Premature corrosion failures are often due to unanticipated environmental conditions. Identifying those conditions after the fact can be a challenge. However, since each specific chemical compound in a corrosion deposit is formed in a specific range of thermodynamic conditions, an analysis of the corrosion deposit can often help determine the cause of the corrosion. This paper will describe the conditions under which various corrosion products of iron are formed, provide some case histories where a corrosion product analysis proved helpful, and discuss the limitations of this technique.

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