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I want to measure rate of corrosion of an iron nail. One way to calculate the corrosion rate is to use the weight loss of the iron nail. However rust does not come off easily. Do have any other ways I could measure the rate of corrosion? Can I measure the weight lost somehow?

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  • $\begingroup$ If you assume that all the rust sticks to the nail, maybe you could measure the weight gain of all those extra oxygen atoms. $\endgroup$
    – Curt F.
    Feb 1, 2016 at 5:18

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There is an ASTM standard(G01) that gives detailed descriptions of cleaning procedure for corrosion measurements.

For iron and iron oxide, the recommended way is to leave the sample in a cleaning solution(e.g a dilute acid solution), followed by a light brushing repeatedly until the weight stabilizes.

You could also try sonication in a solvent to see if that helps.

In any case, to make sure you are not losing significant amounts of the base metal, you should repeat the cleaning procedure on some uncorroded control sample. This will help you dial in the proper procedure for your samples.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your answer. I have access to a high school chemistry lab. What would you suggest as a cleaning solution? Could vinegar or baking soda be used? Any other simple solutions? $\endgroup$
    – kyczawon
    Feb 1, 2016 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ Baking soda could be a good start. As I mentioned, this will be a trial and error to dial in. $\endgroup$ Feb 2, 2016 at 7:34

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