Review # 3

February, 2007

Principles of Corrosion Engineering and Corrosion Control
By Zaki Ahmad, Elsevier, 2006, 656 pages, (ISBN -13:978-0-7506-5924-6)

Reviewed by
Dr. Digby D. Macdonald,

Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering,
Director, Center for Electrochemical Science and Technology,
Pennsylvania State University,
201 Steidle Building,
University Park, PA 16802

Tel: (814) 863-7772
Fax: (814) 863-4718

Many books have been published in recent years on corrosion and corrosion control, but, in the opinion of this Reviewer, few can compete with the text by Dr. Zaki Ahmad in terms of lucidity, completeness, and usefulness.  The book is written at the basic principles/introduction level and combines straight forward explanations of the theoretical underpinnings of corrosion processes with many excellent examples of how the principles are applied in practice.  The text is particularly well-illustrated with photographs, micrographs, and diagrams describing corrosion processes and corrosion control strategies, and these illustrations are closely coordinated with the text.  Where appropriate, sample calculations (for example, of corrosion current density from corrosion rate) are given in detail, allowing the reader to closely follow the arguments being advanced.  Also, the book contains an unusually good bibliography for further reading.  The bibliography is arranged in a manner that makes finding a particular reference easy to do, and most of the important papers that have been published over the past several decades are included.  Other outstanding features include the comprehensive problem sets and unit conversion tables.  The problem sets render the book ideal as a teaching text and the unit conversion tables and the various tables of materials properties make the book equally valuable as a research text.

            The book is divided into twelve comprehensive chapters, including: Introduction, Basic Concepts in Corrosion, Corrosion Kinetics, Types of Corrosion, Cathodic Protection, Corrosion Control by Inhibition, Coatings, Corrosion Prevention by Design, Selection of Materials for Corrosive Environment(s), Atmospheric Corrosion, Boiler Corrosion, and Concrete Corrosion.  Each chapter begins with a statement of what is to be covered and a short section providing a historical perspective.  Some of these are most illuminating, such as Pliny the Elder (AD 23 – 79) writing about “spoiled iron” (rust), Herodotus (fifth century BC) suggesting the use of tin to protect iron, and Davy in 1824 proposing the use of zinc as a sacrificial anode for iron, well before the development of the electrochemical theory of corrosion.  The book strikes a good balance in the use of text and mathematics; enough mathematics is incorporated to retain precision of argument, but not so much as to discourage a reader from reading the book at his or her leisure.  The one negative aspect that the Reviewer found was the plotting of potential on the vertical axis and the current on the horizontal axis, when presenting polarization diagrams.  This convention is a left-over from the days when the current was the independent variable and the potential was the dependent variable.  This state has not existed since the advent of the potentiostat about fifty years ago!  Hopefully, the problem will be corrected in future editions.

            Production of the book by the publisher is first class.  The font, line spacing, and text structure make the book easy and pleasant to read and the index is comprehensive.  This book will surely find a place in every class and laboratory dealing with corrosion issues.