A Review of Oxidation on Steel Surfaces in the Context of Fire Investigations
During the course of a fire and subsequent exposure to the environment, iron and low-carbon steels oxidize by two mechanisms: high temperature oxidation and atmospheric corrosion. Of particular interest to fire investigators are oxide properties and distribution that could be of use to better understand important characteristics of the fire such as the location the fire originated, the direction the fire traveled or even temperature versus time characteristics. This could be particularly valuable in cases where burn damage to combustible material, which is known to be an important indicator of fire origin, is so extensive that little if any material remains after the fire. However, there is little data in the literature that specifically addresses the utility of oxide properties in the context of fire investigations.