Pipeline Corrosion

March, 31 2021
Pipeline Corrosion

Pipeline corrosion is common and can occur on both the inside and outside of a pipe. If left untreated, it can become a costly problem to fix. Please continue reading to learn more about pipeline corrosion and how soil affects it.

What is pipeline corrosion?

Pipeline corrosion is the oxidation and electrochemical breakdown of the structure of a pipe. This can happen to any part of the pipe which is exposed to corrosive elements. Underground pipes are affected by the soil that surrounds them. This can cause the pipe to corrode over time, which causes a great deal of damage. Pipelines are commonly made from galvanized steel, copper, iron, and polybutene. The material used will depend on the intended use of the pipe.

Types of pipeline corrosion

Many different types of pipeline corrosion can occur. This includes galvanic corrosion, pitting corrosion, crevice corrosion, uniform corrosion, and microbiologically influenced corrosion. A pipeline corrosion assessment is carried out to identify which type of corrosion is occurring and how it can best be treated.

Soil corrosion

Soil corrosion is a geologic hazard that affects underground metal and concrete pipelines. Pitting corrosion and stress-corrosion cracking is a result of soil corrosion, which can cause underground pipeline failures. Corrosion in soil is similar to that of atmospheric corrosion, as the corrosion levels vary depending on the type of soil. Therefore, some water pipes may last longer in New England soil than in Californian soil. There are common indicators of a soil’s tendency to corrode metals. These are chloride content, electrical resistivity and pH level.

Therefore, soils with high electrical conductivity, high moisture content, high acidity and high dissolved salts will be the most corrosive. Pipelines surrounded by this type of soil may need to be treated to prevent corrosion.

Geotechnical recommendations

When dealing with pipelines, certain factors such as the potential for settlement, liquefaction or corrosion by soil must be considered. Pipelines are covered and supported by earth materials. Geotechnical recommendations are needed for the material placed in the pipe bedding, pipe zone, and trench backfill.
G3SoilWorks are leading geochemistry consultants who offer advice on pipeline corrosion. Contact us and maximize the productivity and profitability of your projects in Southern California by supporting it with our geotechnical and geological experience.

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