Sep 6, 2012Science and Technology
Sensing and preventing rust

The dominant method for evaluating rust characteristics of a metal in a certain environment is dead simple. Museums keen on the condition of their metal artworks, for example, will keep small metal "coupons" in the environment close to the artwork to keep corrosion in check. The problem is that checking these coupons can be a long and laborious process. Now, scientists working under the EU-funded MUSECORR have developed a similar sensor, but one that is much more sensitive and works in real-time. Their technology runs a current across such a coupon -- this one only 50nm thick -- and measures for changes in resistance to determine how much the metal has corroded. "The increased sensitivity will prove useful in many mildly-corrosive environments, like atmospheric corrosion both indoors and outdoors, says Robert H. Heidersbach, Jr., a corrosion expert based in Fort Lauderdale. They anticipate that this type of sensor will be extremely useful to a variety of manufacturing industries.

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