10 Painful Corrosion Causes: How Many Do You Know?

Understanding the different corrosion sources in metal fabrication makes it possible to take preventative measures against them, which involves using corrosion-resistant coatings, protective materials, and preventive maintenance. By taking these steps, metal fabrication businesses can reduce their risk of corrosion and extend the life of their products.

Overall, corrosion is a problem that affects every metal fabrication business. By understanding the sources and causes of corrosion, businesses can take proactive steps to their risk and extend the life of their products. Taking precautions now will save businesses time and money in the long run.

Corrosion is a major challenge for metal fabrication and can lead to costly repair or replacement of materials. Identifying the source of corrosion is important to minimize its impact on your projects. While certain sources, such as atmospheric moisture, are more well-known, some uncommon sources may cause problems in your fabrication processes.

Corrosion Caused by Exposure to Seaside Salt Air.
Corrosion Caused by Exposure to Seaside Salt Air.

Rust Common Causes

Moisture in the Air

One of the most common causes of rust is exposure to moisture. When metal surfaces come into contact with water through direct contact or humidity in the air, they can start to rust because water contains oxygen and other minerals that react with the metal to form iron oxide or rust. In areas with high levels of rainfall or humidity, such as coastal regions or humid climates, metal surfaces are liable to rust.

Salt Air

Another common cause of rust is exposure to saltwater or salt air. Saltwater contains high salt levels, accelerating the rusting process, so boats and other marine structures are especially vulnerable to rust. Salt air, common in coastal regions, also speeds up rusting by depositing salt on metal surfaces.

Corrosion Caused by Exposure to Acid and Other Chemicals.
Corrosion Caused by Exposure to Acid and Other Chemicals.

Acids and Chemicals

Besides moisture and salt exposure, acids and chemicals can cause rust. Acids corrode metal surfaces, leading to rust formation, which occurs in industrial settings with manufacturing’s use of acids. Chemicals, such as fertilizers and cleaning agents, can also cause rust if they come into contact with metal surfaces.

Poor Maintenance

Poor maintenance practices also contribute to rust formation. When metal surfaces are not properly cleaned or coated, they can be more prone to rusting. For example, look at your car: if not regularly washed, dirt and grime accumulates on the metal surfaces, providing a breeding ground for rust. 

Construction Materials

Corrosion Caused by Poor Storage Conditions: Bad buildings equals corrosion.
Corrosion Caused by Poor Storage Conditions: Bad buildings equals corrosion.

Another potential source of corrosion is the materials used in construction. Different metals can react with each other or even to their environment, causing problems not immediately considered. Using non-metallic components and coatings helps reduce the risk of corrosion because of material interactions.

Poor Storage

Consider the environment when storing your metal components. Ignoring environmental factors such as humidity, temperature, and dirt can lead to corrosion over time. Investing in proper storage and maintenance practices can help prolong the life of your metal components by preventing corrosion from environmental influences.

Unusual Corrosion Sources

Dissimilar Metals

When installing metal components made of different metals, galvanic corrosion may occur because of the electrolyte created by their connection. Avoid this process because it causes one metal to rust faster than normal.

Stress Corrosion Cracking (SCC)

When metals are put under stress and exposed to corrosive environments, such as high temperatures or certain chemicals, SCC occurs. This type of corrosion usually affects stainless steel and aluminum.

Example of Stress Corrosion Cracking.
Example of Stress Corrosion Cracking.

Microbial Corrosion

Microorganisms can also cause metal deterioration over time by producing acid compounds that corrode the surface. The presence of moisture and other nutrients enhances the process.

Fretting Corrosion

Fretting corrosion—a form of wear corrosion—affects surfaces in contact with each other during movement or vibration. The small particles formed because of friction can also create an electrolyte for corrosion, which leads to further damage.

In Sum

By being aware of these potential sources of corrosion and taking steps to minimize their impact, you can ensure that your metal components remain in good condition for years to come. Investing the time and resources into corrosion prevention will help save you money in the long run by avoiding costly repairs or replacements caused by corrosion. Taking proactive steps can keep your metal fabrication projects looking great and performing their best.

Remember, the devil is in the details of corrosion prevention. By being aware of the unexpected sources of corrosion listed here and taking steps to prevent them, you can ensure that your metal fabrication projects remain in top condition for years to come. Investing in effective corrosion prevention will be well worth it in the long run.

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