The Importance of Corrosion Testing

Where there’s metal, there’s usually the potential for the formation of destructive rust. Corrosion can have a devastating impact on a manufacturer’s bottom line. Every year, rust damage results in losses of billions of dollars to companies throughout the United States. Rust is also relentless — once it forms, it can spread quickly and corrode a metal surface in no time at all. Copper, aluminum, magnesium, titanium and iron are especially vulnerable to rust damage.

What Are the Types of Rust?

There are two basic types of rust. Red rust, which is the formation of ferrous oxide, is noted by its distinctive reddish-brown color. White rust is zinc oxide that takes the form of a white powder that becomes waxy when wet. Red rust is the more destructive of the two, and it’s the type that will actually eat through the metal. White rust forms along the edges of the surface of zinc-coated steel and can corrode this protective coating.

What Impacts the Corrosion Rate of Rust?

Multiple factors can impact how quickly rust will corrode a metal product. The presence of moisture will significantly speed up the spread of rust, which is why unprotected metal should not be left out in the rain or submerged in water for extended periods of time. Other factors include air temperature, the presence of certain pollutants, contact with other dissimilar metals, and contact with certain acids, bases or salts.

Types of Corrosion Testing

Because of the destructive nature of rust, corrosion testing has become a widespread practice in many industries that rely on metal as part as their manufacturing processes. Various metal-specific testing types have been developed over the years. Examples include a stacked steel corrosion test, hydrolysis test, cast iron chip test and salt spray test, which is favored by the automotive industry. The purpose of these tests is to determine at what point rust will begin to form so appropriate protective measures can be incorporated into the production process.

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How Can You Protect Your Metal Surfaces Against Rust and Corrosion?

Electroplating can be an extremely effective means of preventing rust, as long as the right plating method and materials are used. Sharretts Plating Company offers an innovative zinc-nickel plating process that serves as a sacrificial coating, meaning that the rust will actually destroy the plating material instead of the underlying base metal. Our zinc-nickel coating is widely used by automotive manufacturers because of its ability to prevent the formation of white rust for up to 500 hours and red rust for up to 1,000 hours during salt spray testing.

Contact Sharretts Plating Company today to learn more about the importance of corrosion testing and our rust-stopping zinc-nickel plating process.