Stainless Steel. How to Prevent General Corrosion?

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general corrosion

In relation to metallic materials, often speaks of corrosion. Today we talk about the general corrosion. We will focus in particular on its mechanisms, its characteristics and the prevention criteria that we can implement.

What is general corrosion?

We talk about general corrosion (or uniform corrosion) when are interested all surfaces (or a large area) of a metal that is exposed to an aggressive environment. Then, by carefully examining the mechanism of this type of corrosion, it is clear that it’s both a coincidence and a substantial overlap between

  • anodic area
  • cathodic area.

These are not distinguishable and they are interested, as well, the active metal-environment systems (eg. many metals in acidic solutions). In the absence of a protection system, steel exposed to natural environments (e.g. water or soil) corrodes generally.

A distinction: uniform or uneven general corrosion.

In addition, general corrosion can be

  • uniform (the same penetration across the surface)
  • uneven (penetration has a regular profile).
How to prevent general corrosion?

This type of corrosion is easily monitored and therefore less dangerous. Let’s see together the reasons. It is possible to

  • forecast its appearance
  • calculate the penetration speed rate.

It is crucial, in fact, make a careful selection of the material, taking into account the environment where this will work. Only in this way it will be possible to calculate its duration in relation to the phenomenon of corrosion in a specific time interval. Here are some examples. If a stainless steel product comes into contact with oxidizing acids solutions you can hypothesize a lifetime, depending on the future replacement of the piece itself.

How to prevent general corrosion?

General corrosion can be prevented through a different methods as:

cathodic protection (it is the electrochemical technique that preserves the metal structures from corrosion that are exposed to an electrolytic environment)

organic, non-organic and metallic coatings


corrosion inhibitors (they are able to temporarily protect the metal).

How can we assess general corrosion?

The resistance to general corrosion may be assessed as:

  • excellent (if there is a thickness reduction corrosion less than 0.05 mm/year)
  • sufficient (less than 0,50 mm/year)
  • scarce (decrease of between 0,50 and 1,27 mm/year)
  • very bad (decease more than 1,27 mm/year).

This should be considered when designing your piece. In fact, you must calculate its size in relation to the corrosion rate (with stock allowances or by one of the special methods specified above).

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