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Uhde India Limited

TRAINING MANUAL PIPING

DOC No. : 29040-PI-UFR-0026

FORMS OF CORROSION
RECOGNITION AND PREVENTION

Rev.

: R0

Page

: 1

CONTENTS
Page
0.0

Cover Sheet

1.0

Introduction

2.0

Thermodynamics

3.0

Electrochemical Criteria

4.0

Forms of Corrosion

36

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TRAINING MANUAL PIPING

DOC No. : 29040-PI-UFR-0026

FORMS OF CORROSION
RECOGNITION AND PREVENTION

Rev.

: R0

Page

: 2

Uhde India Limited

1.0

INTRODUCTION:

Corrosion can be defined in a more simplistic way as deterioration of materials under the
influence of an environment. Without exception, the corrosion of metals and alloys (majority of
materials used in industry) in aqueous environments (the most often encountered
environment) is an electrochemical reaction. A brief description of the electrochemical
principles for the beginners of corrosion are made before attempting on the forms of
corrosion. For a more detailed study the participants can refer the bibliography given at the
end.
2.0

THERMODYNAMICS:

At the outset it is necessary to pose the question WHY DO METALS CORRODE? And set a
criteria for the process. Corrosion of metals and alloys involves oxidation from its metallic
state and therefore must obey the thermodynamic criteria as any other processes. Take for
example, the corrosion of Mg in water, which can be represented by the following reaction.

Mg + H2O(l) + 1/2 O2 = Mg(OH)2

-142.6 K Cals

The corrosion of Mg is spontaneous as it leads to a -ve change in free energy. On the


contrary the reaction of Au with H2O and O2 results in a +ve change in free energy and so Au
cannot be corroded.

3.0

ELECTROCHEMICAL CRITERIA:

It must be remembered that corrosion of metals and alloys by aqueous media must
necessarily proceed through electrochemical process, hence it is imperative to set
electrochemical criteria for corrosion of metals. As indicated earlier, corrosion of metals
involves oxidation of metals and alloys from their metallic state in ionic form. It is represented
as
M

n+

M + ne (Oxidation)

One can notice, the oxidation of metal simultaneously leads to release of electrons. Should
the reaction to continue there must be a sink for electrons. This is accompanied by a
reduction reaction. WHAT ARE THESE CATHODIC REACTIONS?. One or more of the
following reactions are possible. They are
+

2H + 2e = H2

(Hydrogen Reduction reaction)

O2 + 4H + 4e = 2H2O

(Reduction of dissolved O2 in acidic media)


-

O2 + 2H2O + 4e = 2OH
n+

M + ne =
n+

M +e

(Reduction of dissolved O2 in basic media)

M (Metal Deposition)
(n-1)+

(Metal ion reduction)

Interestingly oxidation (also called anodic) and reduction (also called cathodic) reaction occur
on the same surface of the metal. In uniform corrosion these anodic and cathodic sites keeps
interchanging with respect to time.

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TRAINING MANUAL PIPING

DOC No. : 29040-PI-UFR-0026

FORMS OF CORROSION
RECOGNITION AND PREVENTION

Rev.

: R0

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: 3

FORMS OF CORROSION:

4.1 UNIFORM CORROSION:

Though uniform corrosion is an idealized form of corrosion and cause less damage than the
other forms of corrosion, it is more appropriate to understand this form of corrosion.
This leads to uniform thinning of the structures. The attack is measured in terms of
penetration. They have the units mpy(mills per year)or mm per year. This can be determined
by any gravimetry method. Depending on the applications the tolerance of the alloy towards
corrosion is chosen as given in the Table 1.

Table 1 : Range of corrosion rates


Corr
osio
n
Rate
<5
5-50
>50
<.5

Application

valves, pumps, shafts and


impellers
tanks, piping, valve bodies,
bolt heads
not satisfactory
pharmaceuticals, implants for
bodies.

4.1.1 Prevention
One or more of the following methods can be adopted to prevent uniform corrosion.

Cathodic Protection
Inhibitors
Protective Coatings
Selecting Proper Materials

4.2 GALVANIC CORROSION:

When dissimilar metals or alloys differing in their galvanic or corrosion potential are employed
and if they are electrically shorted they induce this type of corrosion. The corrosion rate of the
alloy with lower corrosion potential will be accelerated by that of higher corrosion potential.

4.2.1

Identification

The active metal is corroded


Grooving of the interface
Noble metal deposits from the stream
Graphite lining or bricks

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4.2.2

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DOC No. : 29040-PI-UFR-0026

FORMS OF CORROSION
RECOGNITION AND PREVENTION

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Prevention

Provide electrical insulation between the metal


Choose alloys closer in the galvanic series
Provide design in structure so as to make anodic to cathodic ratio extremely large.
Coat both anode and cathodic areas. Otherwise coat only the cathode.
Protect the corroding metal with a sacrificial anode, which is anodic to the corroding
metal.

4.3 CREVICE CORROSION:

Accelerated corrosion occurs if differential aeration exists due crevice, metal joining (lap
joints, flanges etc.)or any deposits. Interestingly the location starving for oxygen is forced to
become anodic and the region having free access to oxygen becomes cathode.
4.3.1

Rivets, flanges, lap joints are attacked internally.


Deposits such as corrosion products, organic deposits, growth of organisms etc. cause
corrosion.
Improper drainage of vessels, pipelines cause accelerated attack.

4.3.2

Identification

Prevention

Avoid riveting, go in for welding


Design for proper drainage
For stainless steels high Mo content (316,317 and Haste alloys) reduces crevice
corrosion
Remove the deposits
Use solid non absorbent gaskets

4.4 PITTING CORROSION:

Alloys in presence of certain ions (such as halides) are prone to pitting. The rate of
penetration within the pit can be as high as one million times as compared to the
surroundings.
4.4.1

Pinholes
Normally grow in the direction of gravity
The alloy environment combination is likely to promote pitting
Pitting has taken place along inclusion

4.4.2

Identification

Prevention

Eliminate the specific ions responsible for pitting (say halides in the case of SS)
Choose alloy resistant to pitting. In stainless steels high Mo promotes resistance (haste
alloys, duplex stainless steels)
Mild steels serve better in chloride environment than SS if certain amount of uniform
corrosion is tolerated. Monel has more resistance in this environment.

Uhde India Limited

TRAINING MANUAL PIPING

DOC No. : 29040-PI-UFR-0026

FORMS OF CORROSION
RECOGNITION AND PREVENTION

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4.5 SELECTIVE LEACHING (DEZINCIFICATION):

When noble and active elements form an alloy it result in selective removal of the latter. As a
consequence the alloy looses its strength and fails prematurely. Cu-Zn alloys are well known
where in dezincification occurs if Zn content exceeds beyond 15 wl. Similarly we have
denickelification, desiliconation, decobaltification.
4.5.1

They give rise to plug and layered types of attack.


Change in color (from yellow to brown in the cases of brasses)
X-ray diffraction can some times reveal selective removal of one element
There can be a change in density in some cases.

4.5.2

Identification

Prevention

Addition of any one of the elements namely Sn, As, Sb and P


Al addition reduces overall corrosion and to some extent dezincification.

4.6 INTERGRANULAR CORROSION:

This type of corrosion occurs as a result of selective attack of the grain boundaries when
either grain boundary becomes highly active or phases prone to selective attack are formed.
Stainless steels, which are normally resistant to intergranular attack, when subjected to an
heat treatment between 400-900 C become sensitive to intergranular corrosion (IGC). This
range can vary depending on the composition of the alloy. This treatment is called
sensitization treatment and alloy is said to be sensitized. This is mainly due to the formation of
Cr23C6 and the consequent grain boundary depletion. Welding, a common practice in
fabrication causes such an IGC attack.

4.6.1

Attack of the alloy away from the weldment called heat affected zone.
Clear ditch type of attack along the grain boundary and consequent weakening seen at
higher magnification.

4.6.2

Identification

Prevention

Choose low carbon and extra low carbon stainless steels (such ss are 3041,3161,3171)
Choose Ti or Ta and Nb containing alloys (321,347)
Provide a solutions treatment to redissolve the carbides (1050 C, 30 m)

4.7 EROSION CORROSION:

When there is a relative movement of the corrosive environment with respect to the alloy it
can lead to erosion corrosion. Pipelines and heat exchangers are subjected to such a kind of
failure.

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4.7.1

DOC No. : 29040-PI-UFR-0026

FORMS OF CORROSION
RECOGNITION AND PREVENTION

Rev.

: R0

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: 6

Identification

Attack at the bends in pipelines


Grooves in the direction of liquid flow.

4.7.2

TRAINING MANUAL PIPING

Prevention

Reduce the velocity of the medium


Choose hard materials
Avoid sharp turns
Provide hard coatings.

4.8 CAVITATION DAMAGE:


Some variation in erosion corrosion is cavitation damage. Here there is damage due to bubble
formation and collapse when there is hydrodynamic variation in pressure difference along the
line. At low pressure water/liquid vaporizes. When the same is subjected to higher pressure
bubble forms and subsequently implodes. This leads to plastic deformation and formation of
cavities as brought out in.

4.9 FRETTING DAMAGE:


Moving/vibrating interfaces under load causes a damage akin to wear called fretting damage.
Here the relative movement is relatively small in angstroms. Typical failed surface under this
process is brought out in.

4.10

STRESS CORROSION CRACKING:

When there is a conjoint action of stress and environment. Stress corrosion cracking occurs
(SCC). However SCC is specific to environment. The alloys are susceptible to SCC only when
specific ions are present akin to pitting corrosion. In addition the alloys fail only if the stress
exceeds a threshold level below which they are safe.
4.10.1 Identification

SCC in austenitic stainless steels are predominantly transgranular in nature .


Failure occurs by brittle mode.
Ions promoting SCC of that particular alloy must be present. Say Cl and O2 for austenitic
SS and ammoniacal solution for Cu base alloys.
If the alloy is sensitized it can promote integranular mode of cracking.

4.10.2 Prevention

Select the alloy that is not susceptible to the environment.


In the case of SS control either Cr or O2. As seen from the we can keep either one of
them low.
Apply load lower than the threshold stress.
Provide compressive stresses by sand blasting. or shot blasting.
Avoid stress concentration.