The inhibition effect of 2-mercaptothiazoline (2MT) on the corrosion behavior of mild steel (MS) in 0.5 M HCl solution was studied in both short and long immersion times (120 h) using potentiodynamic polarization, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and linear polarization resistance (LPR) techniques. For long-term tests, hydrogen gas evolution (V(H2) - t) and the change of the open circuit potential with immersion time (E(ocp) - t) were also measured in addition to the former three techniques. The surface morphology of the MS after its exposure to 0.5 M HCl solution with and without 1.0 x 10(-2) M 2MT with the different immersion times was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The thermal stability of the inhibitor film was investigated by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The value of activation energy (E(a)) for the MS corrosion and the thermodynamic parameters such as adsorption equilibrium constant (K(ads)), free energy of adsorption (Delta G(ads)), adsorption heat (Delta H(ads)) and adsorption entropy (Delta S(ads)) values were calculated and discussed. The potential of zero charge (PZC) of the MS in inhibited solution was studied by the EIS method, and a mechanism for the adsorption process was proposed. The results showed that 2MT performed excellent inhibiting effect for the corrosion of the MS. Finally, the high inhibition efficiency was discussed in terms of adsorption of inhibitor molecules and protective film formation on the metal surface. TGA results also indicated that the inhibitor film on the surface had a relatively good thermal stability. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.