What Is Corrosion? Plus How to Prevent It

Corrosion is a widespread and costly problem that affects every industry on the planet. Did you know that corrosion costs the world $2.2 trillion per year, more than 3% of global GDP?

No metal is immune to corrosion. However, corrosion can be slowed, managed, or stopped before it causes a problem. There are feasible ways to keep metal parts from corroding. First, corrosion control can be incorporated into the design process by engineers. Second, manufacturers can use corrosion barriers to protect their products. Finally, those who use the metal can take preventative measures to extend its life.

What is corrosion, and how can it be avoided? Read on for a quick overview of why metal corrodes and how to prevent corrosion!

What Is Corrosion? 

Corrosion takes place when the metal in its environment reacts with an oxidizing agent. This chemical process can cause the metal to corrode, tarnishing its looks and jeopardizing its structural stability over time.

Metals have varying electrochemical characteristics. These factors determine the object’s corrosion susceptibility. For example, iron tools rust when exposed to dampness, and copper tarnishes when exposed to the elements. While some metals resist corrosion more than others, none are immune to corrosion. 

There is no one answer to metal rust. With so many metals and applications, companies must use various strategies to prevent and manage corrosion.

Ways to Prevent Corrosion 

Corrosion prevention in metals is taken into account at all stages of the manufacturing process. This is from design and production to completing and maintenance. 

Prevention of Corrosion in Design

Corrosion control starts in engineering. Manufacturers should design parts for environments that are prone to corrosion.

For example, exposed portions should drain water and dirt rather than pool on the surface. Designers should remove tiny holes that allow air or liquid to enter and stagnate. In corrosive situations, such as seawater, it may be prudent to engineer in some corrosion allowance. 

Coatings for Protection

Coatings can protect metal items from corrosion by forming a barrier between them and corrosive elements in the surroundings. For example, manufacturers commonly galvanize parts by coating them with a light coating of zinc.

Powder coatings also help prevent corrosion in metal items by sealing the part’s surface from the environment. 

Control the Environment Around the Object

Many external factors affect corrosion risk. First, it helps to keep metals dry and clean when not in use. If you plan to store them for some time, consider controlling the environment’s sulfur, chloride, and oxygen levels.

Galvanic corrosion happens when two metals with different electrode potency come into contact with an electrolyte like saltwater. The higher electrode activity metal corrodes at the contact point. Separate storage prevents galvanic corrosion. This effect can also be used to avoid corrosion. 

Protection Using Cathodic Method

Applying a conflicting electrical current to a metal’s surface prevents corrosion. An impressed current protects against cathodic corrosion by overpowering a corrosive current in the metal object.

A sacrificial anode is a less complicated cathodic corrosion protection method. First, attach a reactive metal to the metal you want to protect. Then, to save the less active metal from corrosion, metal ions will flow from the reactive metal to the other. 

Maintaining Protection from Corrosion

All of the above methods work well to prevent metal corrosion. However, they are useless without ongoing management and checking. Minor scratches and abrasions in coatings can lead to corrosion. Always keep metals clean and apply extra protection as and when needed.

All Things Shiny!

So now you know what is corrosion!

When your business depends on your equipment and machinery, you need to make sure they last. These machines are usually costly. So, getting the most usage from them is crucial. This is why protecting equipment from rust and corrosion is of the utmost importance.

As a result, if you notice any potential corrosion problems, please get in touch with us. Our team will provide you with the best cost-effective solution!

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