Corrosion can be one of the most serious threats to asset longevity in any process-intensive industry that uses volatile materials, such as oil and gas or petrochemicals.
Large industrial containers, such as boilers or pressure vessels, can slowly corrode, causing leaks or failures and contributing to poor performance and reliability if not properly monitored.
If corrosion is not monitored, it can lead to asset failure and even explosions, posing safety risks to personnel, huge equipment costs, and subsequent environmental damage.
Corrosion monitoring and rust detection are critical because they help to mitigate these costs by preventing asset degradation over time, allowing problems to be addressed before they become critical.
What Is Corrosion Monitoring?
Corrosion is the gradual decomposition of a material (usually metals) caused by chemical interactions, electrochemical reactions, friction, or some other environmental factor.
Monitoring is the process of observing and evaluating the progress or quality of something over time.
Simply put, corrosion monitoring is the study of the gradual deterioration of materials over time.
Corrosion frequently manifests itself as a discontinuity in a material, such as a discoloration or other change in its appearance.
This means that when looking for corrosion, you should look for any irregularities in the wall or other surfaces that could indicate the presence of corrosion.
If a component of an asset, such as a wall or floor, is discovered to be corroded, it is critical to begin monitoring its growth so that you can understand how it is changing over time and have the data necessary to recommend maintenance work as needed to mitigate the damage.
Why Is Corrosion Monitoring Important?
Corrosion monitoring is critical in any industry that uses assets that degrade over time, but it is especially critical in industries that work with volatile materials, which can explode if improperly stored.
As equipment ages, it becomes more corrosive and less resistant to harsh conditions such as high pressures and temperatures.
The goal of corrosion monitoring is to track potential problem areas in equipment in order to avoid accidents and keep personnel safe.
When an asset, such as a boiler, fails prematurely due to corrosion, it can be extremely expensive to replace.
Corrosion can present huge annual costs in terms of damaged equipment in process-intensive industries such as the Chemicals industry, where work is done in refineries or plants that require the use of large storage containers for potentially volatile substances.
Corrosion monitoring systems can help businesses avoid these costs by extending the life of equipment and assets.
The Benefits of Corrosion Monitoring
If you want to protect your investment and reduce the life-cycle costs associated with your operation some form of corrosion monitoring can help provide:
- An early warning system that alerts you to potentially hazardous conditions before a corrosion-induced failure occurs.
- Insights into the system parameters that have impacted it, such as pressure, temperature, pH, or flow rate.
- The effectiveness of corrosion prevention measures such as chemical inhibition is assessed.
- Data to inform ongoing management measures and facility maintenance requirements.
In addition to helping prevent accidents and cut costs, corrosion monitoring can improve the efficiency of industrial operations by:
- Extending the life of existing assets and of related operational equipment
- Providing insights into the kinds of materials that are less likely to corrode for future asset purchasing
- Contributing to the identification of cost-effective methods for remedying corrosion growth and related issues
- Identifying conditions related to corrosion in the operating environment—either that contribute to corrosion or that seem to mitigate corrosion—which can then be used to inform purchasing and maintenance decisions
- Helping to reduce facility shutdown time
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