For design engineers and specifiers in the general industrial market, corrosion can be a major challenge. Even the highest quality products can fail when used incorrectly. But how do engineers select the best materials? They carefully analyse the operating environment and ask themselves three key questions.
Firstly, is the material composition susceptible to cracking? If the answer is yes, and it is unable to contain potentially corrosive media, such as chloride-containing compounds, then corrosion can occur. Material susceptibility is not just about chemistry, though. Factors such as material processing, specific microstructure and surface condition are as important.
The second point for analysis would be, is the application’s environment potentially corrosive? Environmental factors - such as chemical composition, flow rate, temperature, or electrode potential - can be aggressive and lead to corrosion and cracking.
Finally, the third question should consider - is the material concentrating load under tensile stress? This stress can reach a component in a number of ways, such as service stress, vibration, residual stress derived from manufacturing processes,...
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