A corrosion inhibitor namely N′-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzylidene) nicotinohydrazide was synthesized and the inhibition efficiency of the investigated inhibitor toward the mild steel corrosion in 1 M HCl was studied. The anticorrosion effect has been investigated by weight loss (WL) techniques and electrochemical analysis includes potentiodynamic polarization (PDP) studies and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The current investigation has demonstrated that the tested inhibitor is suitable in corrosive environment and the inhibitive efficacy up to 97% in 1 M HCl. PDP measurements showed that the nicotinohydrazide is a mixed type inhibitor. EIS measurements showed that an increase in the inhibitory concentration leads to an increase in the charge transfer resistance (
) and a decrease in the double-layer capacitance (
). Experimental results for the inhibitory performance of WL methods and electrochemical techniques (PDP and EIS) are in good agreement. The tested inhibitor molecules adsorbed on the surface of mild steel in a hydrochloric acid solution followed Langmuir’s isothermal adsorption. Quantum chemical parameters based on density function theory (DFT) techniques were conducted on oxygen/nitrogen-bearing heterocyclic molecule employed as a corrosion inhibitor for mild steel in HCl to evaluate the correlation between the inhibitor structure and inhibitory performance. The parameters including the energy gap (ΔE
), dipole moment (μ
), electronegativity (χ
), electron affinity (A
), global hardness (η
), softness (σ
), ionization potential (I
), the fraction of electrons transferred (ΔN
), the highest occupied molecular orbital energy (EHOMO), and the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital energy (ELUMO) were also calculated and were in good agreement with the experimental results.
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