Periodic table

Corrosion engineering consultant

Corrosion Doctors site map

Alphabetical index of the Corrosion Doctors Web site

Ode to Pourbaix

Thermo is Kinky, Kinetics is Stinky

Steady State vs. Reaction Rate

Applying Pourbaix Helps Earn My Pay!

Chemists they say, often do pray, To speed-up their chemical reaction. But metal loss upsets the boss, Gives materials men an infarction.

To choose a metal for a fine kettle, Is a problem drives some people mad. They open the Atlas, but oh and alas, They feel that they have been had!

Maps for each metal (and cor-rodents as well), Are there to peruse at your pleasure, But the maps are lines with funny road signs, Soon you'd rather be taking your leisure!

The contents' pH is conjecture at best, While its potential leaves them stone dead. And what if their daughter pours out the water, To cook up some porridge instead?

Then a bit o' the history might solve the mystery, Whether its marks or employment you seek. So climb on my rhyme, travel back into time, To the shoulders of giants for a peek.

Pourbaix didn't get much light from Franklin's kite, So we'll visit Volta at work on his pile, Galvani's frog legs leaping on metal pegs, And voltage reducing water by Nicholson, Carlisle.

Then Michael Faraday heard what electrodes say, And how charge and equivalents do interplay. It wasn't long and he had penned a new song, And they called it Electrochemistry!

J. Willard Gibbs, (though he no longer lives), Is called the "Father of Energetics". He truly meant well, relating energy to potential, And that is Thermo and not Kinetics!

Svante Arrhenius was another great genius, Theories of salts and ions his conclusions. Jacobus Henricus van't Hoff would not be put off, He founded the thermodynamic theory of solutions!

Walter Nernst was in the greatest of earnest, When he equated polarization to composition. Thus it isn't ironic that all that's ionic, Takes part in his electronic transmission.

Then Ulick R. Evans fathered corrosion, (Good heavens!) He grasped how electrodes react. Not tragic! For along with the others, his scientific brothers, They debunked some superstitions and magic.

Along came Pourbaix, (before his hair was grey), Their ideas like a sword he did wield! But his genius was more than ideas put forth, Or tying them together 'to a unified field.

He made use of his brains to map the domains, Where the divisions of species are stable. He knew as he drew that thermo was new, That the picture was worth more than the table.

So do not despair nor pull out your hair, Your task is much simpler than theirs. They each carved a step that will not slip, All you need do is climb up their stairs!

So materials engineers, put down your fears, Let Pourbaix your corrosion problem solve! Find the domains where insolubility reigns, And thus your kettle will not dissolve!

But if you are unable to find insolubility stable, Then you are forced to play a new game. Its name is Kinetics, beyond Pourbaix's esthetics, Its dynamics have left me deranged!

And for those who can hear, please lend an ear, Consider your fore-fathers, be not self-reliant. Learn from Pourbaix before your hair turns grey, To see further, stand on the shoulders of giants!

John R. RoddaFebruary 1996 (reference 75)