What Does Acidic Environment Mean?
An acidic environment refers to an immediate area or enclosure with a pH reading that is below 7.0. The lower the pH, the more acidic a solution is, which also means a higher hydrogen ion concentration and corrosion rate.
Corrosionpedia Explains Acidic Environment
Corrosion occurs at a greater rate in either strong bases or strong acids. Some fluids may have strong acidity leading to corrosion of metals that are exposed to them. Thus, these fluids create an acidic environment for such a metal.
In many cases corrosion occurs due to electrochemical cells. Such electrochemical cells are often acidic in nature.
Corrosion, as an electrochemical reaction, occurs through a number of redox reactions, which are also seen in batteries. Usually the metal (e.g., steel) under attack functions as the anode, becomes oxidized, and forms metallic ions and free electrons. The free electrons reduce the oxygen to form hydroxide, producing a cathodic reaction for ensuring electro neutrality.
Increased acidity leads to corrosive reactions in problematic environments such as pipelines. Low pH water passing through pipes can enhance the corrosion process because acidic water contains excess hydrogen ions. Softening the water can reverse the process and slow down or mitigate the corrosion process.