Many metal containing devices and structures must function in corrosive atmospheres that can cause them to deteriorate
over time. Corrosion may take the form of metal oxides or may be compounds formed by exposure to the effluent of
industrial manufacturing processes.
The electronic process measurement and control industry estimates that approximately one-third of all warranty repair
work can be attributable to corrosion. Accordingly, the ability to accurately monitor corrosion and take appropriate
measures to avoid, deter, or prevent it can be of utmost importance to the industry.
One method and apparatus for monitoring corrosion utilizes a piezoelectric crystal as a corrosion monitor. The crystal is
coated with one of several corrodible metals, and the coated crystal is attached to an oscillator before placement in a
potentially corrosive atmosphere. As the metal corrodes, the frequency of vibration of the coated crystal decreases. The
frequency reading is then converted to a corresponding corrosion film thickness. This monitoring method and apparatus
are generally suitable for measuring and detecting certain degrees of corrosion, however, in some instances more precise
measurements of corrosion are desired.
This paper will describe a corrosion monitor based on a microcantilever device coated with a reactive metal.
Information will be provided on the development of a working microcantilever-based corrosion sensor.