The eating away and eventual destruction of metals and alloys by chemical attack. The rusting of ordinary iron and steel is the most common form of corrosion. Rusting takes place in moist air, when the iron combines with oxygen and water to form a brown-orange deposit of rust (hydrated iron oxide). The rate of corrosion is increased where the atmosphere is polluted with sulfur dioxide. Salty road and air conditions accelerate the rusting of automobile bodies.
Corrosion is largely an electrochemical process, and acidic and salty conditions favor the establishment of electrolytic cells on the metal, which cause it to be eaten away. Other examples of corrosion include the green deposit that forms on copper and bronze, called verdigris, a basic copper carbonate. The tarnish on silver is a corrosion product, a film of silver sulfide.