A Comprehensive Guide to Corrosion Monitoring

Corrosion is one of the biggest threats to asset longevity in any process-intensive industry that regularly makes use of materials such as acids, alkalis, petrochemicals, oil and gas, etc. If corrosion is not monitored properly, it can slowly wear down industrial containers like pressure vessels or boilers. It also causes leaks or failures resulting in poor performance and loss of business reputation. In the worst case scenario, unmonitored corrosion may lead to overall equipment failure and even explosion, posing huge equipment costs, safety risks to personnel, and environmental damage. Corrosion monitoring is so important because it helps prevent the degradation of an asset and allows organisations to address these problems before they reach a critical point.

The growth of corrosion can be tracked by creating an accurate 3D map, by taking photographs, with the help of a measuring tool, or by combining these three methods. Corrosion is commonly monitored in industrial vessels, boilers, crude oil systems, water systems, transportation pipelines, cooling systems, vacuum towers, and flow lines.

Importance of Corrosion Monitoring:

Corrosion monitoring is extremely important because of the reasons summarised below.

  • Safety: Corrosion monitoring is particularly important for industries that regularly make use of volatile materials capable of causing an explosion if they are not stored properly. Corrosion makes any material less resistant to harsh conditions like high temperatures and pressures. By properly monitoring corrosion, it is possible to track potential problem areas in equipment and avoid accidents.
  • Cost Reduction: When large industrial equipment like a boiler breaks down prematurely because of corrosion, replacing it can be a huge expense. Corrosion presents a significant annual cost for process-intensive industries that require large containers for the storage of potentially volatile substances. These expenses can be avoided and the longevity of equipment can be increased by regular monitoring of corrosion.
  • Improved Efficiency: Corrosion monitoring can help industries improve their operational efficiency by extending the life of related operational equipment and reducing facility shutdown time. It also helps identify corrosion resistant materials and future asset purchase.

How is Corrosion Monitored?   

During corrosion monitoring, it is important to collect the following information.

  • The extent and location of the corrosion
  • The rate of corrosion
  • Underlying causes behind the corrosion

In most instances, corrosion inspectors start with a visual inspection and then continue with refined instruments such as an ultrasonic tester.

Visual Inspection: Visual inspection is conducted by scanning the sidewall, floor, other areas to find out whether the existing corrosion has grown or it has spread to any new areas. If visual inspection reveals corrosion growth or a new corrosion, inspectors tend to carry out a further review using different types of non-destructive testing (NDT) tools.

Ultrasonic Testing: An ultrasonic tester is one of the most commonly used NDT tools for corrosion monitoring. Short ultrasonic pulse-waves are used by these testers, allowing inspectors to measure the corroded material’s thickness. In many cases, sound corrosion monitoring only requires visual and ultrasonic data.

Other NDT Methods: Corrosion inspectors may also choose to use other NDT tools such as

  • Radiographic testing
  • Magnetic flux leakage
  • Guided wave testing

If you want to find out more about corrosion monitoring, please get in touch with us at Coating Management Solutions. We offer specialised corrosion control and inspection service to help businesses prevent early asset breakdown.