The Corrosion Challenge
In every-day life, corrosion is mainly associated with rusting car bodies or fences, the degradation of plastic devices with age, or water pipes springing leaks or even rupturing due to erosion.
The technical definition of corrosion is wider, and classifies it as the reaction of a material with its environment. Consequently, corrosion damage also includes harm caused to the surroundings, such as undesired discoloration or alteration in the taste of products such as foodstuffs. When the concept of corrosion is broadened to include such phenomena, it encompasses an enormous spectrum of effects, and effects virtually every industry where materials are processed.
Why is corrosion prevention so important?
- The annual economic losses in the EU due to corrosion damage are estimated at some 4 to 5 % of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of each member state; the direct cost of corrosion in the U.S. is a staggering $276 billion - approximately 3.1% of its GDP.
- 25% of the damage could be prevented just by applying already well-established knowledge, namely choosing the appropriate corrosion protection and making the correct choice of materials.
- In the chemical and other process industries such as power generation, materials production and petrochemistry - where equipment reliability and durability have a vast influence on almost every industrial operation - over 60% of all mechanical failures are effectively due to corrosion.
- Corrosion is a major limiting factor in the service life of many components ranging from microelectronics to aircraft parts, chemical reactors and suspension bridges, i.e., in transportation, power generation, industrial production and civil engineering.