4 Factors That Cause Stainless Steel Corrosion

Stainless steel is known for its corrosion-resistance properties. This material is not prone to rusting or staining even when exposed to water, making it the primary choice for:

  • Culinary uses
  • Medical tools and equipment
  • Architectural projects
  • Automotive and aerospace applications

Although stainless steel is a durable and reliable material that can be used in a variety of applications, it does not mean that it is indestructible. It is still vulnerable to a few particular conditions like other types of materials. Therefore, if you notice that your stainless steel has started corroding, it might be affected by the following factors:

rusted steel

Exposure to Rich Chlorides

Stainless steel can sometimes develop holes or cavities, which is also called pitting corrosion. This happens when the material is exposed to places and environments rich in chlorides, such as salt.

This means that if you are using regular stainless steel in underwater and naval applications, it may be more susceptible to corrosion compared to chloride-resistant stainless steel. The salt in seawater will eventually eat into the material and cause holes or pitting corrosion.

Welding of Two Dissimilar Stainless Steel Alloys

One of the greatest mistakes you can commit when welding stainless steel is joining two dissimilar alloys. Connecting two metals with different properties using a common electrolytic material like water or weld filler material may cause a flow of electrical current from one material to the other. When this happens, the metal that is more ready to accept new electrons will become an anode, causing it to corrode more quickly.

The rate of the anode’s corrosion may depend on the following factors:

  • Types of stainless steel being welded
  • Kind of welding filler used
  • Ambient temperature
  • Humidity levels
  • Total surface area of the materials in contact with each other

Accidental Bonding of Plain Iron or Steel

Sometimes, parts or residue of plain steel or iron may accidentally bond with or transfer to the surface of a stainless steel part or basket. This may happen when a piece of equipment used for working on plain steel or iron is utilized on stainless steel without being properly cleaned beforehand.

Plain steel or iron particles can ruin the protective oxide layer of the stainless steel material. This affects stainless steel’s corrosion-resistance properties, making the material more vulnerable to rusting and staining.

Exposure to Extreme Temperatures

Stainless steel alloys have a very high melting point, which means that even when exposed to extreme temperatures, it will not melt. However, the material may undergo some changes that affect its corrosion-resistance properties.

One thing that can happen to stainless steel is scaling. When exposed to extreme temperatures, stainless steel alloys can form scales, which can then cause bimetallic corrosion on the material.

Extremely high heat can also cause stainless steel to lose its protective oxide layer for some time. This makes the material more susceptible to corrosion before its protective layer reforms.

rusted steel corrosion

Protect Your Stainless Steel Projects From Corrosion

Choose the right type of stainless steel for your projects. Make sure that the material you choose can endure the conditions that it will be used in.

For example, choose chloride-resistant stainless steel pipes for naval applications. You should also ensure that the material you buy for your project can withstand your system’s operating temperature.

Additionally, it is important to source your material from a trusted stainless steel distributor in the Philippines, such as Global Nexus. We make sure to provide you with high-quality materials to help you complete your project, no matter how small or large it is. Talk to us to learn more about what we do.