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A corrosion inhibitor reduces the corrosion rate of a metal exposed to that environment.

Inhibition is used internally with carbon steel pipes and vessels as an economic corrosion control alternative to stainless steels and alloys, coatings, or non-metallic composites, and can often be implemented without disrupting a process. The major industries using corrosion inhibitors are oil and gas exploration and production, petroleum refining, chemical manufacturing, heavy manufacturing, water treatment, and the product additive industries.

The total consumption of corrosion inhibitors in the United States has doubled from approximately $600 million in 1982 to nearly $1.1 billion in 1998.