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Wearing away due to chemical reactions, mainly oxidation (seeoxidation-reduction, oxide). It occurs whenever a gas or liquid chemically attacks an exposed surface, often a metal, and is accelerated by warm temperatures and by acids and salts. Normally, corrosion products (e.g., rust, patina) stay on the surface and protect it. Removing these deposits reexposes the surface, and corrosion continues. Some materials resist corrosion naturally; others can be treated to protect them (e.g., by coating, painting, galvanizing, or anodizing).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on corrosion, visit Britannica.com.