In this study, the impact of galvanic coupling of magnesium to steel on the corrosion rate, surface morphology, and surface film formation was investigated. In particular, the role of self-corrosion was quantified as previous studies showed discrepancies between model predictions and experimental results that were likely due to significant self-corrosion. This experimental study examined the corrosion of Mg coupled to steel in 5 wt% NaCl at cathode-to-anode area ratios that ranged from 5 to 27. Results showed that self-corrosion was significant and accounted for, on average, one-third of total corrosion. Moreover, self-corrosion varied with time and cathode size, and was accelerated by the high dissolution rate. Film formation was observed on the magnesium surface that inhibited the corrosion rates. This film contained approximately 30% of the Mg lost to corrosion. The morphology of the coupled Mg showed the rapid formation of pits with considerable depth, and was quite distinct from previously studied filiform and disk corrosion for uncoupled Mg. This study demonstrates the important role of self-corrosion during galvanic corrosion of Mg and the need to account for such corrosion when predicting corrosion rates. This study also provides important insight into the processes that control Mg corrosion under several conditions.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Chemical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





magnesium corrosion, galvanic corrosion, self-corrosion, surface film, surface morphology, high cathode-to-anode ratio, high anodic dissolution, galvanic couple, magnesium-steel couple