Ulick Richardson Evans was born on March 31, 1889 in Wimbledon. His father was a journalist and took Ulick to Switzerland where he introduced the young boy to mountaineering. Outdoor activities remained a passion throughout Evans' life. Ulick attended Marlborough College (1902–1907) and then Kings College, Cambridge (1907–1911). Subsequently, he studied electrochemistry in Wiesbaden and later at University College, London. These initial investigations of electrochemistry were ended by World War I when Evans served in the Army. He was stationed in the Middle East, returning to Cambridge in 1921.
When Evans began his career, there was an extremely poor understanding of corrosion. The attack of metals was all too familiar—There were lots of data and many empirical approaches to its prevention, but the scientific interpretation of corrosion was scant. It was accepted that corrosion associated with two dissimilar metals in contact was electrochemical in nature. However, when a metal is placed in an acid solution, the simultaneous dissolution of the metal and hydrogen evolution is observed. How could this homogeneous dissolution be anything more than a simple chemical replacement reaction? In what way could the corrosion of iron exposed to the atmosphere be driven by electrochemical processes? Why does the section of a sea pilings located away from the oxygen at the surface corrode ...
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