a resistance-measuring fixture without using solder and solder flux. This paper describes methods developed to overcome these problems and to implement the technique in a practical way for use as corrosion rate monitors for mixed gas atmospheric corrosion tests. Data are shown to illustrate the use of the method and to show the degree of reproducibility obtained between separate monitoring wires. The application of the method to fundamental studies of the effect of shielding on atmospheric corrosion is also illustrated.
copper, atmospheric corrosion, annealing, heat treatment
AT&T Bell Laboratories, Whippany, NJ