Metal corrosion is the bane of most industrial piping systems. Every year pipeline corrosion costs the US economy about $9 billion. Globally, the figure stands at a staggering $2.2 trillion. That is about 3% of the world’s GDP.
Corrosion does not cause financial problems only. Corrosion eats into metal pipes, causing them to be weak and brittle. Eroding pipes can be hazardous for your employees who may even sustain injuries from pipe collapse. The impact of pollution from pipeline oil leaks to the environment is immeasurable. Luckily, in most situations, metal corrosion can be managed, slowed, or even stopped using proper corrosion protection methods.
What Is Corrosion?
Corrosion is the deterioration of material when exposed to environmental factors. It is caused by a reaction between moisture, a metal surface, and an oxidizing agent. These reactions lead to the formation of oxides, sulfides, and chlorides, which effectively weaken the metal structure.
There are various corrosion protection methods that you can use to keep your pipeline safe. They include:
This method involves placing a protective barrier between the metallic pipe and external environmental factors such as moisture. A paint coating is one of the most common forms of protective coating. It is a cost-effective method that prevents the transfer of electrical charge to the metal underneath the paint. This inhibits the acid solution from chipping the steel away.
Additionally, you may opt for dry powders to form a powdered protective coating. The most common powdered compounds include:
The powders are poured on a clean metal surface then heated to fuse with the metal forming a smooth, broken film. You can use the powders to fill cracks and crevices on the piping, thus preventing further leakages.
This process involves the layering of your metal pipes with another metal of a different type. This corrosion prevention method works on the principle of oxidation, where the coating metal is likely to be oxidized compared to your metal pipeline. This technique ‘sacrifices’ the coating metal over your base metal.
The sacrificial coating is achieved in two ways:
- Cathodic protection which involves coating your steel pipes with zinc in a process commonly referred to as galvanizing. Zinc is more reactive than steel and is oxidized faster, thus protecting the steel surface from being eroded.
- Anodic protection involves coating your metal piping systems with tin, which is less reactive than steel. The tin will not corrode, thus prevents pipe corrosion.
These are materials that line the surface of metals, thus protecting them from moisture and other corrosive environmental factors. One of the most common protective linings is the pipe wear pads. These wear pads provide a light coat of protective material, usually a composite that acts as a protective layer.
The pads keep moisture out, thus preventing rusting. The protective coating insulates the pipes preventing them from vibrating against each other, which may cause abrasion. The pipe wear pads are cheap and easier to install compared to other corrosion protection methods.
Most metal corrosion can be prevented using effective corrosion protection systems. You may opt for galvanization, protective coatings, or metal pads. Pipe wear pads offer a cheaper and more effective method to deal with pipeline corrosion.