Metals are prone to corrosion; no metal is safe from this natural process. One of the most common causes of corrosion is oxidation, the chemical reaction between oxygen and iron. Three things play a role in corrosion, an exposed metal surface, an electron acceptor, and an electrolyte. To prevent corrosion from happening, one of these three should be removed. While all metals tend to corrode but it can be prevented. With suitable protection methods, it is estimated that 25% to 30% of corrosion can be avoided. But the question is how? Here are 8 ways on how to avoid corrosion on metals.
1. Control the environment. Environmental factors increase the risk of metal corrosion and simply keeping the metal in a clean and dry space can make a great change. This is one of the basic ways to regulate the environment and minimize the appearance of rust. To further slow down the deterioration of the metal, reducing the sulfur, chlorine, and oxygen content in the environment is necessary. This could be done differently depending on the metal part.
2. Applying a protective coating to the metal. By applying a protective coating, you are offering a layer of safety, a barrier between the environment and the metal parts. Manufacturers often use galvanization which is a coating method that uses a fine layer of zinc to cover the metal part to prevent the metal from rusting. Another option is powder coating that conceals a metal surface away from the external elements safeguarding it against corrosion.
3. Take advantage of cathodic protection. This type of protection converts unnecessary anodic sites on the metal surface to cathodic sites with the use of opposing currents. Using galvanic anodes is one of the most common types of cathodic protection used. It utilizes metal anodes, sacrificing them to keep the cathodes safe from the external factors that cause metal corrosion.
4. Start at the engineering stage. There are situations where the metal is exposed to an environment that is susceptible to corrosion. For this one, the key to protecting metal parts is to build it with that in mind. One example is, is metal art is to be exposed to environmental elements then it should enable water and debris to drain off. Narrow gaps promote crevice corrosion and should be eliminated.
5. Make use of inhibitors. Inhibitors are chemicals that react with environmental elements to disrupt the chemical process leading to corrosion. It absorbs themselves on the metal surface creating a protective film. It could be applied as a protective coating or a solution through the dispersion method.
6. Consider using alloyed sheet. This is one of the best ways to keep corrosion away as it combines the components on several metals to add resistance and strength to the part and also gives enhanced flexibility. The only downside of this is alloyed sheet is not a practical solution as it cost much compared to other options.
7. Keep an eye on surface health. Checking regularly and monitoring the health of the metal surface is crucial in protecting it against potential corrosion. Check crevices, cracks, and asperous surfaces and remove unwanted surface conditions.
8. Do electroplating. This process leverages a positively charged metal to cover a negatively charged base metal. It allows manufacturers to make items with cost-friendly base materials with high-quality metal as a protective coating. Electroplating is a wallet-friendly option.
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