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Chloride attack on Stainless Steel

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Chloride attack on stainless steel.

Chloride attack on stainless steel.
A guide to leaks, pin holes and heart ache in the food industry.
Presented By N.E.M Business Solutions Any compound capable of donating free chlorine ions (Cl -) to an aqueous (water-based) solution has the potential for causing failure in stainless steels. The chlorine ion is extremely electronegative, and therefore very reactive with certain compounds and elements. This reactivity is part of its usefulness in certain situations, but becomes a doubleedged sword where stainless steel is concerned. Chlorine can be introduced into a piping system in many ways, but the most common seen in food industry applications are as salt (sodium chloride) and in chlorine-based sterilising solutions such as bleach (sodium hypochlorite.) Salt water (brine) is known to corrode stainless steel, as is bleach. Evidence of severe corrosion in seawater applications is frequently found in textbooks dealing with corrosion . The following picture shows severe corrosion in a 304L stainless steel tube that carried water used for cooking cheese. The salt in the cheese leached into the water, creating an ideal environment for corrosion .

Chloride Attack on Stainless Steels Chloride-induced corrosion is not bulk corrosion. We are all familiar with one of the most common forms of bulk corrosion: rust. When iron rusts, the attack is fairly uniform over the surface exposed to the corrosive environment. Chloride attack of stainless steel is exactly the opposite crevices and pits form and grow perpendicularly to the surface being attacked, rather than spreading out evenly as rust does. Some areas may appear essentially untouched by the corrosion, while others will be severely attacked. This means that thicker tubes and pipes will not necessarily last much longer than thin ones before failing due to chloride induced corrosion. This is an example of pitting:

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it is important to use a material that will resist corrosion by such harsh chemicals. Most metals do not exist as a solid metal piece of material. underwater. impingement. Turbulent flow is important because the turbulence creates a scouring of the pipe surface. 316 stainless is highly effective in resisting this corrosion . and intergranular. The most likely are: galvanic / electrochemical pitting and crevice intergranular biological http://www. Water supplies will usually have chlorine or hydrochloric acid added to prevent bacterial growth . Different types: There are many types of corrosion that can affect metals. Corrosion is the process nature uses to return metals to their original state. can be leached into the water system. biological. crevice. Pure metals and alloys have a much higher energy state and there is a natural tendency to return to their lower energy state. or underground. This is especially true when the piping system is flushed or has continuous water circulation at velocities high enough to cause turbulent flow. Using plastic. especially when aggressive RO water is used. or from one part of the surface of a piece of metal to another part of the same metal where conditions permit the flow of electricity. Corrosion.Chloride attack on Stainless Steel Page 2 Stainless steels have excellent corrosion resistance. They include: general. If dead spaces are minimized and surfaces polished to eliminate crevices and pits. so only a very small amount of chemical compound elements are added to the water. or iron allows all kinds of unknowns to be added to the water. erosion. is caused by the flow of electricity from one metal to another metal.ukcentre. from certain plastics. galvanic. bacteria growth is minimized. even “RO” (reverse osmosis) water. These metal oxides (or other metal compounds) must be refined to create the pure metals or alloys which become useful structural materials that can be used to build things. a basic understanding of the types of corrosion and how they occur is important. Stainless steel dissolves very slowly in water. stress. pitting. Plasticiser. whether in the atmosphere. For this to occur there must be a moist conductor or electrolyte present for the flow of energy to take place. copper. Since corrosion resistance is a primary reason for the use of stainless steels.htm 28-08-2011 18:20:24 . Stainless steel is a very clean material and can be sanitised easily. electrochemical . It can be very rapid in a highly corrosive environment or take thousands of years in a slightly corrosive environment. Low flow or laminar flow leaves a stagnant film of water next to the pipe surface and a biofilm can form. they exist in the form of oxides. Definition: Corrosion is the degradation of a metal by its environment--it literally means to "gnaw away".com/rust2. The rate of corrosion depends upon the environment and the type of material. In their natural state.cip.

For instance. there will be very little corrosion. the aluminium would corrode very rapidly. The anode is negatively charged and the cathode is positively charged. if aluminium was the anode and silver was the cathode. The opposite would be true if there was a very large anode compared to the cathode.htm 28-08-2011 18:20:24 .com/rust2. Corrosion occurs only on the anode. to corrode there must be an electrolyte present—water. This difference in charge (voltage) provides potential voltage.Chloride attack on Stainless Steel Page 3 Galvanic/Electrochemical: The diagram below illustrates a cell showing the corrosion process in its simplest form. and the copper is positively charged. The anode will give off iron ions in the form of rust (corrosion). Metals with negative voltage charges (anodic–least noble) are listed first. This cell includes the following essential components. The rate of corrosion in the cell will be dependent upon the relative sizes of the anode and cathode and the potential difference between the anode and the cathode. Suppose that the anode is iron.ukcentre. When the materials have a large difference in voltage charge they are more likely to corrode. which is the driving force for current to flow in the cell. there is a potential voltage difference which causes a flow of electricity. the less likely that corrosion will occur. If. Galvanistic corrosion occurs when dissimilar metals are used. the anode was very small and the cathode was large. Since the iron in the test cell is negatively charged. the rate of corrosion would be very rapid.cip. Naturally the closer together the metals or alloys are in the galvanistic series. moist air. CORRODED END (anodic. etc . for instance. while hydrogen gas would be produced at the cathode and no destruction will occur. or least noble) Magnesium. but not necessarily of the same composition at the two locations. The components are arranged to form a closed electrical path or circuit. because the voltage potential difference will be slight. Zinc Cadmium Aluminium 2017 Magnesium alloys http://www. Of course. because they are dissimilar metals. Galvanic Series of Metals: The metals below are arranged according to their tendency to corrode galvanically. and the electrolyte is water containing mineral salts. the cathode is copper. followed by metals with positive charges (cathodic–more noble). A metal anode A metal cathode A metallic conductor between the anode and the cathode An electrolyte in contact with the anode and cathode. If the anode was nickel and the cathode brass.

ukcentre. breaking down the passive film. Lead. tears. Most pits form when there is an inclusion or there has been a breakdown of the passive film. or more noble) Pitting and Crevice: These localised attacks on stainless steel can produce surface pitting and crevice corrosion. allowing corrosion to occur at the edge of the mechanical joint. http://www. etc.htm 28-08-2011 18:20:24 . Copper. such as threads. If the material is stainless steel and there are high levels of chlorine in the water. At the edge of the lap joint. An oxygen concentration cell may also form if there is a depletion of oxygen in the dead space in the lap joint. Crevice corrosion occurs at locations where crevices exist. The illustration below shows how corrosion occurs at a crevice created by a lap joint.Chloride attack on Stainless Steel Page 4 Steel or iron. Inconel (passive) Chromium-iron (passive) Titanium 18-8 Chromium-nickel-iron (passive) 18-8-3 Cr-Ni-Mo-Fe (passive) Hastelloy C (passive) Silver Graphite Gold Platinum PROTECTED END (cathodic. the chlorine will attack metal in the dead space between the two pieces of metal. The space between the two pieces of metal is stagnant and there is a higher concentration of metal ions. Bronzes.cip. Tin Nickel (active ) Inconel (active) Hastelloy C (active ) Brasses. movement of water (electrolyte) flushes away metal ions resulting in a lower metal ion concentration.Copper-nickel alloys Monel Silver Solder Nickel (passive). machining metal lap joints. Cast iron Chromium-iron (active ) Ni-Resist irons 18-8 Chromium-nickel-iron (active) 18-8-3 Cr-Ni-Mo-Fe (active ) Lead-tin solders.

The figure below shows a sketch of a biofim formed on a metal surface in a pipe. At these temperatures.cip. or other microorganisms. we can prevent carbides from forming. using nutrients from the water. Edstrom Industries uses 316 stainless steel to prevent pitting problems due to the use of chlorine. a biofilm will begin to form if there is any bacteria in the water. which creates a place where the passive film may break down. such as voids. When the microorganisms Biological: When a metallic surface is immersed in water. algae. The flow of water transports microbes to the surface and the microorganisms attach and then grow. the chromium and carbon form chromium carbides. The molybdenum in 316 helps to stabilize the passive film. resulting in corrosion (rusting) at the weld interface. material next to the weld reaches a temperature of only 800° to 1500°F . The biofilm begins when organic material is absorbed onto the surface of the metal. The flow of water transports microbes to the surface. Intergranular: This type of corrosion may occur next to a weld if the carbon content of the stainless steel is too high . When stainless steel is welded. Concentration cells can form in any crevice in watering systems and corrosion is more likely to occur with the use of chlorine or hydrochloric acid. With this lap joint in water (electrolyte) conditions are right for current to flow and corrosion occurs in the crevices formed in the lap joint. Bioflm formation on the inside surface of a pipe. Chromium carbides deplete the chromium at the weld interface and sensitise the material.ukcentre. The bioflm begins with the absorption of organic matter to the metal surface from the water. With the breakdown of the passive film. A biofilm is a microbial mass composed of aquatic bacteria. For this reason. the stainless becomes active (anodic) in this cell and the rest of the stainless stays passive (cathodic) because the passive film remains intact. Steps in biofilm formation. Formation is initiated when small organic molecules become attached to an inert surface http://www. making it subject to corrosion. crevices. Oxygen is necessary to maintain the passive film. and thread joints. When the material is in water or moist air (the electrolyte). This area becomes anodic. By reducing the carbon content. Corrosion may be accelerated if there are large amounts of organic material and very low levels of oxygen in the water along with the use of chlorine. Edstrom Industries uses 316L or 304L stainless steel when welding to avoid intergranular corrosion . the site becomes anodic with the likelihood of corrosion. oxygen is excluded. although excessive levels of chlorine will corrode even 316 stainless steel . Biofilm formation is most likely in spots where the flow of water is low. current will flow.Chloride attack on Stainless Steel Page 5 Since there isn't any oxygen available to regenerate the passive film. while the rest of the material is cathodic. and the microorganisms attach and then grow.htm 28-08-2011 18:20:24 . it cannot maintain the passive film. If a weld interface is deficient. using nutrients from the water.

producing an equilibrium layer http://www. Flowing water detaches dome of the formation (5).com/rust2.htm 28-08-2011 18:20:24 .cip.Chloride attack on Stainless Steel Page 6 (1) Microbiological cells are absorbed onto the resulting layer (2). adding to the coating (4).ukcentre. The cells send out hair like exopolymers to feed on organic matter and attach themselves to the surface (3).

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