Pipeline Hygiene: Why Corrosion is Bad News for Pipelines

Did you know that corrosion causes about $300 billion in damage every year? If you work in an industry that relies on pipelines, you understand how detrimental corrosion can be, both in damage and disruptions for repairs.

The good news is that corrosion in a pipeline is a slow and often predictable occurrence. And planning for it is the best way to halt or mitigate its impact.

The information below goes over the basics of what circumstances cause corrosion and what you can do to address them. Keep reading to find out how you can beef up your infrastructure, increase reliability, and save money.

What Causes Corrosion?

Corrosion is a degrading of metal resulting from chemical or electrochemical reactions. Most metals oxidize easily, which is the source of the problem.

This means they lose electrons to oxygen, hydrogen, bacteria, or sulfates in the liquid or gas they are transporting. Rust, for instance, is a common electrochemical reaction in which iron oxides form.

Solutions with lower pH levels are especially corrosive, especially for metals like copper. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends pH levels remain between 6.5 and 8.5 to minimize this effect.

A common area where corrosion occurs is under washers or around bolts in the piping. This is known as “crevice corrosion”. “Pitting” is where small areas of piping, for various reasons, corrode much faster than the rest of the metallic structure.

Metal-to-metal or “galvanic” corrosion results when two metals are immersed in a solution that causes one of the materials (the anode) to corrode quickly. The other metal (the cathode) is protected.

How to Prevent Corrosion?

To prevent bacteria from forming in pipeline joints and crevices, you can install linings and sealants. Likewise, stable piping–free of vibrations and friction–help reduce the potential of cracks forming where corrosion can take off. Similarly, galvanization is the process where you coat iron or steel with zinc, which corrodes rather than the pipe itself.

The easiest way to avoid metal-to-metal corrosion is to use two metals with similar corrosion potentials. You can also insulate the two metal materials. For example, in piping, you can install insulators, which add a buffer between metals.

One of the best things you can do to stave off corrosion is to hire a professional pipe coating and lining company. They can help you formulate solutions unique to your industry.

Put an End to Pipeline Corrosion

Now that you have some idea of what causes pipeline corrosion and how to avoid it, you can determine your industry’s best course of action. Remember that preventative measures are more effective than treatment. Once you get your piping system back in shape, be sure to install the necessary linings and casings to keep them running for years to come.

At Rak Industrial Services, we have provided corrosion control services for almost 50 years. We offer everything from line leak repair to high-end pipeline coatings and linings. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you have more reliable piping and eliminate costly downtime.

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