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Abstract The aim of this investigation is to determine the effects of several factors have on the corrosion of iron.

The

several factors are different electrolytes, bent iron nail, galvanized iron nail and iron in contact with dissimilar metals. 6 hypotheses are developed and an experiment has conducted to test them. The data that was collected do not wholly agree with any of the 6 hypotheses, because of the errors and anomalies presented in the experiment and data.
Introduction

Iron is an element that is widely used as a construction material in many different things, such as ships, shipping containers, water pipes However, as a metal, it corrodes easily. To prevent iron corrosion on constructions and buildings, government uses millions of dollars every year. Therefore, understanding the chemistry behind iron corrosion and how fast it would corrode when the environmental condition and its own structure change. This investigation aims to explore the effects that several factors have on the corrosion of iron. They are, different electrolytes, placing iron with dissimilar metals, bent iron and iron galvanized with zinc. Corrosion is the deterioration of matters, usually metals, when interacting with the surrounding environment. Often, the properties of the matter would be altered after the degeneration process. This type of chemical reaction is an oxidation-reduction reaction (redox reaction) as well as an electrochemical process. (Electrochem. No Date) All metals are unstable, except those noble metals such as gold. In nature, they usually exist in the form of metal ores, where they form ionic bonds with other elements. When humans extract the metals from the ores, metals become unstable. They seek to return to the stabilise state. In order to do so, they therefore, undergo corrosion, losing electrons to form ionic compounds with the non-metals. (Corrosion Doctors. No Date) For corrosion to occur, three basic elements must be present. They are anode, cathode and electrolyte. An anode refers to substances that lose electrons to the electrolyte. This part refers as the oxidation. The cathode receives all the free electrons from the anode. This is known as the reduction. The electrolyte contains ions that provide a medium to conduct the electrons movement from the anode to the cathode. (Corrosionist. No Date) One of the most common examples of iron corrosion is the exposure to water droplets containing dissolved oxygen. In here, iron itself is the anode, while the dissolved oxygen serves as the cathode, and the moisture (water) is the electrolyte. During the corrosion process, the iron gives up electrons, becoming iron ions.

The oxygen retrieved the free electrons from the moist, forming hydroxide ions.

Then, the iron ions combine with the hydroxide ions to form iron hydroxide, Fe(OH)2.
Source: http://www.corrosionist.com/Iron_Corrosion.htm

This however, is only the primary product of iron corrosion. There are several other forms of products such as Fe2(OH)3 and Fe3O4. These are all categorized as iron oxides, or rust and do not obtain the properties of iron. Unlike any other metals, these corrosion products are not capable of preventing corrosion. Although, some of the oxides remain on the surface iron after the reaction, this do not stop the water from attacking the unaffected region of iron. Iron corrosion would not stop until the entire metal is corroded. (Chemtopics. No date) The above example demonstrates the basic chemistry of how iron corrodes in the presence of water or moisturised air. However, changing the properties of the medium (or electrolyte) would alter the rate of iron corrosion. For instance, the addition of sodium chloride and other ions greatly increases the rate of corrosion. The reason being is that ions are charged particles and adding more of them into water increases its ability to conduct electrical current. That means, more electrons can be carried from the anode to the cathode. Hence the corrosion process happens quicker than in the water. (Cli Houston) Furthermore, the pH of the electrolyte can also have an effect on the corrosion rate of iron. Iron tends to corrode faster in acid. Acid environment contains more hydrogen ions. During corrosion, hydrogen ions can act as cathode which it gain electrons from the iron. With oxygen as well exists in the electrolyte, there is a couple of possible reduction reactions. (Frost Burg University. No Date)

Or

Also, the lower the pH is, the faster the corrosion. Because lower pH means more hydrogen ions (as ), meaning more oxidizing agents to accepts the electrons donated by the iron. Between pH 0 3, the rate of corrosion is much quicker than the rate is in between pH 4 - 6. (Sakshi Education. No date)

As for base environment (pH 9-14), the iron corrosion rate is usually slower than in electrolyte that has a neutral pH. This is because the oxides that are produced in iron corrosion, developed as a film that act as a protection against corrosive medium. This process is called passivation. In environment where pH is lower than 8, passivation of iron very difficult to perform, especially in acidic environment, therefore, the rust (iron oxides) they are unable to develop a protective film for the iron to shield it from corrosion. (Nautarch. No Date)
Examples of stress regions

Corrosion rate can also be affected by the type of corrosion the iron material is experiencing. Uniform corrosion describes the type of corrosion that progresses uniformly over surface area of the material. On the other hand, stress corrosion is about the corrosion that occurs on the stress cells of the iron. Stress cells refer to the part of the iron that contains more stress energy than the rest of the metals, usually by bending it. More stress energy means they are more anodic, therefore, those stressed regions corrode at a faster rate than others. Because of this, stress corrosion generally possesses a quicker corrosion rate than uniform corrosion. (efunda. No Date) Another type of corrosion galvanic corrosion also affects the iron corrosion. It takes place when two electrochemically dissimilar metals are contacted and placed together in an electrolyte. Between them a galvanic current develops and the more anodic metal acts as an anode and donates electrons to the other metal that is less anodic which is the cathode. In other words, the anodic metal corrodes, while the cathode becomes negatively charged, and is therefore protected from corrosion or at the very least, slowed down the process. Determining which of the two dissimilar metals is the anode and cathode relates to the galvanic series, as shown on the left table. Using hydrogen as a reference point, the series depicts the electrode potential of different metals. (Hyperphysics. No Date)
Galvanic Series Anodic end (this is where the corrosion occurs) Standard Electrode Element Lithium Magnesium Zinc Chromium Iron; Mild Steel Tin Hydrogen electrode reference Potential (Volts) at 25 C -3.045 -2.340 -0.762 -0.744 -0.440 -0.136 0.000

In the scenario when two dissimilar metals, for instance Titanium +0.055 magnesium and tin, are placed together in saline water, the one +1.420 that has a lower electrode potential, in this case magnesium, Gold becomes anode and the other metal turns into the cathode, Cathodic end, passive - (no corrosion here) which is tin. How fast the anode corrodes depends on the Source: http://www.thelen.us/1galv.php difference of electrode potential with the other. The bigger the difference is, the faster the corrosion rate of the anode. In addition, for galvanic corrosion to occur, the difference of electrode potential has to great enough. (ASSDA. No Date)

Because of the properties of galvanic corrosion, it is very common to coat a layer of metal on top of the iron to prevent the iron form corroding. This method is known as galvanizing. That layer of metal has to be more anodic than iron, meaning its electrode potential should be lower than iron. This way, the iron is being shielded from corrosion by the metal. Often, zinc is best to use for galvanizing the iron, not just because it is further up the galvanic series compared to iron but also the fact that after it reacts with oxygen, the oxide layer does not flake off like iron oxide does. This then serves as a protective layer to protect the zinc from further corrosion. (USGS. No Date) To observe and prove how iron responds to these factors, iron nails are used and placed them into the different environment and conditions mentioned above. In order to obtain accurate results for the analysis, the iron nails are placed in the electrolytes to react for one week, ensuring, the iron nails would have enough time to display noticeable results. Also, after, the one week of observation period, they are weighed on the electronic balance. The purpose of weighing the nails is to determine whether they have been corroded or not. Iron nails that have been corroded decrease in mass, as they lose electrons, and in some cases, the iron ions combine with other particles, further decreasing the mass of the iron nails. The choice of using electronic balance is to provide an accurate mass weighting. When testing galvanic corrosion involving iron with an dissimilar metal, the two metals cannot have a similar electrode potential, for instance iron (-0.44 E) and cadmium (-0.40 E). The difference has to be great enough for the corrosion to occur. Therefore, copper, that has an electrode potential of 0.34, and magnesium with an electrode potential of -2.37, have been chosen. Aim The aim of this experiment is to investigate the effect of the different electrolytes (tap water, saline water, acidic and basic solution), bent iron and the contacts with dissimilar metals in iron corrosion. Hypothesis 1. Plain iron nail would lose more mass than the iron nail coated with zinc, because, when zinc corrodes, the oxide film it forms would stay on the surface on the nail, preventing further corrosion from happening, whereas the oxides form by the plain iron nails, they flakes off, allowing the electrolyte to come in contact with the unaffected regions. 2. The mass of bent iron nails would decrease at a quicker rate than the normal iron nails, since the bent iron nails contains stress regions that corrode much faster than the rest of the nails. Because of this it would corrodes faster than normal nail. 3. The corrosion process in saline water would be faster than those in normal tap water, because saline water comprise of plenty of NaCl that dissociates into water, becoming Na + and Cl-, which greatly increases the ability of conducting electrons from the anode to cathode. 4. When iron is in contact with copper in an electrolyte, the iron would lose mass while the copper would gain mass, since iron is further up the galvanic series, meaning it would act as an anode, losing electrons to the cathode which is the copper.

5. When iron is in contact with magnesium in an electrolyte, the iron would gain mass while the magnesium would lose mass, since magnesium is located in a higher position than iron, indicating that magnesium would serve as the anode to give up electrons to iron, which is the cathode. 6. The corrosion rate of plain and bent iron nails increase as the pH value decreases, since in base solution, the formation of iron oxides protective film shields iron from corrosion, and acid environment contains more hydrogen ions accelerating the corrosion rate.

Materials 25 iron nails (polished with sand paper) 7 bent iron nails (polished with sand paper) 3 zinc coated iron nails 8 pieces of copper 8 pieces of magnesium 80 ml Sulphuric Acid (3M) 80 ml HCl (3M) 80 ml Acetic Acid (3M) 40 ml NaOH (0.1M) 40 ml KOH (2M) 100 ml Saline water (10g of salt with 90 ml of water) 100 ml of Tap water Puppet (20ml) Electronic Balance 35 beakers (100ml) Method Water: 1. Use a puppet to fill up the 5 beakers with 20ml of water 2. Measure the mass of a strip of copper and an iron nail, then wrap the copper around the iron nail. Place them into one of the beakers. 3. Repeat step 2, but this time use magnesium instead of copper. 4. Measure the mass an iron nail, then place it into one of the beakers.

5. Bend an iron nail and repeat step 4. Saline Water: 6. Use a puppet to fill up 5 beakers with 20ml of saline water 7. Repeat step 2-5 Sulphuric Acid: 8. Use a puppet to fill up 4 beakers with 20mml of sulphuric acid 9. Repeat step 2-4 Hydrochloric Acid: 10. Use a puppet to fill up 4 beakers with 20ml of hydrochloric acid 11. Repeat step 2-4 Acetic Acid 12. Use a puppet to fill 4 beakers with 20ml of acetic acid 13. Repeat step 2-4 Potassium Hydroxide 14. Use a puppet to fill up 4 beakers with 20 ml potassium hydroxide 15. Repeat step 2-4 16. Leave the Iron nails for a week, and then take them out of the beakers and weigh them individually. Weigh the copper and magnesium as well. Record down the results.

Results
Table 1 17. Galvanic Corrosion: Iron and Copper Mass of Iron (g) Mass of Copper (g) Final Change Initial Final 1.04 0.005 1.00 0.005 1.01 0.005 1 0.005 0.97 0.005 -0.03 0.01 -0.06 0.01 -0.03 0.01 -0.05 0.01 -0.05 0.01 0.03 0.005 0.04 0.005 0.13 0.005 0.04 0.005 0.08 0.005 0.05 0.005 0.08 0.005 0.14 0.005 0.05 0.005 0.10 0.005

Medium Initial Water Sulphuric Acid Hydrochloric Acid Acetic Acid Saline

Change +0.02 0.01 +0.04 0.01 +0.01 0.01 +0.01 0.01 +0.02 0.01

1.07 0.005 1.06 0.005 1.08 0.005 1.05 0.005 1.02 0.005

Table 2 Galvanic Corrosion: iron and Magnesium Mass of Iron (g) Mass of Magnesium (g) Final Change Initial Final Change 1.01 0.005 0.95 0.005 1.02 0.005 1.1 0.005 1.1 0.005 -0.01 0.01 -0.02 0.01 -0.02 0.01 0.09 0.01 0.02 0.01 0.02 0.005 0.05 0.005 0.03 0.005 0.05 0.005 0.03 0.005 0.01 0.005 0 0.005 0 0.005 0 0.005 0.01 0.005 -0.01 0.01 -0.05 0.01 -0.03 0.01 -0.05 0.01 -0.02 0.01

Medium Initial Water Sulphuric Acid Hydrochloric Acid Acetic Acid Saline

1.00 0.005 0.97 0.005 1.04 0.005 1.01 0.005 0.99 0.005

Table 3 Plain Iron Mass of Iron Nail (g) Initial Final 1.06 0.005 1.08 0.005 1.01 0.005 0.93 0.005 1.07 0.005 1 0.005 1.03 0.005 1.04 0.005 1.16 0.005 1.14 0.005 1.04 0.005 1.08 0.005 0.98 0.005 0.94 0.005

Medium Water Sulphuric Acid Hydrochloric Acid Potassium Hydroxide Acetic Acid Sodium Hydroxide Saline

Change +0.02 0.01 -0.080.01 -0.07 0.01 +0.01 0.01 -0.02 0.01 +0.04 0.01 -0.04 0.01

Table 4 Bent Plain Iron Mass of Iron (g) Initial Final 1.03 0.005 1.06 0.005 1.01 0.005 1.00 0.005 1.05 0.005 1.02 0.005 0.98 0.005 1.02 0.005 0.97 0.005 0.92 0.005 0.99 0.005 0.98 0.005 1.01 0.005 0.93 0.005

Medium Water Sulphuric Acid Hydrochloric Acid Potassium Hydroxide Acetic Acid Sodium Hydroxide Saline

Change -0.01 0.01 -0.09 0.01 -0.080.01 -0.010.01 -0.07 0.01 -0.01 0.01 -0.05 0.01

Table 5 Iron Coated with Zinc (g) Mass of Iron Nail (g) Initial Final 1.1 0.005 1.13 0.005 1.1 0.005 1.12 0.005

Medium Water Saline

Change 0 0.01 -0.01 0.01

Graph 1:

Change of Mass in Iron Nails in Saline water and Tap Water


0.03 0.02 0.01 0

Mass (g)

Plain Iron -0.01 -0.02 -0.03 -0.04 -0.05 -0.06

Bent Iron

Zinc Coated Iron Water Saline Water

Electrolyte

Graph 2:

Change of Mass of Plain and Bent Iron Nail


0.06 0.04

0.02

Mass (g)

Water -0.02

Sulphuric Acid

Hydrochloric Acid

Potassium Hydroxide

Acetic Acid

Sodium Hydroxide

Saline Plain Iron Bent Iron

-0.04

-0.06

-0.08

-0.1

Electrolyte

Graph 3:

Change of Mass in Iron and Copper


0.06 0.04 0.02

Mass (g)

0 Water -0.02 -0.04 -0.06 -0.08 Sulphuric Acid Hydrochloric Acid Acetic Acid Saline Iron Copper

Electrolyte

Graph 4:

Change of Mass in Iron and Magnesium


0.1 0.08 0.06 0.04

Mass (g)

0.02 0 Water -0.02 -0.04 -0.06 Sulphuric Acid Hydrochloric Acid Acetic Acid Saline

Iron Magnesium

Electrolyte

Discussion The aim of this experiment is to investigate the corrosion of iron when altering several factors. They are, different electrolyte, iron with stress region, galvanized iron nail with zinc and when comes in contact with a dissimilar metal in an electrolyte. To meet the aim of this investigation, five hypotheses have been developed. Data was collected during the conduction of the experiment, and would be analysed and discussed in this section of the report. The data collected in table 3 and 5 and graph 1 partially supports the first hypothesis, in which it states that during corrosion, plain iron nail would lose more mass than the iron nail coated with zinc. When place in the electrolyte of saline water, plain iron nail decreases 0.04g of mass while the galvanized iron nail loses only 0.01g. However, the results of water show that plain iron nail gains mass of 0.02g, while zinc coated iron does not change at all. This is considered an anomaly, since, according to the hypothesis, plain iron nail should lose more mass than the galvanized nail. And also, the plain iron nail should experience a decrease in mass since it undergoes corrosion. The theory behind this hypothesis is that when zinc corrodes, a layer of film is generated on its surface know as zinc patina. It is form by the zinc corrosion products which are zinc oxides and zinc carbonate. Zinc patina provides a barrier between the zinc metal and the corrosive medium. Hence, corrosion is prevented. (Corrosion Clubs. No Date). However, the corrosion products of iron do not possess this ability. They are unable to stop water from reaching unaffected region of the iron surface and so the corrosion process continues, until the entire material is corroded. Because of this difference, it is logical that the irons corrosion rate is quicker than the zinc protected iron. In fact, there is alternative explanation for the anomaly that exhibits in here. The molar mass of each of those iron corrosion products are heavier than the iron alone. For instance the molar mass of Fe(OH)2 is 90g while iron is only 56g. When corrosion products are produced, some of them flake off into the electrolyte while some accumulate on the surface of the nail. Therefore, if the accumulation is large enough, the rust along with iron nail itself can actually gain mass. The plain iron nail in the anomaly does experience corrosion, and much of the corrosion product stay on the surface of the iron, resulting the 2g of mass gain. The zinc coated iron does not lose mass, meaning that it corrodes less than the plain iron nail. This in fact does not contradict to the theory explained before that iron would deteriorate faster than zinc coated iron. It is the wording of the hypothesis that caused some of the results to be an anomaly, not supporting the hypothesis. The hypothesis focused on the change mass of the entire iron nail (which in turn includes the oxides as well), rather than just the change on the iron itself. As shown in graph 2, out of the 7 different electrolytes, in four of them including sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, acetic acid and saline water, the decrease in mass of plain iron nail is less than the bent iron. In the other three, plain iron nail gains mass, while the bending ones lose mass. Based on this observation, there is only a portion of the results supporting the hypothesis which it declares the mass of bent iron nails would decrease at a quicker rate than the normal iron nails.

The reason why bent iron nail would corrode faster than the normal nail is because of the existence of stressed region in bent iron nail. The bent area is being stressed, and thus it contains more strain energy, compared to rest of the nail. The strain energy causes it to become more anodic, meaning the tendency of losing electrons increases. Therefore, the corrosion that occurs in the stressed regions is faster. While the plain iron experiences uniform corrosion, the bent iron nail undergoes two different types of corrosion at the same time, stressed corrosion in the bending area and uniform corrosion in the unaffected region of the nail. With this, the bent iron nail would therefore, corrode faster than the plain iron nail. The anomaly in the result of the water part can be solved by the explanation used in the previous discussion on the first hypothesis. The accumulation of the rust on the surface of plain iron nail is much more than those in the bent iron nail, resulting it to gain mass while bent nail loses mass, causing this part of the result disagree with the second hypothesis. As for, the data on the two base electrolyte, they however are considered as an error. It is known that base solution, with a pH of 9-14, can prevent corrosion by enabling the passivation of iron, which is the establishment of iron oxides film on the surface of iron to protect the iron from corroding. The pH of both 0.1M sodium hydroxide and 0.1M potassium hydroxide is 13, which is within the optimum pH range for the iron passivation. The protective film on the surface of iron would definitely increase the mass of the iron nails. Consequently, it would be reasonable if both of the two bent and normal nails gained mass in the two base electrolytes. However, in the results, only the plain iron nails increase but not the bent nails. This is why the data of those two electrolyte in graph 2 is an error. Furthermore, the fact that, placing the two different types of iron nails into base solution to investigate whether it supports the hypothesis, could be an incorrect method. This is due to the fact that, base solution, as mentioned before, provides an environment for the development of protection film. In other words, it would stop the corrosion process, making it very difficult to determine which nail would corrode quicker. Hence, the results on these two base electrolytes would be ignored. Therefore, overall, the results do support the second hypothesis. The third hypothesis states that the iron nails in saline water would corrode at a faster rate than those in normal tap water. Most of the results in all of the 5 tables support this claim. Graph 1, compares the change of mass of three different types of iron nails in the 2 electrolyte. All have shown that, the nails in saline water lose more mass than those in the water, indicating that, the corrosion rate in saline is quicker. This also occurs in the galvanic corrosion, as depicted in graph 3 and 4, where the change of mass in saline water between the iron and the other dissimilar metals (that are copper and iron) happens in a greater rate than tap water. The reason behind this is that, saline water contains large amount of NaCl (1 part NaCl : 9 parts water), which tap water only possess a very little amount. NaCl is soluble in water. When adding it into water, it dissociate into water, becoming Na+ and Cl-. Corrosion involves the transfer of electrons from an anode to a cathode through the medium of electrolyte. For instance, the iron corrosion in tap water:

Having plenty of sodium and chloride ions greatly increase the carrying capacity of the electron, enabling the corrosion process to occur at a quicker rate. This explains why saline water is a more corrosive electrolyte then tap water. Most of the data, as shown in table 1, 2 and graph 3, 4 agree with the 4th and 5th hypothesis. 4th hypothesis states that when iron and copper is placed in an electrolyte, iron loses mass and copper gains. Similar to the 4th hypothesis, the fifth one claims that when iron and magnesium are placed together in an electrolyte, iron gains mass whereas magnesium loses. In graph 3, it depicts a trend that iron loses mass to copper when placed in any of the 5 electrolyte. The results on acetic acid and saline on table 2 and graph 5 support the 5th hypothesis. The reason why this happens relates to the chemistry of galvanic corrosion. In galvanic corrosion when 2 dissimilar metals are placed together in an electrolyte, the metal that is more anodic (that has the more negative electrode potential) becomes the anode to donate electrons. Therefore, its mass would decrease. The other metal would become the cathode to retrieve the free electrons becoming negatively charged. Since, it has extra electrons, it gains mass. In the case of copper and iron, iron has a standard electrode potential of -0.44, while coppers is +0.34. Therefore, iron loses mass and copper gains mass, matching the results on table 1. Magnesium has a standard electrode potential of -2.7 while iron is -0.44 E. Thus, magnesium would lose mass while irons mass would increase when the two undergo galvanic corrosion. However, 3 rows of results (water, sulphuric acid and hydrochloric acid) in table 2 do not agree with the 5th hypothesis. Both iron and magnesium lose mass. Notice in both sulphuric acid and hydrochloric acid, the final mass in magnesium is zero. In the galvanic corrosion that takes place in acid environment, not all of the electrons that are given up by the anodes are transferred to the cathodes. Some actually, react with the hydrogen ions to form hydrogen gas. This is observed while conducting the experiment, as there is bubbling in the acid, indicating the existence of hydrogen gas. Magnesium is very reactive to strong acids. It can corrode in acid fairly quickly. Iron accepts free electron from magnesium, preventing itself from corroding in the acidic environment. After, the magnesium has been entirely consumed (by both acid and galvanic corrosion), with no supply of electrons, the iron starts to corrode, losing mass. It explains why the results of iron in HSO4 and HCl on table 2 lose mass. The reason why this does not happen in the case of corrosion between iron and copper, is because, iron is not as reactive as magnesium to acid. All the iron nails are still present, after one week. The results on water in table 5, however, cannot be explained, therefore, it is an error. Also, there is an anomaly in the change of mass of iron on the row of acetic acid in table 2. The value is 0.09g. This value is particularly large in comparison to the rest of the data collected in this experiment. Furthermore, Since, it is not known that the amount of iron that is corroded due to H+, therefore, the change of mass on the anode may not be entirely caused by the galvanic corrosion. This could result unreliable data when analysing the results. Since, it is very reactive to strong acid, it is possible that it is being consumed very fast.

The final hypothesis claims that corrosion rate of plain and bent iron nails increase as the pH value decreases. This is partly supported by the results in table 3 and 4. In both table, the corrosion in the electrolytes of acid are quicker than water (pH around 7) and NaOH as well as KOH. In acidic environment, corrosion rate is quicker. Also, the lower the pH, the faster the corrosion rate is. This is because of the increase of hydrogen ions. More hydrogen ions indicate that more oxidizing agents to accept the free electron given up by the anode, which is iron. Thus, with lower pH, the iron corrosion rate is faster. HCl and HSO4 is strong acids, meaning they dissociate into water completely. On the other hand, Acetic acid is a weak acid. It would only dissociate little into water. Therefore, HCl and HSO4 would have a very low pH and the damage to the iron is greater whereas, acetic acid would have a higher pH and less corrosive. This is shown in the results, as the changes of mass of iron nails in strong acids are greater than when they are in acetic acid. The images on the right also are an evidence of that. Iron nail on the left experienced corrosion in water and it does not display any rust or sign of corrosion. The nail on the right was in sulphuric acid. I is covered in rust and by touching it seems that its diameter has been decreased. However, comparing base solution with water, in table 4 the corrosion rates for both these two types of electrolyte are the same. This is considered as an error. As explained before, base solution enables iron oxides to form a layer of film to protect the iron nails from corroding. In environment where pH is below 8, iron passivation is not possible and thus, iron corrosion would be unstoppable. Therefore, the nails in the KOH and NaOH should lose less mass than those in water. Note: the comparison of results between water and base solution in table 3 cannot be done, since, the iron nail in water gains mass). Other than those that have mentioned before, there are still several errors that could possibly affect the accuracy of the results. Firstly, it is the inaccuracy on the measurement of mass. Since the electronic balance only provides a measurement up to 2 decimal places, it is sometimes really difficult to get accurate results. For instance, in table 5, the iron nail coated with zinc when place in water, did not lose any mass. This should not be the case, since zinc definitely corrodes in water. It should have either lose mass because of the corrosion or gain because of the development of zinc patina. The change of mass may be too small for the electronic balance to detect. This measurement inaccuracy could possibly affect the accuracy of the results. Also, in iron corrosion the rust that forms may add mass to the iron nail. It is not possible to know how much is left on the surface of the iron nail, when weighing. Therefore, the results on the change of mass of the iron nails would not be the true representation of how much has the iron nail corroded, resulting inaccurate data. Furthermore, temperature affects corrosion rate. Although, all of the metals are left in the electrolyte for one week, some parts of the experiment begins in different time, for instance the section on galvanic corrosion between iron and magnesium starts at the first week whereas the galvanic corrosion between

iron and copper are in the second week. That means temperature of the environment that the two are in would be different, leading unreliable results. Due to the large no. of errors experienced during the conduction experiment as well as the ones present in the data, it is recommended that, another similar investigation should be performed. To overcome these errors, the design of the experiment has to improve. Firstly, it is to improve the measurement accuracy. An electronic balance with a more precise measurement, which provides up to 3 or 4 decimal places of measurement, should be use. An alternative solution would be to extend the experimental period from one to two or three weeks, so that the change of mass would be greater. The problem of measurement inaccuracy would then be solved. Also, to avoid the experience of different changes in temperature, perform the entire experiment at the same time. The findings of this experiment can be used as a reference when determining how to prevent iron corrosion. The results on galvanic corrosion, suggest that using a more anodic metal as a sacrificial anode, iron can be protected from corrosion. Also, the results on the corrosion rate of iron nails in difference electrolyte can be a helpful tool when estimating how fast the iron would corrode in reality with different environmental factors. For further investigation, it is suggested to investigate different forms of iron corrosion, such as bacterial corrosion, pitting corrosion, to see how does it affects the corrosion rate and the structure of iron. Conclusion The purpose of this investigation is to determine the effects of several factors have on the corrosion of iron. The several factors are the different electrolytes, bent iron nail, galvanized iron nail and when in contact with dissimilar metals. 6 hypothesis are developed. After analysing the results, they do not entirely support any of the 6 hypotheses but only partially agree due to several errors and anomalies presented in the experimental data and design, such as the measurement inaccuracy and the additional mass of the accumulation of rust on the surface of iron nail. An improvement of the experimental design is therefore necessary if another similar investigation is to be performed.

Appendix Standard Electrode Potential of some metals and compounds Lithium Potassium Magnesium Zinc Cadmium Cobalt(II) Nickel(II) Hydrogen Tin(IV) Copper(II) Oxygen-water Copper(I) Iodine Manganese(VII)(IV) Iron(III)-(II) Mercury(I) Silver Chlorine Gold(III) Manganate(VII) Cobalt(III)-(II) Fluorine -3.04 E -2.92 E -2.37 E -0.76 E -0.4 E -0.28 E -0.26 E 0 E 0.15 E 0.34 E 0.4 E 0.52 E 0.54 E 0.58 E 0.77 E 0.79 E 0.8 E 1.36 E 1.5 E 1.51 E 1.82 E 2.87 E

Source: (Benjamin Mils. No Date. Standard Electrode Potential. Retrieved 26/8/2012, from http://www.benjamin-mills.com/chemistry/ecells.htm )

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