Sea salt aerosol (SSA) contains both inorganic salts and organic matter from the ocean. It is thought that the amount of organic matter transferred to SSA depends on microbiological activity. The organic matter in sea spray can contain dissolved organic matter or even microbes themselves, like bacteria and viruses.
Salt spray is largely responsible for corrosion of metallic objects near the coastline, as the salts accelerate the corrosion process in the presence of abundant atmospheric oxygen and moisture. Salts do not dissolve in air directly, but are suspended as fine particulates, or dissolved in microscopic airborne water droplets.
The salt spray test is a notable measure of material endurance, particularly if the material will be used outdoors and must perform in a mechanical load bearing or otherwise critical role. These results are often of great interest to the marine industries, whose products may suffer extreme acceleration of corrosion and subsequent failure due to the salt water environment.
- Lewis, Ernie; Schwartz, Stephen (2004). Sea Salt Aerosol Production: Mechanisms, Methods, Measurements, and Models. Washington, DC: American Geophysical Union. p. 413. ISBN 087590-417-3.
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