Pipeline corrosion is something that we are going to have to reckon with as a nation sooner or later. Not only is it jeopardizing the transportation of valuable fuel sources like natural gas and petroleum, it’s also costing a lot of money. In fact, pipeline corrosion on its own costs the American economy over $9 billion every year. It’s not necessarily that our piping systems are inadequate or that high-strength forged products are not meant to last. Rather, the issues are manifold, and just as there are many problems there are also many potential solutions to these problems.
Although maintenance can be done on pipes and pipe fittings after they’ve been installed, this obviously requires a lot of work and money. Therefore, not only should that maintenance be executed as efficiently as possible, but preventative steps should be taken in order to ensure that pipes are less likely to suffer from corrosion. With that in mind, let’s explore some of the steps that can be taken to prevent and manage pipeline corrosion in high-strength forged products.
1. Use Epoxy Coatings
One of the best ways to prevent corrosion in high-strength forged products is the use of epoxy coatings. This is done to prevent oxidation corrosion. Most of the time, pipes are made from steel that is high quality, and the coatings that are used should correspond. The issue with corrosion in many cases is that steel is simply being exposed to the elements over time. Water, soil, and warm temperatures can all contribute to corrosion, and epoxy is meant to act as a barrier between the steel and those factors.
The epoxy should be applied before the pipelines are installed. The application procedure is fairly simple and can be compared to painting. It’s especially important that epoxy is applied to pipes that will be installed in more diverse terrain where it’s more difficult to predict how the steel will react.
2. Oiling and Greasing
Pipes are obviously used to transport oil in many cases. However, oil in itself can also prevent corrosion in high-strength forged products. The use of lubrication has proven effective in preventing erosion, though oil is certainly not the only type of lubrication that can be selected. Furthermore, oil and lubrication can also be applied to rubber and plastic.
Usually, these lubricants are rust removers, which means that they are applied after rust has already occurred. Rust remover has the benefit of penetrating the pores of the metal. If the rust accumulated is relatively minor, it can be fairly easy to remove. In the case of severe rust, it’s often better to choose a different option. Pipes can also be lined with lubrication from within. If pipes are being used in areas prone to buildup, the oil within acts as a sealant and protective layer. However, it’s important to make sure that the lubricant being used corresponds with the product being transported.
3. Use Reinforced Metals
In many cases, the products that you use will already be reinforced. But it’s important to buy from fitting distributors that are aware of the need for infusing metal with protective elements. These include beams, joints, and bolts. Additionally, some forged steel fittings can be strengthened through the addition of a layer of zinc to the surfaces.
4. Utilize Restraints
It’s important to stabilize structures if you want to prevent corrosion. When openings begin to form in steel pipelines, corrosion begins to set in. This often causes crevice corrosion. Restraints are some of the best ways to prevent this type of corrosion. These include straps, clamps, and u-bolts. They reduce the vibrations that lead to corrosion.
5. Prevent Metal-to-Metal Contact
There is a type of corrosion that occurs when metals are in contact with each other called galvanic corrosion. It occurs when one metal draws electrons from another, ultimately resulting in a weakened section of the overall piping system. In order to prevent this, the metal in question should be insulated. This would involve installing insulators like wear pads or pipe shoes. They act as buffers between metals, ultimately resulting in longer-lasting pipes.
There are a lot of reasons why we should try to prevent corrosion in piping systems. Though this may require some time, effort, and money, the ultimate savings will be well worth it.