Preventing Rust and Corrosion

Anytime there is metal involved in a project, there is a possibility of rust. This can present a challenge not only to appearance of the project, but also to the piece’s overall structural integrity. When iron is exposed to oxygen through air or water, rust and corrosion may start to take hold. There are a few ways to combat rust, but it is best to prevent it from forming in the first place.

Ways to Prevent Rust

Here are a few suggestions for how you can work to keep rust and corrosion from destroying your project.

Use Rust and Corrosion Resistant Alloys

There are certain metals, such as stainless steel, that are naturally resistant to rust because of their chemical makeup. For example, stainless steels have chromium added to them. The chromium combines with oxygen to form a passive layer which protects the steel from corrosion. What’s really great about this protective layer is that it can fix itself if damaged. However, this does not mean that stainless steel is completely impervious to corrosion as exposure to extreme environments (such as salt water) can still cause stainless steel to corrode. Before you begin a project, it is important to weigh your options as far as what metals and materials you will use and how they interact with the given environment in which they will exist. 

Another option is to use weathering steel, also known as “COR-TEN” steel. This steel contains various alloys such as chromium, nickel, copper, and phosphorus that create a protective patina that can greatly reduce the rate at which corrosion takes hold.

Intelligent Design

Aside from choosing a corrosion resistant metal, a lot can be accomplished to combat rust through smart design. No matter the structure you are creating, make sure to limit the number of cavities and crevices in which water could easily collect. It is better to weld joints than to bolt them together as water can penetrate the spaces underneath bolts and washers and eventually cause them to fail. You should also prioritize making all spaces open to make future maintenance as easy as possible, so rust can be addressed as soon as it is discovered.

Paint

Painting is a great, low-cost way to protect against rust. The paint forms a protective barrier between the metal and corrosive elements. Oil-based paints are the best choice if you are trying to prevent water and oxygen from penetrating the metal and causing corrosion. Keep in mind that you will have to regularly monitor the quality of the paint. As soon as the paint chips or becomes damaged, the metal underneath will become more susceptible to corrosion.

Powder Coating

Another great option to protect your piece is to have it powder coated. This is the process of applying a dry powder via spraying and then heating it, so it forms a thin, protective film.

At Yarbrough Industries, we have experts to help you through the process to ensure your project lasts.

Make sure to contact us about any metal fabrication and machining questions you may have!

Why Do Hydraulic Cylinders Fail?

Hydraulic cylinders are used in many industrial applications including a variety of manufacturing equipment and engineering vehicles, or civil engineering equipment. Hydraulic cylinders may encounter challenges for a variety of reasons. Regular equipment inspection, and a good preventive maintenance plan will help decrease the chances of cylindrical failure due to the following reasons:

  • Seal Leakage: One of the most common reasons we see cylinder failure is due to seal leakage. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, from something as simple as an incorrect fitting to inappropriate metalwork clearances. Some other causes of hydraulic cylinder seal leakage might be something like markings on seal grooves or corrosion.
  • Contaminated Fluid: Fluid contamination is another major reason for the cylindrical failure. Abrasive particles that are trapped in a contaminated fluid can bring severe damage to the piston rod or seal surface. Airborne contamination is usually induced by a faulty wiper seal.
  • Damaged Rod Bearings or Piston Rods: It is also common to see damaged rod bearings or piston rods that lead to hydraulic cylinder failure. This is caused due to improper alignment between load and the cylinder, thereby resulting in a bending, or side loading.
  • Internally Corroded Barrel: Contaminated fluid inside a cylinder can lead to internal corrosion. This can be avoided by blocking the water ingress inside the cylinder. However, it may be a sign that cylinder is being used in an environment, where it should not be used. It’s important for an expert to determine what the cause of the corrosion is and how it should be remedied. 
  • Broken Eye Bearing: If a cylinder handles loads above its specification, you may encounter a broken eye bearing.  These may also be caused by a shock loading or a sudden impact due to high pressure.
  • Extreme Temperatures: This factor may affect hydraulic cylinders  by limiting the choice of seal geometries or materials. It can also cause less lubrication and/or seals with cracked sides or brittle appearance.
  • Chemical Contact: Certain chemicals can cause cylinder failure when they come in contact with the seal. While verifying beforehand can prevent this, it is often forgotten, leading to compatibility issues and numerous problems. 

There are various other reasons for a cylindrical failure ranging from high pressure conditions to side loading and more. However, if you notice any symptoms of hydraulic cylinder failure, you can immediately contact an expert preventative maintenance service such as Yarbrough Industries.