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What are Corrosion Inhibitors?

10/1/2013 11:53:40 AM | by Anonymous

Corrosion Inhibitors

Corrosion inhibitors are chemical compound designed to protect metal or alloy from corrosion. All alloys and metals are susceptible to corrosion by the creation of man-made or naturally available fluids. These reactions cause a loss of metal with loss of cohesive strength or unacceptable change in appearance. There can also be local loss that involves less metal but also diminishes the whole piece strength. Some localized corrosion is exempted by pitting or stressing the cracking.


Although the corrosion inhibitor does not halt or completely prevent corrosion from occurring, it can, however, help in reducing the rate at which the corrosion occurs. Additionally, they also help prevent any early corrosion damage from happening. A wide variety of chemicals are used for these purpose. The fact that many of the chemicals are toxic means that extra care must be taken when using the chemicals. This is done to protect and prevent any damage caused to our environment.


One form of corrosion inhibitor is adding fluid to a compound, typically lubricant or fuel. In such cases, the corrosion inhibitor travels together with the fluid. This helps provide protection to the systems that the fluid moves through. It commonly forms a thin film preventing reactions to occur between the compounds and the systems such as pipes. This type of corrosion inhibitor can be blended into the fluid continuously or even added periodically to maintain the protective film. There are also organic and inorganic corrosion inhibitors. Organic inhibitors are commonly used in acidic solutions. They usually act by inhibiting cathodic reaction. One common application is removal of oxide scale from steel ingots done by acid pickling. The acid dissolves the oxide scales and inhibitors are then used to inhibit the electrochemical solution of the metal after the scale has been removed. Inorganic inhibitors are used in neutral to alkaline solutions. They act by forming the film and inhibiting the anodic reaction. Chromate is one common form of an inorganic inhibitor.
Corrosion inhibitors can either be sprayed or painted on. They help to create a thin layer that provides protection against corrosion. Most people do this regularly when they oil hinges and locks allowing them to keep moving smoothly and prevent rusting. The thin layer of oil acts as the corrosion inhibitor that prevents oxidation from occurring. Also, rust cannot occur. In order for the corrosion inhibitor to function effectively, the surface they are being applied on has to be clean. Otherwise, reactions can still occur underneath the corrosion inhibitor.


Once the corrosion occurs, the corrosion inhibitor will be used to reduce the rate damage is caused. This is dependent on the corrosives involved as well as the situation. Some corrosion inhibitors also help remove the layers of corrosion on the surface. This help to restore the material to the original finish before depositing a layer of protection. It is recommended to regularly inspect the systems that have been treated with corrosion inhibitors to confirm that it is still protected. At the same time, conduct checks for signs of corrosion and system failure.


Choosing the type of corrosion inhibitor to use varies, it is dependent on the application and purpose of use. Different chemicals can resist the various types of corrosives. Some may be more suited for various applications depending on the type of corrosives and metals involved. One important issue to consider would be the safety of the system when selecting the product. This is due to the fact that some products are highly effective yet at the same time, dangerous. The safety risks may not be worth the high level of protections conferred by the toxic compound that could release harmful pollutants into the environment.

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