Since the moment in history when humanity has learned to shape and change the environment around itself in order to improve the quality of life, the paradigm on Earth had changed. Not only would mankind survive what mother nature would throw at it, but it would thrive by raising constructs to provide for its needs. Be it shelters, transportation, infrastructure and later on services, they have all served the same purpose of furthering human dominance on the planet. In order to achieve this, humanity not only needed the skills and capability to tackle these kinds of projects but also the materials. Wood, stone, copper, iron, steel, composite materials – they all have their own advantages and disadvantages which engineers must be aware of. While wooden materials have to be protected from rotting and molding, steel structures geographically located in humid climate have to have protection against corrosion.
Corrosion occurs due to the chemical reaction between the material and the environment. Corrosion protection packaging must be considered during the design stage of the construction process.
There are mainly three methods to avoid it – coatings, corrosion inhibitors and cathodic protection.
Coating is the barrier between the material and environment preventing the steel from degrading. There are two main types of coatings – painting and plating.
Corrosion inhibitors are another important way to prevent corrosion. These are based on the introduction to the material of a specific compound – inhibitors. Inhibitors have a high efficiency and with a very small amount dramatically slow down the deterioration of the material.
Cathodic protection is the electrochemical protection which is based on the application of the cathodic current. It is effectively used for preventing not only general type of corrosion but such effect as pitting corrosion as well.
While choosing the type of corrosion protection, one should take into consideration not only the durability and quality of the chosen method but also the cost efficiency and the payback period and also aesthetic and visual qualities.