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12/4/2017 Materials - Corrosion and Corrosion Allowance -

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Materials - Effects & Economic impact of Corrosion

What is Corrosion Allowance?

By knowing the expected general corrosion rate and the anticipated plant or service life of a part, the
designer can calculate the extra thickness required for corrosion resistance of the process equipment
being designed.
After determining a wall thickness that meets mechanical requirements, such as pressure, temperature
and weight of equipment, an extra thickness called "corrosion allowance" is added to the wall 1/8
12/4/2017 Materials - Corrosion and Corrosion Allowance -

thickness to comensate for the metal expected to be lost over the life of the equipment. Then, because
the penetration depth cab very, a corrosion allowance is assigned a safety factor of two.

A tank wall required a 5 mm wall thickness for mechanical considerations. The designer has
determined that the corrosion rate will be 0.4 mm/yr and the expected life of the tank will be 10yr. The
total corrosion allowance is the corrosion rate per year (0.4 mm x 10 yr = 4 mm).
The corrosion allowance is doubled to 8 mm as a safety consideration.

Calculation of Corrosion Allowance

Corrosion allowance is not only determined by the designer, but also and especially by a state or local
agency. The latter often have years of experience with local conditions and especially the weather
conditions in a relevant area. 2/8
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Humidity, temperature, rain, wind, impurities and metal wet times have an effect on the corrosion rate.
Corrosion occurs when the relative humidity of the air is 70 to 80%. Corrosion reaction is possible
generally when the temperature is above 0°C and the relative humidity is over 80% (the surface is
wet). Air impurities that dissolve in condensed water or rain water may accelerate corrosion. Settling of
dust and dirt on the metal surface accelerates atmospheric corrosion.

Corrosion rates are expressed in terms of mm per year of surface wastage and are used to provide a
corrosion allowance in the design thickness of equipment such as vessels and pipework.

Operators will often use data based on historical experience from plant operations to aid them in
determining appropriate corrosion allowances. Alternatively corrosion charts are widely available that
give corrosion rates for many combinations of materials of construction and process fluids and
normally a range of values will be provided for various process temperatures.
In some instances, particularly where there is a mixture of chemicals present, appropriate data may
not exist and corrosion tests may be necessary in order to determine the suitability of equipment.
Operators should be able to demonstrate the use of corrosion allowances in equipment specification
and design. The sources of data used should be traceable.
As far as I know, there is no corrosion allowance exactly specified in ASME B31.3. Corrosion
allowances are normally established by the end user and are somewhat based on personal
preferences and industry tradition. 1.5 mm for piping is a common standard, but you are free to set a
corrosion allowances you wish, unless a state or local agency has adopted and superceded B31.3. To
specify the pipe, add the corrosion allowance to the minimum design thickness and select a pipe
schedule that is equal to or greater than the minimum + corrosion allowance.

Below are two tables with

guidelines for corrosion

Superheated steam 0.3 3/8
12/4/2017 Materials - Corrosion and Corrosion Allowance -

Saturated steam 0.8

Steam coils in cargo tanks and liquid fuel tanks 2.0

Feed water for boilers in open circuit systems 1.5

Feed water for boilers in closed circuit systems 0.5

Blow-down systems for boilers 1.5

Compressed air 1.0

Hydraulic oil 0.3

Lubricating oil 0.3

Fuel oil 1.0

Thermal oil 1.0

Fresh water 0.8

Sea water 3.0

Refrigerants referred to in Section 13 0.3

Cargo systems for oil tankers 2.0

Cargo systems for ships carrying liquefied gases 0.3

For pipes passing through tanks, an additional corrosion
allowance is to be considered in order to account for the
external corrosion.
Note 2: The corrosion allowance of pipes efficiently
protected against corrosion may be reduced by no more
than 50%.
Note 3: When the corrosion resistance of alloy steels is
adequately demonstrated, the corrosion allowance may be
disregarded. 4/8
12/4/2017 Materials - Corrosion and Corrosion Allowance -



Copper 0,8

Brass 0,8

Copper-tin alloys 0,8

Copper-nickel alloys with less than 10% of Ni 0,8

Copper-nickel alloys with at least 10% of Ni 0,5

Aluminium and aluminium alloys 0,5

The corrosion allowance for other materials will be specially
considered by the Society. Where their resistance to
corrosion is adequately demonstrated, the corrosion
allowance may be disregarded.
Note 2: In cases of media with high corrosive action, a
higher corrosion allowance may be required by the Society.

Interesting articles

Design and lay-out for corrosion Use of the corrosion allowance

prevention. has more likely lead to more
problems than it has solved.

Corrosion Allowance general

The corrosion allowance is a measure which is used in the maintenance applications.
A corrosion allowance of 3.0 mm means that e.g. a wall thickness without any problem may be
decrease with 3.0 mm.
Mind you, that does not mean than the minimum wall thickness is achieved and the object has reached
its end of life. 5/8
12/4/2017 Materials - Corrosion and Corrosion Allowance -

Example: a piece of equipment has a wall thickness of 10 mm with a corrosion allowance of 3.0 mm.
With a wall thickness of 7.0 mm action is required because the specified corrosion allowance is
completely consumed.
Some attention points when the corrosion allowance almost of completely is consumed.

What is the corrosion rate. Is it linear or progressive occurred.

What was the wall thickness during construction.
Are there baseline measurements are available.
Are the process conditions changed.
Is there erosion occurred in combination with corrosion.
Can we get the next inspection period.
What is the structural wall thickness that is needed.
Should we make a recalculation.
Wall thickness monitoring during process (Preventive control).
Must the equipment to be replaced at the next shut-down.
Must be the same material used for eventual replacement.
The wall thickness measurements are reliable.
Paint-and temperature can affect the measurement results.
Is the decline occurred internal or external, or a combination of both.
Can equipement remain in use or should it be taken out of service.



A gentleman named Allen Hazen, a brilliant chemistry student at MIT in 1888, says:
"It is my feeling that it will not generally pay to increase the thickness of steel plates very
greatly because of this consideration (viz., that thickening the plates will not cure the 6/8
12/4/2017 Materials - Corrosion and Corrosion Allowance -

trouble but will merely prolong the life of the metal), but that the money will be better
spent in better coating and in more careful inspection of the steel plates, or, in other
words, by preventing the pitting instead of trying to make the plate thick enough so that
the pitting will not go through it."
This statement of Mr. Hazen is to think about corrosion allowance...or not?
Only after years life testing, I think it is possible to approach the reality.
Calculations depend on hundreds of factors, in my opinion gives no assurance that proper
corrosion allowance will be applied.
I have worked on a process plant with a minimum life-time of 15-20 years.
After 7 years (probably earlier) were the first seriously corrosion problems identified, while
one of the largest and most experienced engineering companies the plant has been
Ok, engineering companies are highly experienced and will be carry out the best surface
treatment, but...If the correct paint specification is found, there are unfortunately many
other problems that still cause corrosion occurs.
How a engineering company can guarantee, that during the construction of a new plant,
all field-welds get the proper surface treatment? No Guarantee !
How a engineering company can guarantee that after the completion of a new plant, all
insulation is waterproof? No Guarantee !
How a engineering company can guarantee that...etc. etc..

We humans can be much, but are powerless against Mother Nature.

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© Werner Sölken 2008 - 2017. All rights reserved.

Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater. ALBERT EINSTEIN 8/8