Corrosion Protection Practices You Should Be Following
Corrosion (also known as oxidation) is one of the most common reason metal parts require repair and replacement. It can damage both the physical and atheistic integrity of a structure, discoloring its surfaces and weakening its strength and durability.
Corrosion can be tricky to avoid because it’s typically caused by common, natural elements. The process of corrosion takes place when metal is exposed to both moisture and oxygen. For example, when water comes into contact with an iron surface (think: anytime it rains on outdoor iron machinery) the oxygen in the air combines with that water to form iron oxide. Iron oxide, when left on a surface over time, creates rust that begins to eat away at the metal underneath. Once metal experiences corrosion, it’s impossible to reverse. However, you can attempt to stop further corrosion with the right corrosion prevention techniques.
Common Corrosion Protection Tactics
Let’s begin by noting that not every metal is at risk for corrosion. While iron is the most corrosive type of metal, aluminum and stainless steel are more resistant to corrosion. Be sure you know how likely the metal you’re working with is to corrode, so that you can pursue corrosion protection tactics with the appropriate amount of due diligence.
Tactic: Wipe and Cover
To prevent corrosion, it’s easiest to start by protecting the metal surface from the elements that cause corrosion. Since exposure to water is an essential part of the corrosion equation, you can look to adopt practical tactics like keeping metal surfaces dry (performing wipe downs after every use) and storing them in covered areas that will shield from rain and other moisture.
Tactic: Apply Sealant Coatings
Striving to keep metal surfaces dry with wipe downs and storage units isn’t exactly a foolproof method, and is probably best suited as a complementary effort to something more reliable, like the application of a sealant coating. This type of coating provides a protective exterior to the metal that prevents water from contacting the surface.
Sealant coatings (often clear) can be purchased at home improvement stores and applied by hand; however, for larger jobs with more complex requirements, consider getting a sealant coating done by a professional. Keep in mind that—as with any corrosion protection tactic—sealants are most effective when applied directly after the use of a blasting system at the time of manufacturing.
Tactic: Apply Carbon Fiber Coatings
You can also cover metal with another, different layer of metal. While this might sound counterintuitive, with this approach, the second layer of metal is there to protect the one underneath. It may be exposed to elements that can cause corrosion, but any risk will be incurred by the protective layer, rather than the core layer of metal you need to preserve. Consider carbon fiber coatings for this tactic. Carbon fiber offers multiple benefits as it also reinforces the strength and sturdiness of a piece of metal.
Tactic: Use Dehumidifiers
For metal components that are kept indoors, remember that the air itself contains moisture that can contribute to corrosion over time. Dehumidifiers can help eliminate excess moisture from spaces, especially those that are particularly prone to moisture like those held in basements or machinery that operates underground. Consider using a dehumidifier as a complementary corrosion prevention practice to a primary practice like applying a sealant coating.
At Kramer Industries, we specialize in all aspects of surface finishing. If you’re having difficulties keeping your project’s surface corrosion free, call our experts. For more information on how to finish and preserve the surface of your next project, reach out to the surface finishing experts at Kramer Industries.