Pipeline Corrosion 101: Causes, Consequences, and Protections

February 26, 2024·3 min
Carrie PowersCarrie Powers

Pipeline corrosion poses a quiet yet significant challenge in infrastructure management, especially for those responsible for commercial and industrial properties. Its impact can span from safety issues to substantial financial consequences. This comprehensive guide explores corrosion on pipelines, its various forms, and solutions to address it.

What is Pipeline Corrosion?

Pipeline corrosion is the result of material deterioration, typically metal, from chemical reactions with the environment. This leads to thinning or complete breakdown of the pipe walls that can potentially cause leaks and impact transported substance quality, while also decreasing the pipeline’s longevity.

Understanding the Corrosion Process

Corrosion on pipelines is an electrochemical process that involves the flow of electric currents through a conductive medium. For underground and submerged pipelines, moisture acts as a conducive environment that exacerbates the corrosion process.

Identifying the Causes of Corrosion on Pipelines

The surroundings of your pipelines significantly impact their corrosion. Moisture levels and temperature fluctuations all contribute to material breakdown.

Substances being transported can be corrosive in their own right or can create environments within the pipeline that foster corrosion. In addition, the high pressures involved in industrial pipelines can intensify the issue.

The Consequences of Pipeline Corrosion

Structural Integrity at Stake

Corroded pipes can become structurally unsound and compromise the integrity of the entire pipeline network. This raises the risk of catastrophic failures, which can disrupt operations and, in some instances, cause severe damage.

Safety and the Environment

Corrosion is also a significant safety concern, particularly in the gas and oil industries where leaks from corroded pipelines can lead to fires, explosions, and environmental disasters. Preventive measures are crucial in maintaining the safety of your facilities and their surrounding areas.

Environmental Considerations and Compliance

In the context of pipeline corrosion, adherence to environmental regulations is critical. Companies must navigate a complex landscape of local, national, and international standards designed to protect ecosystems from the effects of leaks and spills. Compliance not only safeguards the environment, it also aligns with public expectations and ethical business practices. 

Implementing effective corrosion prevention measures, like those provided by Buckaroos®, plays a critical role in meeting these regulatory requirements and minimizing environmental impact.

Comprehensive Overview of Corrosion Types

Uniform Corrosion

Universally distributed and steady, uniform corrosion can lead to a gradual deterioration of the pipeline’s material that affects its uniformity and strength.

Pitting Corrosion

Much more detrimental, pitting corrosion creates localized small holes in the pipe that weaken its structure and can potentially cause leaks.

Galvanic Corrosion

When two different metals come into contact in the presence of an electrolyte, galvanic corrosion occurs. This form of corrosion can accelerate the degradation process, especially in large, complex metal structures such as pipelines.

Advanced Protection with Buckaroos® Products

Buckaroos® provides a suite of solutions designed to address various aspects of pipeline corrosion. Their products act as shields that mitigate the risks posed by both internal and external corrosive forces.

Pipe Insulation Saddles

These support systems function as a barrier to external elements in order to prevent direct contact with the pipeline material. This type of isolation is key to safeguarding against the soil and moisture conditions that typically lead to corrosion.

Tru-Balance™ Insulated Supports

With a focus on internal protection, Tru-Balance Insulated Supports maintain the thermal and mechanical integrity of insulated pipelines. They are crucial in preventing internal corrosion due to condensation and exposure to corrosive substances.

Protecting Your Pipeline Investment

Implementing Pipeline Corrosion Prevention Strategies

Selecting the proper materials and coatings, implementing cathodic protection, and adhering to stringent inspection and maintenance schedules are integral to an effective corrosion prevention strategy.

Advanced Corrosion Prevention Techniques

Building on the basics of corrosion prevention, advanced techniques such as the use of corrosion inhibitors and real-time monitoring technologies offer additional layers of protection. Corrosion inhibitors can be added to the medium being transported to minimize its corrosiveness, while state-of-the-art sensors and monitoring systems provide ongoing surveillance of pipeline integrity. 

These sophisticated solutions complement traditional methods like cathodic protection and protective coatings to ensure comprehensive defense against corrosion.

The Buckaroos® Advantage in Pipeline Corrosion Prevention

Buckaroos® products are engineered with a focus on durability and performance to align with the industry’s best practices in pipeline maintenance. They offer integral support in maintaining your pipes and extending their operational life.

Safeguard Your Pipeline Infrastructure with Buckaroos®

Ensure the longevity and safety of your pipeline infrastructure with Buckaroos® cutting-edge products. Our pipe insulation saddles and Tru-Balance™ insulated supports are specifically designed to combat the pervasive threat of pipeline corrosion by providing unmatched protection and peace of mind. Let us help you maintain the integrity of your pipelines.

Contact us today for more information!

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Carrie Powers

Carrie channels her passion for innovative solutions in the construction industry for Buckaroos. With a deep understanding of Buckaroos' leading insulated pipe support systems and insulation protection shields, Carrie ensures that building owners, engineers, and installers are well-equipped with the best tools and products. Her dedication to digital transformation and customer engagement helps Buckaroos maintain its reputation as a trusted resource for professional insulators across North America and Canada.