1 Departamento de Ingeniería Metalúrgica, Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, México

2 Polo Universitario de Tecnología Avanzada, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Vía de la Innovación 410 PIIT Autopista Monterrey-Aeropuerto Km. 10 C.P. 66629, Apodaca, Nuevo León, México

3 Centro de Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito de la Investigación Cientifica, Ciudad Universitaria, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, México



BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Atmospheric zinc corrosion in the Mexico City Metropolitan area has long been attributed mainly to the effect of pollutants such as sulfur dipxide. There are changes in the urban atmosphere's chemical composition due to the implementation of air quality policies focused on reducing the emission of sulfur dipxide and other pollutants. This study's objectives were to estimate and map the contribution of nitric acid on zinc's atmospheric corrosion process
METHODS: The impact of nitric acid on zinc is feasible to estimate using a function for a multi-pollutant situation. This function contemplates the sum of two contributions: one of nitric acid and another that includes sulfuric acid and climatic parameters. The multi-pollutant function is suitable to apply in areas without the strong influence of chlorides and tropical and subtropical climates, comparable to the Mexico City Metropolitan area.
FINDINGS: The results showed that spatial and temporal estimation of corrosion rates in grams per square meter of zinc was made for 2015-2019, using data modeling in a geographic information system. The maps of corrosion rates allowed us to visualize that, in general, the "southwest" zone has the most significant effects and that the lowest corrosion rates were presented in 2019 as an outcome of the implementation of air quality programs. Furthermore, a contribution of nitric acid up to 32% to the zinc corrosion rate was estimated.
CONCLUSION: The construction of corrosion rate maps provides a spatial and temporal estimate that allows visualizing areas where zinc materials are at risk corrosion due to the dispersion of atmospheric pollutants and climatic parameters. Likewise, it can represent a decision-making tool for the implementation of atmospheric corrosion studies of materials.

©2021 The author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, as long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers.

Graphical Abstract

Estimation and mapping of the contribution of nitric acid to atmospheric corrosion of zinc


  • Spatial and temporal representation of the concentration levels of SO2 in the period 2015-2019 in the MCMA;
  • Spatial and temporal estimation of HNO3 concentration levels in the 2015-2019 period in the MCMA;
  • Estimation of the corrosion rate for zinc applying a multi-pollutant dose-response function.
  • Mapping of zinc corrosion rates represent the risk of exposure to a polluted urban atmosphere;
  • The multi-pollutant dose-response function for zinc estimates the contribution of HNO3 to the corrosion process.


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