Tips for Corrosion Prevention in Structural Steel

June 10, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Are you wondering how to prevent corrosion of structural steel? Preventing corrosion plays a role in the integrity and aesthetics of the structure overall. As an asset owner, you must be able to count on the infrastructure for the future, whether the structural steel supports a commercial building, plant, or bridge. Corrosion is a huge risk to that infrastructure.

Preventing Corrosion in Structural Steel

Corrosion prevention can be made simple with a few tips and tricks. However, you must first know the role the service environment plays in corrosion protection before you can understand the various methods that will ensure your structural steel always remains protected from corrosion.

A saltwater bridge that is exposed to stagnant moisture and electrolytes will face a much higher risk for corrosion than an internal structure beam located in a commercial building. Furthermore, both require corrosion prevention but not at the same levels.

You should aim for the highest protection available as an asset owner. However, avoid going overboard when only mild corrosion protection is needed since this will cost you additional money and time that could be spent somewhere else. Always check the risk for corrosion the asset will face and use protection at that level only. Don’t go over.  

Consider Steel Selection & Design

As an asset owner, you can implement various corrosion prevention methods before a coating team applies any component. There are various steel and design options you can choose from. Coatings alone are not that effective when it comes to protecting structural steel from various forms of corrosion. For example, coatings are more effective at controlling uniform corrosion but not as effective at controlling localized attacks.

Choose the right steel since the quality of the steel alone can play a role in preventing corrosion. High alloy steel is more corrosion-resistant than low-alloy steel.

Additionally, design can prevent corrosion. If you are designing a new structure, try to reduce exposure to the atmosphere, stay away from dissimilar metals, prevent water from building up, and avoid surface irregularities.

Protective Coatings To Help With Corrosion

Coatings serve as the first line of defense when it comes to corrosion of structural steel. For an effective corrosion prevention system, consider the following standards:

  • Surface preparation standards for structural steel – The preferred surface preparation standards for structural steel are SP 5 white metal blast or SP 10 near-white blast.
  • Coating options for different levels of environmental exposure – Depending on the corrosiveness of the environment, the best-fit coating system will vary.

Final Word

Having a good corrosion prevention system in place for structural steel is not about checking just one box off. Instead, it is about an entire system that will protect the substrate for many years. A good system balances the service environment, design, and coating systems to obtain the desired performance and the service life-cycle at the cheapest cost. Protecting structural steel is important to maintain the integrity of an asset.

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