Corrosivity Mapping of Antarctica utilising exposure of standard alloy couponsEntry ID: ASAC_537
Abstract: Antarctica is the world's coldest, driest, highest and least polluted continent. Accepted wisdom is that atmospheric corrosion rates in Antarctica should be low because of the extreme dry cold. Russian research suggested that temperatures below 0 degrees C alone are insufficient to eliminate corrosion although temperatures consistently below -25 degrees C will markedly decrease corrosivity. The ... severe and unfamiliar Antarctic conditions challenge assumptions about the behaviour of materials. In the 1960's, snow and ice was removed from Captain Scott's hut at Cape Evens revealing buried artefacts in excellent condition. The excavation changed the microclimate radically and significant deterioration of several materials, especially metals, has since occurred. The need to objectively measure corrosivity arose from the unexpectedly severe corrosion problems at several historic sites and the need to develop treatment and preventative conservation strategies. Significant corrosion problems also affect old sealing and whaling stations and artefacts on subantarctic islands. International cooperation has been sought to enable the exposure of standard steel coupons and measurement of atmospheric corrosivity rates in different climate zones in Antarctica. Ten locations on the continent and various sites on four subantarctic islands have been monitored, chosen because of the potential to access the site and availability of meteorological data from research bases and automatic weather stations. Observations are that the method is sufficiently sensitive to measure low rates of corrosion. The results are consistent with the Russian hyopothesis that temperatures below 0 degrees C alone will not significantly reduce corrosion. Steel corrosion rates range by a factor of more than 500 in Antarctica from the coast to far inland. Temperatures at coastal sites rarely exceed freezing and never at inland sites. A highly significant factor is atmospheric salt deposition since rain is rare. This project has determined that the lowest corrosivity rate ever measured is at Vostok, the coldest place on earth, which is 1200 km from the sea.
The Heard Island document available in pdf form at the url given below is reproduced with the permission of the Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania.
The paper was published in the Heard Island volume by the Royal Society of Tasmania (GPO Box 1166M, Hobart 7001, Tasmania, Australia) from whom the entire volume is available for A$22; plus postage (A$2;.45) for orders from within Australia and A$20; plus postage (A$6; in Asia and the Pacific and A$9; elsewhere; payment in Australian currency) for orders from beyond Australia.
The fields for this dataset are:
distance from sea (km)
mass loss (g)
Blank loss (g)
% blank loss
(Click for Interactive Map)
Start Date: 1991-09-30Stop Date: 1996-03-31
ISO Topic Category
Quality Values provided in temporal coverage are approximate only.
Access Constraints These data are publicly available for download from the URL given below.
Use Constraints This data set conforms to the PICCCBY Attribution License
Data Set Progress
Role: TECHNICAL CONTACT
Role: DIF AUTHOR
Phone: +61 2 6201 2368
Fax: +61 2 6201 5419
Email: pearson at science.canberra.edu.au
CULTURAL HERITAGE RESEARCH UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA CENTRE
Province or State: Australian Capital Territory
Postal Code: 2601
Hughes, J. (1992), Antarctica is rusting away., Focus Spring, 2
Hughes, J. (1991), In situ conservation versus relocation: the case of Sir Douglas Mawson's huts in Antarctica Historic Environment, In situ conservation versus relocation: the case of Sir Douglas Mawson's huts in Antarctica Historic Environment, 1 and 2, 8, 19
Hughes, J.D. (1988), The problems of preservation in a polar climate - the conservation of Sir Douglas Mawson's huts at Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica., Bulletin of the Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials, 3 and 4, 14, 1, Canberra
Hughes, J.D. (1993), Measurement of atmospheric corrosion using standard coupons and ATCORR units and its application in the preservation of outdoor cultural material., Bulletin of the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials, 18, 25-43
Hughes, J.D. (1991), New approaches for the 'in situ' preservation of Mawson's huts at Commonwealth Bay, Australian Antarctic Territory., Preprints of the Helsinki Conference on International Council of Museums ., 23-26
Hughes, J.D., King, G.A. and O'Brien, D.J. (1996), Corrosivity in Antarctica - revelations on the nature of corrosion in the world's coldest, driest, highest and purest continent., 13th International Corrosion Conference, 25-29 November 1996, Melbourne
Hughes, J.D. and Lazer, E. (2000), Importance of &historic sites& on Heard Island for protection of scientific resources and environmental management of a world heritage site., Papers and Proceedings of the Royal scoiety of Tasmania, 133, 2, 71-77
Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2000-11-01
Last DIF Revision Date: 2011-06-28