How to Prevent Corrosion in Structural Beams

corrosion of metals

Way back in the 3rd century BC, steel first appeared in Asia and was preferred for building, equipment, and machinery applications. It is widely used because it is durable, light, strong, versatile, and safe for the environment. It’s an ideal material for the manufacture of structural beams.

But for all its value and strength, a steel structural beam is vulnerable to corrosion. And the best-known risk factor is rust, which is caused by exposure to oxygen and water.

Other factors include sulphur dioxide, an airborne pollutant, which can speed up the process of corrosion of metals. Such can come from industrial sources such as deicing operations and refineries, or marine environments.

There are solid airborne particles that absorb moisture from the air, making them the source of damage, which causes pitting.

Electric current can also cause corrosion when it passes between a protected and corroded metal.

The design of a structure can also be a contributing factor, just like stressed steel, freshly cut steel, or steel in contact with another metal for example.

In order to protect metals, there are certain ways to be considered. But keep in mind that structures with plenty of dissimilar small pieces are more difficult to protect than those with big and flat surfaces.

Here’s how to stop corrosion on exposed steel.

Alternative coatings

Before choosing the best way to stop or prevent steel corrosion in structural beams, know that it depends partly on the corrosion source. One example is if it’s the electrical current that is causing the corrosion of metals, an equally strong current flowing in the opposite direction must be applied. This can be implemented to buried equipment and pipelines, but careful engineering is required in order to halt further corrosion.

There are what they call sacrificial metals, which help prevent or stop corrosion of metals. One good example is hot dip galvanising where cleaned steel is dipped in a chemical that encourages contact between the coating and the steel and then dipped into a molten zinc vat. The galvanised steel is then completely covered with zinc coating to protect the steel.

Coatings and primers can also create a barrier between the corrosives (i.e. pollutants and moisture) and steel.

So what is the solution?

Of course, there are many coatings which are designed to prevent corrosion of metals.

But there is one which has become a market leader… Unituff (previously known as Seal’n’Peel) coatings. Designed to save time in installation, Unituff is an easy peel-off coating which completely blocks oxygen from having contact with the steel. What’s more, it’s non-residue.

Saves you the time of picking at a sticky mess. Brush it on, and sit back!

Browse the range here, or call +1 832 533 5628 (USA) or +61 7 400 796 022 (Australia).