Three Ways to Protect Fasteners From Corrosion

Close up of various nuts and bolts

Close up of various nuts and bolts

Corrosion is like cancer for most metal, especially fasteners. It slowly eats away the fasteners' appearance and eventually affects their performance. And if your screws and bolts are no longer as efficient as they used to be, then the structure would not be stable, too. This can then lead to significant problems and even cost safety risks and expensive repair costs in the future.

Purchasing your fasteners from reputable stainless steel bolts and nuts suppliers is great. But you still must find ways to protect them against corrosion. So, here are some tips for preventing corrosion attacks.

1. Know and Understand Each Type of Corrosion

The best way to understand how to prevent corrosion on fasteners is to know the basic types of corrosion first. There are five main types of corrosion that can damage steel, namely uniform corrosion, galvanic corrosion, crevice corrosion, pitting corrosion and intergranular corrosion.

Uniform corrosion is known to be the most common type and is easily detected by its reddish colour. Choosing the right coating option as well as the plating can affect the entire exposed bolt or screw. 

Galvanic corrosion happens when two different metals get exposed to moisture, for example, when they are in a liquid electrolyte such as salt water. You can prevent further damage by using nobles on the joints.

Crevice corrosion usually happens in the small gaps of the fastener that get exposed to moisture from its environment. You can prevent this by making sure that the connecting parts are smooth to avoid any gaps from your bolts or screws. Another way is by avoiding washers, too.

Pitting corrosion, meanwhile, occurs to fasteners exposed to tension. This creates holes in the surface of the metal. You can protect it from any corrosive damage by hot-dip galvanising and by ensuring that the surfaces are always clean.

Lastly, intergranular corrosion occurs when you heat stainless steels at high temperatures. You can avoid it by quenching the metal in water right after heating.

2. Use the Right Coating

Nuts and bolts in screw box

Fasteners used in bridges or other structures exposed continuously to water are highly prone to corrosion. By using the right type of coating, you can add a layer of protection to the fasteners. This increases the life of not only the steel bolts, nuts and screws but the structure itself as well.

One type that you can use is the non-electrolytic process to protect the steel without causing hydrogen embrittlement. This type of electroplating is pollution-free, which is perfect for the environment. It also has the highest corrosion resistance compared to other coating systems.

3. Determine the Compatibility

It is best to choose fasteners that have a similar electric potential to the materials that they will fasten together. Doing so will reduce the flow of electricity. This, in turn, will help in reducing the rate of corrosion in metals.

Finding out how to protect fasteners from corrosion is a great way to preserve your project as well as your investment. It is best to ask experts to know more about your options in maintaining steel and protecting it from corrosion attacks.

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