What Causes Pipe Corrosion? Their Effects And Prevention

Pipe corrosion is one of the common problems when it comes to water distribution. At one point you will find that pipe is disintegrating. In this article, I will be sharing with you what causes this pipe corrosion, the effects of it and how you can prevent your pipes from it.


It’s going to be a tight ride, take your notebook and be ready to learn something about the corrosion in pipes.


Without wasting much of your time let me share with you the information you want to know.


What causes pipe corrosion;

Acidity – Acidity is one of the factors that cause corrosion in pipes. You may be surprised and wonder where the acid is coming from in water pipes.


Water has a low PH if it’s untreated because of the presence of carbonic acid or other acids.


The presence of these acids in water causes corrosion as they will react with pipes.


This reaction will go on for a while and eventually you will find your pipes corroded.


Alkalinity – The term “alkalinity” refers to bases. Did you know that water also contains bases?


These bases are not good for pipes since they are anti-corrosive.


Water with sufficient calcium carbonate will cause corrosion in the pipe it’s transported by.


Chlorination – Chlorination is very essential in water treatment, we need to treat water if we want to use it for domestic purposes and other industrial uses.


But you have to know that the presence of free chlorine in the water will cause corrosion of the pipes.


The free chlorine will react with the pipe and cause it to disintegrate over some time.


Electric current – As we all know most of the water pipes are underground.


You may ask me where the current is coming from, but this is what you need to know.


The electric current will come from earthing. The excess electricity is damped to the ground to prevent accidents in electrical appliances.


This electric current that goes to the ground will cause corrosion in these pipes.


Material and organic constituents – Water contains minerals and organic constituents. These dissolved minerals have a great chance of causing corrosion in pipes if they are not eliminated.


The only way to eliminate the minerals and organic constituents in water is by treating that water before entering the pipes.


Don’t worry, I will share with you several ways you can use to prevent pipe corrosion.


Dissolved oxygen in water facilitates corrosion in pipes – Oxygen is good for our body, but when it is dissolved in water it brings problems to our pipes.


You have to know that oxygen and moisture are one of the factors that cause corrosion in pipes.


Especially, if the water is hard, the corrosion will be at a higher rate.


Now, let me talk about the effects of pipe corrosion so that you understand the need for us to prevent it from happening.


Effects of pipe corrosion;

1. Pipe corrosion causes tuberculation in pipes.

The main functions of the pipes are to transport water from one point to other.


When the pipes corrode they will form a tuberculation that will be in the pipes.


These tuberculations will cause first decrease the pressure at which the water flows in those pipes because there will be an increase in friction.


The next effect is that the pipe carrying capacity will decrease due to the tuberculations formed in those pipes.


This is a serious effect since it affects the main purpose of pipe, let us say that corrosion is our greatest enemy.


2. Pipe corrosion causes disintegration of pipelines.

Corrosion affects the structure of the pipes. It “eats away” the metal and ends up making it vulnerable.


The moment corrosion attacks pipelines they won’t last long since they will be disintegrating.


Its structure will be weakened and that is where you will find that so much is needed to repair those pipes.


The only option that will be left is to replace those pipes if they are completely disintegrated.


A metal pipe that is affected by corrosion won’t withstand the high pressure of the water that will be passing through it.


It will eventually burst and cause a serious problem.


3. Corrosion in pipes impacts the colour, taste and odour of water.

This is another effect of corrosion on pipes. Corrosion in pipes that transport drinking water is something that will be expected.


The colour of the water will change because of the corrosion, the pipe metal will be broken down into tiny pieces that will mix with the water and change its colour.


On the other hand, if the colour of the water changes so will the taste of it.


This water won’t be fit for drinking anymore because it will be smelling horrible due to the corrosion in those pipes transporting it.


The same water won’t be used for some industrial purposes, for instance, when we talk of textile industries, it will be impossible for them to use such kind of water.


All this water will go to waste. I hope you now see the effect this corrosion in pipes brings.


4. Pipe connections are seriously affected by corrosion.

Pipes will always have connections, and if this corrosion is present in these pipes then those connections will be seriously affected.


As I stated earlier that corrosion causes disintegration in pipes, this will make it impossible for the pipes connections to hold up.


Due to corrosion, these connections will eventually be cut off if this issue of corrosion is not fixed in these pipes.


Since we know the effects of what corrosion does to our pipes, it’s time we find a way to prevent it from happening.


Prevention of pipe corrosion (minimize);

1. Cathodic protection.

Cathodic protection is the use of electrical current to prevent corrosion.


This is done by connecting the pipe to the negative pole of a DC generator or the anode metals like magnesium so the entire pipe acts as a cathode.


The cathodic protection method is very effective for metal pipes that are buried.


When the pipe is made to be a cathode, then this will greatly prevent corrosion simply because corrosion only occurs at the anode and not the cathode since corrosion is an electrochemical process.


2. Proper pipe material.

The type of pipe material used also has a great influence on preventing corrosion.


There are pipe materials that are resistant to corrosion, these kinds of pipe materials will do a great job of preventing corrosion.


The best pipe materials that you should consider using are the alloys of iron or steel with chromium, copper or nickel.


When you use pipes made from these materials then you are likely to prevent corrosion from affecting your pipes.


They are quite expensive, but they are the best pipe materials you should go for if you want to have a chance to prevent corrosion from affecting your pipe.


3. Preventive linings.

For corrosion to happen to the pipes, water has to be in contact with the pipes.


So, by introducing a lining in your pipes you are reducing the chances of your pipes corroding.


These linings will minimize the interaction of the water with the pipes and thus preventing corrosion from happening.


Asphalt, bitumen, cement mortar, paints and resins are some of the examples of linings used in pipes to prevent corrosion.


4. Water treatment.

Water treatment is another method you can use to prevent corrosion in pipes.


As I stated earlier that water contains dissolved minerals and gasses that facilitate corrosion.


If you will be able to get rid of these minerals and reduce the dissolved gasses in water then you will have a good chance of preventing your pipes from corroding.


When you treat the water you are adjusting the PH value.


The moment the PH value is low or high that will facilitate the corrosion of the pipes.


So, the water has to be treated and the PH should be between 6.5 to 8.5, this is the PH that will prevent the pipes from corroding.


Also, treating water tends to take control of calcium carbonate which increases the alkalinity of water.


Removal of oxygen from water also aids in the prevention of corrosion in pipes, since oxygen is one of the factors that increase corrosion in pipes.


The addition of sodium silicate in water when treating it also prevents corrosion in pipes.


All these are measures you can take when treating water to ensure your pipes are safe from corrosion.


There is something to note about these methods of preventing corrosion.


Corrosion cannot be eliminated since oxygen will always be available unless the earth is filled with inert gases is when you will be able to eliminate corrosion.


Otherwise, it’s impossible to eliminate 100% of corrosion in water pipe metals.


Thanks for reading, if you have any questions regarding pipe corrosion leave your comment.


Thanks for stopping by, see you in my next article.

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