Chemistry

Difference Between Corrosion and Oxidation

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Main Difference

The main difference between Corrosion and Oxidation is that Corrosion usually takes place on metal surfaces, whereas Oxidation takes place everywhere.

Corrosion vs. Oxidation

When an object is exposed to the external environment, it destroys due to different processes taking place on its surface, which is known as corrosion. On the other side, oxidation is the process of loss of electrons by an atom, molecule, or ion, etc. during a reaction.

So, corrosion is a kind of oxidation. It mostly takes place on metal surfaces. On the other side, oxidation takes place everywhere. Corrosion occurs in the presence of oxygen. On the flip side, oxygen is not essential for oxidation. It may also be taking place in the absence of oxygen.

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Corrosion is a type of irreversible process. It cannot be restored once occurred. On the other side, oxidation is half of the complete redox reactions. Corrosion is a harmful process. It causes the destruction of material that is in direct contact with the external environment—for example, rusting of iron, etc. On the other hand, the oxidation process is beneficial. It provides help in different laboratory processes.

Comparison Chart

CorrosionOxidation
The destruction of a material, when exposed to the external environment due to different reactions taking place on its surface, is known as corrosion.The process of loss of electrons by an atom, molecule, or ion, etc. is known as oxidation.
Presence of Oxygen
It takes place in the presence of oxygen.Oxygen is not essential; it may also be taking place in the absence of oxygen.
Occurrence
It mostly takes place on metal surfaces.Oxidation takes place everywhere.
Procedure
It occurs when the surface of a metal or metal atoms get oxidized in the presence of water and oxygen.It is the process of loss of electrons by an atom, molecule, or ion, etc. during a reaction.
Type of Process
Corrosion is a type of irreversible process.Oxidation is half of the full redox reactions.
Impact
It is a harmful process that causes the destruction of material that is in direct contact with the external environment. For example, rusting of iron, etc.This process is advantageous. It provides help in different laboratory processes.
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What is Corrosion?

Corrosion is known as a natural process that causes degradation in the properties of an object or material, i.e., appearance, structure, strength, and permeability, etc. It is a type of oxidation. It occurs when the surface of a metal or metal atoms get oxidized in the presence of water and oxygen. It takes place due to different chemical reactions that are occurring between the components of air and the surface of the material.

Corrosion mostly occurs in metal surfaces, but it can also be in nonmetal surfaces. Its most common example is rusting. It changes the color and quality of steel. So, there are different varieties of steel that are used to save the metal from corrosion by changing its chemical composition. On the other side, tabletop and skin are the two examples of nonmetal surfaces that face corrosion. If some corrosive chemicals are added on these surfaces, they will destroy the surface. Examples of such chemicals are strong acids and strong bases.

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The metal corrosion is also called as metallic oxidation. This is because, in this process, the atoms on the surface of the metal get oxidized by oxygen present in the air in the presence of water, e.g., during corrosion of iron, Fe+2 in steel oxidized to Fe+3. There are different factors that control the rate of corrosion such as the surface area of metal that is open to the air and the humidity of the air, etc.ion

Corrosion can be avoided in different ways, for example, by environmental modification, use of paints, use of corrosion inhibitors, i.e., chemicals that are used to inhibit corrosion by avoiding oxidation, galvanization, i.e., zinc coating to avoid rusting and through electroplating, etc.

What is Oxidation?

Oxidation is the process that involves the loss of electrons by an atom, molecule, or ion, etc. during a reaction. Oxygen is not vital for oxidation. It may also be taking place in the absence of oxygen. As a neutral atom is made up of an equal number of protons and electrons so, the loss of electrons will give a positive charge to the atom. The state of oxidation is known as the oxidation state. When oxidation occurs in an atom, its oxidation state increases positively. The opposite of oxidation is known as reduction.

The oxidation and reduction reaction takes place at the same time and collectively known as the redox reaction. So, oxidation is half of the complete redox reactions. It releases the electrons that are then used by the reduction reaction. Compounds that oxidize the other compounds are called as oxidizing agents. On the other side, the compounds that get oxidized are called as reducing agent.

Oxidation is a beneficial process. It provides help in different laboratory processes. Moreover, it helps the living tissues in many ways, such as weight loss, a boost in metabolism, and lowers the risk of cancer, etc. But, it is dangerous for metals where it causes rusting.

Key Differences

  1. The destruction of a material when exposed to the external environment due to different reactions taking place on its surface is known as corrosion whereas, the process of loss of electrons by an atom, molecule, or ion, etc. is known as oxidation.
  2. Corrosion occurs in the presence of oxygen. On the other hand, oxygen is not essential for oxidation. It may also be taking place in the absence of oxygen.
  3. Corrosion mostly takes place on metal surfaces. Conversely, oxidation takes place everywhere.
  4. Corrosion occurs when the surface of a metal or metal atoms get oxidized in the presence of water and oxygen. On the flip side, oxidation is the process of loss of electrons by an atom, molecule, or ion, etc. during a reaction.
  5. Corrosion is a type of irreversible process. On the other side, oxidation is half of the complete redox reactions.
  6. Corrosion is a harmful process that causes the destruction of material that is in direct contact with the external environment. For example, rusting of iron, etc. on the other hand, the process of oxidation is beneficial. It provides help in different laboratory processes.

Conclusion

The above discussion summarizes that corrosion is a process that destroys a material when exposed to an external environment due to different reactions taking place on its surface. On the flip side, oxidation is the process of loss of electrons by an atom, molecule, or ion, etc. that may be both harmful or beneficial.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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