How to Protect Your Asset Against Premature Failures in the Winter (and other factors that influence corrosion)

factors influencing corrosion

What’s inside this article: There are many factors that accelerate corrosion, but here in Canada one of the biggest factors is the extreme temperature fluctuations between our seasonal shifts. Learn more about how you can protect your assets in the upcoming frigid winter months.

We deal with so much more than just a regular and gradual onset of corrosion. The seasonal temperature shifts range from -30 C to + 30 C from winter to summer, which causes expansion and contractions, especially with metal and concrete. At least 3 months of the year we can expect to see drops in temperatures into the minus degrees, and at least 2-3 months of the year (in certain areas of the country) we can expect incredibly hot temperatures. 

All these factors impact the way your asset corrodes and if not dealt with properly can cause premature failures, which are costly and sometimes, unnecessary.  

How do we protect some of these expensive and incredibly important materials and assets as we embrace the winter season and the extreme temperatures? 

What does The Coating Inspector consider when taking inspection jobs in the middle of the winter?  

 

factors that influence corrosion

 

Here are some of the major considerations when it comes to winter construction and ensuring that everything is safe, protected and working properly: 

  1. Delays – unexpected weather and extreme temperatures always cause delays in projects 
  1. Expansion and Contractions – in extremely warm temperatures, materials expand, and in the extreme cold, we can expect materials to contract 
  1. Accelerated corrosion – if not inspected and coated correctly, this can result in premature failure 
  1. Increased safety precautions on site – extreme temperatures can be dangerous; we need to ensure our team is protected and all safety precautions met 
  1. Seizing of moving parts – unprotected equipment can seize up in the winter and stop moving, making equipment unusable 
  1. Total equipment failure – if unchecked, over time, winter corrosion can result in total equipment failure 

Curious what some of our most frequently asked questions are? Download your free pamphlet here.  

factors that influence corrosion

WINTER PROTECTION: FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE CORROSION & HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ASSET AGAINST PREMATURE FAILURES 

 

Cold Weather Causes Contraction with Large Infrastructures

The biggest factor that influences corrosion in the winter is contraction of materials due to the cold weather. This shifts materials which can causes cracks in the coating, ultimately allowing for moisture to penetrate these cracks and crevicesIt can potentially result in premature corrosion.  

Here are some ways that we combat premature corrosion due to temperature changes in infrastructures and assets: 

When you look at how to protect the asset from premature failure you must consider selecting the right coatings such as cold cure coatings and working closely with the civil engineers and structural design engineers so there is an accurate assessment of where the movement could potentially be. Some other ways we ensure coatings are protected through the winter and there is less risk for premature failures are:

1. Look at the flexibility of the coating 

We look at the flexibility of the coatings and the areas that we apply the coating to. With organic coatings that are subject to stress, it’s important to provide regular flexibility coating tests to assess the bend direction and at what temperature the bend can affect the final result. We also assess whether they require different applications, like polyurethane caulking, to allow for the proper movement between the two seams. 
 

2. Look at re-coatability and curing timeframes

Low temperatures can slow down the curing time of epoxy products so it’s imperative we review the cure of the coating and assess what coating will be the most beneficial for the asset. Some coatings will only have a cure range to -7 degrees C whereas others will go all the way to -30 degrees C. The cure range can determine the speed of the cure, and often, solvent-based coatings will allow for more extreme-temperatures. Consider curing timeframes in extremely cold weather to take much longer than 24-48 hours. With these timeframes, the weather patterns and environment will need to be considered as well.  

 

3. Consider other environmental factors 

Because winter weather may impact the speed of which the coating cures, the environment must also be a factor. Not only will weather patterns such as extreme temperatures, sleet, or snow come into play with cure times, but we also think about what that asset might be exposed to next, as well as the length of time it may need to be out of service for. For example, ships may have to go into the water after a coating, we must consider how that will impact the coating and potentially impact the longevity of the coating. 

Premature failures due to weather corrosion may be caused by an improper assessment or the wrong coating appliedSo, with the cold weather fast approaching, make sure you reach out to a reputable coating inspection company! 

And remember, we’re here to help. Book in a free assessment today! 

Scott Menzies

Author Scott Menzies

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