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Galvanic Rivet Experiment

In order to perform this experiment, we first had to find rivets apart on the galvanic series. Well, we were lucky to have an old machine shop supply on our campus. The materials used in this experiment are not necessarily available in modern hardware shops where everything seems to be plated or painted.

So, we found steel rivets and copper rivets with bars of each metal. After drilling holes in these bars with the right size to accommodate the rivets we banged these in with fervor and expectation. Here are the pictures we took before immerging these riveted steel and copper bars in a 3% sodium chloride solution.

Copper rivets lodged in a steel bar

Steel rivets lodged in a copper bar

These bars and their rivets were exposed for a total period of ten months in the brine solution. We have put pictures of these after six months and ten months somewhere on our Web site. Please send your predictions to our and we will tell you how to find these pages ...and do not be surprised if we post your answers right here.


Simple experiments to illustrate the theory:

Corrosion current, Galvanic coupling, Rust preventive testing


Mark Erbesfield: I expect to see corrosion around the rivet contact only.

Elisabeth Chassaing: The steel rivets on the copper plate will corrode very quickly : small anodic area (rivets) and large cathodic area (copper plate). On the contrary the copper rivets on the steel plate will corrode slowly (large anodic area - steel plate- , small cathodic surface - copper rivet))