A closeup of a metal pipe that is heavily rusted and corroded at the end

What Causes Metal Corrosion?

For any metal to be used in a particular industry, it must possess a few important qualities. Superior strength and durability give way for metals like iron and aluminum to be popular for many applications. However, there’s one quality that is arguably more important than any other for metal to have – corrosion resistance! If your metal doesn’t have good corrosion resistance, it’s likely that it won’t last long in the field. In order to understand why corrosion resistance is so important, you should know what causes metal to corrode in the first place. We explain all the causes of metal corrosion below!

Defining Corrosion

In order to understand what causes metals to corrode in the first place, you should have an idea of what corrosion is. It’s a process that occurs when the atoms on a metal’s surface are all oxidized, meaning that they combine chemically with oxygen. This is why metals rust and become brittle, and neither of these traits has any use in the field.

The Main Causes Of Corrosion

The two main periodic table elements involved in metal corrosion are hydrogen and oxygen. It should go without saying that their byproducts can be a huge cause of metal corrosion! We explain the biggest causes of metal corrosion below:

  • Water Exposure: One of the biggest risks to metals out there is water – which makes perfect sense considering its chemical makeup! This is why the metals used in underwater applications, such as plumbing pipes and submarine hulls, need to have superior corrosion resistance, since they are constantly exposed to what causes it.
  • Air Exposure: While air-based corrosion takes a significantly longer time to take root, it is still a main cause of it. The dirtier a metal’s surface is, the faster it corrodes when exposed to the air. It’s impossible to prevent air exposure, but there are preventative measures for this.
  • Electricity Exposure: There’s a reason why copper is the primary metal used for electrical wiring – it boasts superior corrosion resistance! Exposure to electricity can expedite the corrosion process.

How To Prevent Corrosion

The best way to prevent metal corrosion is to use metals with superior corrosion resistance, but that may not always be a viable option. Galvanizing your metal adds an additional protective coating to its outside, giving it better resistance to corrosion and rusting. It’s an application that is best used for metals in harsher environments.

Galvanizing and More With Markham Metals

Markham Metals has the tools you need to get your metal ready for practical use in the field. We can galvanize your metal to increase its resistance to corrosion as well, making it stronger in the brutal conditions it’s placed in. To perfectly shape, form and prepare your metal for any use, give us a call today at 978-658-1121!