Industrial Coatings and Corrosion Prevention

Corrosion prevention is an important consideration for any Houston industrial painting company. The finest paint in the world will not make a difference if the underlying surface is susceptible to corrosion. To combat corrosion, it helps to have a decent understanding of what it is and how it occurs. With this information, it is easier to plan ahead in such a way that drastically reduces the risk of corrosion over the life of an asset.

Types of Corrosion

There are two main types of corrosion: generalized corrosion and localized corrosion. As the name implies, generalized corrosion, or uniform corrosion, tends to affect the entire surface of an object. It most commonly develops due to a loss of surface material or a uniform thinning of that material. This type of corrosion becomes readily apparent fairly quickly, so it is easier to detect and far more predictable in nature. As a result, it is also much easier to treat than localized corrosion. As long as steps to counteract it are taken early, the structural integrity of the asset is unlikely to be compromised.

Localized corrosion poses a much bigger problem. This type affects specific locations on an asset, which tend not to be visible. It is almost always caused by a failure to apply a protective coating or by the improper application of such a coating. Unfortunately, this type of corrosion often evades detection for some time, so it often damages the structural integrity of an object as well. Three common types of localized corrosion are pitting corrosion, crevice corrosion and filiform corrosion, which involves the trapping of moisture between a protective barrier and the metal below.

The Cost of Corrosion

Corrosion is not just an eyesore. It causes huge amounts of damage, and the costs are considerable. According to the SSPC, corrosion damage costs the U.S. economy upwards of $276 billion per year. These costs develop in a number of ways. For instance, cooling and cooking equipment that becomes corroded may contaminate the food within, costing restaurants and other businesses huge amounts of money. Additionally, NACE reports that it costs an average of $100.5 billion per year to fight corrosion.

Preventing Corrosion

Various methods may be used to prevent corrosion to Houston metal buildings and other metal objects and structures. However, three methods in particular are used the most often.

The most popular way to combat corrosion is with coatings and linings. However, coatings must be reapplied regularly to maintain the anti-corrosive qualities of a metal object.

Cathodic protection, which involves the use of metals that are susceptible to corrosion, is another way to ward it off. Metals like zinc, aluminum and magnesium are commonly used for this purpose. Such metals are known as anodes, and cathodic protection is often used in conjunction with linings and coatings.

Corrosion inhibitors — chemicals that slow down the speed of corrosion, are sometimes added to electrolytes in tiny amounts. This is an effective way to inhibit corrosion, but it does not prevent it entirely.

Soon enough, new ways to prevent corrosion should be available. Nanotechnology is being used to create protective coatings that essentially heal themselves, which would go a long way toward preventing corrosion and should help to reduce the exorbitant costs that go along with it. Such coatings are also being designed to change color when their self-healing properties no longer work, alerting people to the problem so they can take steps to nip the issue in the bud.

Corrosion prevention is an important matter across virtually all industries. Houston commercial painting firms, for instance, are undoubtedly excited at the prospect of self-healing anti-corrosion coatings, as they will help enhance the quality of their work by a considerable degree.

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KCS Construction Services is a general contractor focused on commercial and industrial construction in the Houston area.

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