Ways To Prevent Fabricated Metal Parts From Corroding

It is well known that corrosion is one of the most common challenges we encounter in metal fabrication. It is not simply rust, but a range of chemical reactions that degrade metals in different environments. Here, we share a few ways to prevent fabricated metal parts from corroding and detail what causes corrosion.

What Is Corrosion?

Corrosion occurs as a result of how a material interacts with its surroundings. While rust is a type of corrosion that occurs when iron or steel reacts with oxygen and water, it’s not the only one. All metals can corrode, but not every type of corrosion results in rust.

Types of Corrosion

You should understand the following types of corrosion to craft effective corrosion prevention strategies.

  • Oxidation: Rust is the most familiar form of oxidation, occurring in iron and its alloys. However, other metals are also susceptible to oxidation, leading to corrosion in a variety of forms.

Various types of oxidation are protective. Aluminum forms a thin oxide coating because of oxidation. Due to its high chromium content, stainless steel is corrosion-resistant, forming an invisible oxide layer that prevents further oxidative damage and repairs scratches.

  • Galvanic corrosion: This corrosion type occurs when two different metals are in electrical contact within a conductive medium. One metal corrodes more rapidly than it would alone, while the other may not corrode at all or corrodes much slower.
  • Pitting, crevice, and filiform corrosion: Pitting, crevice corrosion, and filiform corrosion are localized forms of corrosion that cause small holes or pits to form. In contrast, crevice corrosion occurs in confined spaces where the chemistry promotes corrosion activity. Humidity causes filiform corrosion and it looks like worm-like traces or bubbling paint under coatings.

Corrosion Prevention Methods

Here are some effective strategies for preventing corrosion in materials and structures:

  • Design for corrosion resistance to reduce corrosion risks by preventing moisture from pooling in crevices or on surfaces.
  • Use corrosion-resistant alloys in specific environments to significantly reduce corrosion risk and impact.
  • Apply barrier protections, such as coatings, paint, and oil to prevent corrosive substances from directly contacting the material’s surface.
  • Use sacrificial anodes—made from a more reactive metal—to attract corrosion to it rather than the main structure, protecting the product from damage.
  • Regularly inspect, clean, and control the environment around susceptible materials to extend their lifespan and prevent or minimize corrosion.

Each step of the metal fabrication process should include corrosion prevention. For example, rust and corrosion preventive coatings can obscure weld seams in fabricated tubes, making it harder for fiber laser tube cutting machines to locate and identify weld seams.

Some tube cutting machine manufacturers now incorporate cameras and detection systems to identify weld seam locations, so workers can program the machines to avoid weld seams. Therefore, workers can cut tubes with rust protection into various lengths with precision.

Maintaining the integrity and functionality of infrastructures and their components is the ultimate way to prevent fabricated metal parts from corroding. The first step to effective corrosion management and protection is to understand corrosion in all its forms.

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