Significance and Use
4.1 When two dissimilar metals in electrical contact are exposed to a common electrolyte, one of the metals can undergo increased corrosion while the other can show decreased corrosion. This type of accelerated corrosion is referred to as galvanic corrosion. Because galvanic corrosion can occur at a high rate, it is important that a means be available to alert the user of products or equipment that involve the use of dissimilar metal combinations in an electrolyte of the possible effects of galvanic corrosion.
4.2 One method that is used to predict the effects of galvanic corrosion is to develop a galvanic series by arranging a list of the materials of interest in order of observed corrosion potentials in the environment and conditions of interest. The metal that will suffer increased corrosion in a galvanic couple in that environment can then be predicted from the relative position of the two metals in the series.
4.3 Types of Galvanic Series:
4.3.1 One type of Galvanic Series lists the metals of interest in order of their corrosion potentials, starting with the most active (electronegative) and proceeding in order to the most noble (electropositive). The potentials themselves (versus an appropriate reference half-cell) are listed so that the potential difference between metals in the series can be determined. This type of Galvanic Series has been put in graphical form as a series of bars displaying the range of potentials exhibited by the metal listed opposite each bar. Such a series is illustrated in Fig. 1.
4.3.2 The second type of galvanic series is similar to the first in that it lists the metals of interest in order of their corrosion potentials. The actual potentials themselves are not specified, however. Thus, only the relative position of materials in the series is known and not the magnitude of their potential difference. Such a series is shown in Fig. 2.
4.4 Use of a Galvanic Series:
4.4.1 Generally, upon coupling two metals in the Galvanic Series, the more active (electronegative) metal will have a tendency to undergo increased corrosion while the more noble (electropositive) metal will have a tendency to undergo reduced corrosion.
4.4.2 Usually, the further apart two metals are in the series, and thus the greater the potential difference between them, the greater is the driving force for galvanic corrosion. All other factors being equal, and subject to the precautions in Section 5, this increased driving force frequently, although not always, results in a greater degree of galvanic corrosion.
1.1 This guide covers the development of a galvanic series and its subsequent use as a method of predicting the effect that one metal can have upon another metal can when they are in electrical contact while immersed in an electrolyte. Suggestions for avoiding known pitfalls are included.
1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.
1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. Specific precautionary statements are given in Section 5.