Corrosion is a natural process, and under certain conditions it can happen to anything – from a building to a car, protecting against corrosion with things such as plasma spray is an important job as it ensures that machines and structures that we rely on are kept safe.
Corrosion occurs in metals – it happens when atoms on the surface of the metal are oxidised – this is a process that happens at atomic level where metals lose electrons to oxygen, resulting in the metal then becoming damaged. A lot of treatments can be done to protect metals from this and there is always ongoing research into treatments – for example many people fear the risk of radioactive contamination, as the containers storing nuclear waste become corroded.
As well as this, metal is often used in replacements of joints such as hips and knees -if the metal in the joints becomes corrode it can lead to poisoning of the blood and death, so you can see how important it is that metals are protected and well maintained to ensure these problems don’t occur.
Some oxidisation can benefit the underlying metal, however. Reacting with the air, the metal can take on a kind of protective coating which prevents and further damage to the structure. It is however still extremely important to check internally if any damage had occurred, as this hidden damage can often be the most dangerous of all and cause all manner of nasty accidents if left unchecked.