Don’t laugh, corrosion is a big deal. According to the National Materials Advisory Board:
Corrosion of metallic structures has a significant impact on the U.S. economy. In a congressional study, the total economic impact of corrosion and corrosion control applications was estimated to be $276 billion annually, or 3.1 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).
This facility is one of a handful (though the heavy sales pitch on this NASA page makes it look like there are more facilities than things to test). Specimens are arranged on racks where they just sit…and slowly rust or corrode or exfoliate. The research papers read like, well, research papers, but I’m sure they’re good stuff. After all, the NanoTechnology Group says:
…chemical attack of metal surfaces may result in surface nano-structures with very interesting technological applications such as catalysts and sensors. Therefore, a better understanding of corrosion processes is required to both prevent it and make the most of it.
And from the looks of things at Point Judith, they’ve got it figured out. The most rusted thing we found was a bit of highway guardrail, everything else was just gray. Not so great for a purported “rust museum.”
Eh, we’ll have to console ourselves with subREVOLT’s rust museum for that fix.