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How to Prevent Corrosion of Carbon Steel Pipes

Nov. 12, 2021

Are your pipes and fittings safe? They're probably not. According to the American Galvanizing Association, 85 percent of steel is carbon steel. And carbon steel is susceptible to many types of corrosion. If your piping system contains this metal, you don't have to panic. There are several ways to prevent corrosion in carbon steel piping without having to replace the pipe altogether.

What Causes It?

There are indications of several factors that pull carbon steel corrosion, but the overall cause is the same. The biggest problem with carbon steel is that it contains a lot of iron. This makes it strong, sturdy, and a reliable choice for building structures. 

But iron has a downside. When it is exposed to moisture, oxygen quickly combines with the iron. The result is iron oxide - also known as rust. 

When rust forms, it doesn't just stay in one place. It tends to spread quickly and eat away at the metal. In piping systems, this can easily lead to leaks, pressure loss and fractures. 

Exposure to moisture, dust, chemicals and high salt content can accelerate the corrosion process. In addition, anything that wears away at the metal surface gives the corrosive elements an opportunity to embed and corrode the metal. 

Black Painted Carbon Steel Pipe Fittings

How to prevent it?

Fortunately, you don't have to give up carbon steel altogether to protect your pipes from corrosion. Here are some ways to prevent corrosion on carbon steel

Keep surfaces clean

Typically, corrosion occurs when bacteria, corrosive chemicals or moisture seep into the metal. This means you can mitigate the effects of corrosion by keeping surfaces dry and flat. Adding a water-resistant coating or using a sealer to prevent corrosive materials from slipping into crevices are both possible.

Protective Coatings

A protective coating strengthens the metal surface and reduces the opening for cracks or other corrosion traps. In addition, you can add a zinc coating to strengthen the outer layer and prevent galvanic corrosion.

Control pipe movement 

You may already know how pipe restraints such as U-bolts, clamps and straps prevent pipes from striking surrounding objects. Some pipe restraints use a protective lining to minimize vibration and encourage axial movement.

Prevent metal-to-metal contact 

Eliminating metal-to-metal contact strengthens the pipe in two ways. First, it helps you avoid pairing different metals together. This protects the pipeline from galvanic corrosion. 

Second, it prevents metal from scraping against other metals and prevents surface scratches that could start corrosion. You can physically isolate the pipe from the metal surface with a wear pad, rod, or other isolator. 

Finally, you've got a way to reduce corrosion in carbon steel pipe fittings. Put it into practice now. Or stop by our BONA office and speak with one of our experts for more details on carbon steel pipe fittings.

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