It’s a fact of life: metal corrodes. Corrosion is annoying at best and at worst, can ruin your metal tools and machinery. But with the proper precautions and maintenance, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to protect metal against corrosion.
What Is Corrosion?
Corrosion occurs when metal interacts with its environment, causing it to become a more chemically stable form like oxide, hydroxide, or sulfide. The process is a result of moisture and an oxidizing agent interacting with the metal itself. Corrosion is detrimental to both a metal’s appearance and structural integrity, and it can be costly or even impossible to repair.
Ways To Prevent Corrosion
Because corrosion can be so difficult to deal with once it has already occurred, the best way to combat corrosion is to prevent it altogether. Below are some of the best methods for preventing corrosion.
Corrosion occurs as a result of a metal interacting with its environment. Thus, if the environment surrounding the metal is controlled, corrosion can be prevented, or at the very least, lessened. When possible, reduce your metal’s exposure to water and limit the moisture, salt, and oxygen in the air around your metal’s surface.
Sacrificial coating is a method of protection in which the metal is coated with an additional metal coating that is likely to oxidize. Because the protective, outer coating of metal takes the brunt of the corrosion, it effectively protects the metal underneath. One form of sacrificial coating is called cathodic protection, also known as galvanizing. In the galvanizing process, a coating of zinc is added to the surface of the metal. That layer of zinc then protects the metal from corrosion by acting as a barrier and corroding instead of the protected metal.
Another method of protecting metal from corrosion is applying a protective coating to its surface. This can be as simple as applying a protective coat of paint over the surface of the metal. Powder coating is another example of a protective coating. In this method, a dry, powdery substance is applied to the surface of the metal and heated until it coats it entirely with a film, protecting it.
Proper maintenance of metal will prolong its lifespan and protect it from corrosion. Take measures to shield your metal from corrosion with protective coatings and other techniques. Also, be sure to check your metal surfaces for corrosion often and to clean them frequently.
Knowing how to protect metal against corrosion will help you to properly care for your metal products—from simple household items to machines. Taking preventive measures against corrosion is certainly wise, and it will save you money and the hassle of replacement or repair in the long run.