: Pitting corrosion, or pitting, is a form of extremely localized corrosion that leads to the creation of small holes in the metal. The driving power for pitting corrosion is the depassivation of a small area, which becomes anodic while an unknown but potentially vast area becomes cathodic, leading to very localized galvanic corrosion. The corrosion penetrates the mass of the metal, with a limited diffusion of ions. The mechanism of pitting corrosion is probably the same as crevice corrosion. The more conventional explanation for pitting corrosion is that it is an autocatalytic process. Metal oxidation results in localized acidity that is maintained by the spatial separation of the cathodic and anodic half-reactions, which creates a potential gradient and electromigration of aggressive anions into the pit. For example, when a metal is present in an oxygenated NaCl electrolyte, the pit acts as anode and the metal surface acts as cathode. The localized production of positive metal ions in the pit gives a local excess of positive charge which attracts the negative chlorine ions from the electrolyte to produce charge neutrality. The pit contains a high concentration of MCl molecules which react with water to produce HCl, the metal hydroxide, and H+ ions, accelerating the corrosion process. In the pit, the oxygen concentration is essentially zero and all of the cathodic oxygen reactions take place on the metal surface outside the pit. The pit is anodic and the locus of rapid dissolution of the metal.
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