Corrosion of Steel

One of the greatest drawbacks and inherent danger of using steel is the fact that it corrodes. When steel corrodes, it becomes weaker and structurally unsound.

What Causes Steel Corrosion?

The corrosion of steel is a process that requires the presence of water or moisture and oxygen. The iron (i.e. iron ore) in the steel is oxidized or chemically changed to produce rust. This rust has no structure and occupies approximately six times the volume of the original steel. The rate of corrosion depends on the amount of oxygen and water that is in contact with the steel.

Nearly all metals can corrode. Some, like pure iron, corrode quickly. Stainless steel, which combines iron and other alloys such as chrome, nickel and titanium, are slower to corrode. And some metals do not corrode at all, such as palladium, silver, platinum, and gold.

The World Corrosion Organization estimates the global cost of corrosion to be about US$2.5 trillion annually, and a large portion of this – as much as 25% – could be eliminated by applying simple, well-understood prevention techniques.

Corrosion prevention should not, however, be considered solely a financial issue, but also one of health and safety. Corroded bridges, buildings, ships, and other metal structures can and do cause injury and death.

How to Create an Effective Prevention System

An effective prevention system begins in the design stage with a proper understanding of the environmental conditions and metal properties. Engineers work with metallurgical experts to select the proper metal or alloy for each situation. Below are some considerations:

  • Metal Type: the best metal type is Aluminum, Stainless, ENDURA Cr, or ENDURA Dual
  • Protective Coating: rust prevention paint, plastic or powder coatings, galvanizing etc. are best to add an extra layer of protection
  • Environmental Measures: control the moisture in the air
  • Corrosion Inhibitors: chemicals that react with the surface of the metal to suppress the electrochemical reactions leading to corrosion
  • Design Modification: modifications to consider include avoiding the trapping of dust and water, monitoring the movement of air, avoiding any open crevices, and ensuring metal is accessible for regular maintenance

Is Titus Steel’s Wear Resistant Steel Right for Your Project?

For projects prone to severe wear and impact ENDURA Cr, overlaid with Chromium Carbides to retard corrosion, is an ideal choice. Alternatively, ENDURA Dual is wear resistant steel that contains Titanium Carbides, which in itself is remarkably resistant to corrosion and tends to be a more cost effective option.

Titus Steel provides 24 hour delivery to London Sarnia, Barrie and Sudbury, and North Bay. Contact us today to discuss all of your steel needs.