Rust — the orange-brown flakes you usually see on old metals. It’s an unpleasant sight to behold. And more importantly, it poses great danger to the integrity of the metal or the structure it’s a part of.
As metals are widely used in different industries, companies that provide fabrication services are often asked about tips on how to protect their products from rusting. This article aims to provide you with vital information on how to prevent metal — metal pipes in particular — from rusting.
How Rust Forms
A form of iron oxide, rust is made when materials made of iron mix with oxygen present in the air. What catalyzes the process is water (which can be present in the form of running water, still water, or even moisture). Once water molecules permeate through the metal, corrosion will take place, further aggravating the formation of rust. This process becomes quicker if the water contains salt.
So, why exactly does rusting become an issue? Not only it is unpleasant to see, it causes metals weaker and more brittle. Over time, they become too weak that the structure they’re a part of can collapse (case in point, the Silver Bridge Disaster of 1967).
Keeping Your Pipes Protected
Companies that offer fabrication services are generally knowledgeable about the proper ways of protecting metal pipes from rust. However, this knowledge should also be known by laymen who want to maximize the life of their pipes (in their home or in their business premises). Here are some ways how:
Keep it away from water. As mentioned earlier, water is the catalyst for rusting. If you want to protect your pipes from this orange-brown discoloration, it’s a must to keep them clean and dry. If you notice, pipes located outdoors are more prone to rusting; if they’re indoors, people are advised to install dehumidifiers. Cleaning them regularly to remove dirt and grease is also a must.
Apply protective coating. Different coatings are available in the market to add a layer of protection to your metal pipes. Some prefer organic coatings like paint as a cost-effective way to prevent rust. Others opt for powder coating, in which the surface is applied with powder and heated to convert the powder into a thin film.
Make use of galvanization. Another way to protect metal pipes is through the process of galvanization. This involves coating the surface of the pipe with a metallic zinc layer. The zinc is responsible for preventing water and oxygen from penetrating the pipe and making the pipe scratch-resistant.
Regular maintenance is key. Once you see rust developing on your pipes, take action immediately. You can avoid oxidation from eating up your pipe by rubbing it with warm water and soap. Don’t forget to apply a protective coating afterward. Regular inspection is highly advised so you can keep track of the condition of your pipes.
Get help from a professional. Don’t let rust ruin the integrity of your pipes. If DIY-solutions don’t work out, get help from a professional. Firms that offer fabrication services typically provide professional rust inspection and removal services as well.
KLK Welding has years of experience when it comes to welding services, metal fabrication services, and training welders. Contact us today and let’s discuss how we can help you.