Can Galvanization Prevent Rusting of the Seamless Tubes and Pipes?

seamless pipes

There are two types of pipes that you can choose for your next project – seamless tubes and pipes and welded pipes. For both pipes, the manufacturers use different metals such as stainless steel, iron alloy, carbon alloy, etc. While stainless steel is a metal that you can rely upon because it is rust-proof, iron corrodes quickly.

Hence, you need to protect the pipes manufactured using iron alloy. Now, you may ask why the manufacturers use metal iron when they can produce pipes using stainless steel. The reason is simple. Stainless steel is such a strong metal that it is difficult for most manufacturers to mold it in a desired shape. Seamless tube manufacturers have the equipment to turn solid steel billets into pipes and tubes.

On the contrary, iron-based alloy is more pliable than stainless steel. Thus, the metal allows the manufacturers to create desired shapes. The problem with the pipes is that they rust fast. So, what can you do to eradicate the issue? Galvanization is the answer.

Can you expect galvanization to prevent rusting? The answer is a little complicated. Galvanization is the process of applying a zinc coating. The coating does prevent rust, but only as long as the coating lasts. The zinc coating can last up to 50 years. But you must be prepared that the pipes will corrode eventually. Why? Let us find out.

Rust prevention through galvanization:

Let us walk you through some information. What is corrosion? Corrosion is when oxygen reacts with metal and breaks it down. Not all corrosion is rust. Rust is the type of corrosion that you see when oxygen reacts to the surface of iron and produces a brown substance. The brown substance is iron oxide.

As you already know, some metals do not rust, such as stainless steel, aluminum, etc. These metals create a layer of oxide on the outer surface, which prevents oxygen from reacting with the metal. Now you know why seamless tube manufacturers use stainless steel for their products.

Zinc is yet another metal that does not rust because it forms an oxide layer on the surface. Zinc bonds well with iron and stainless steel. Hence, when you want to improve the lives of the metals and make them corrosion-resistant, you should paint them with a layer of zinc. The process of layering is known as galvanization.

Applying zinc layers on top of iron or steel stops oxygen from reaching the surface of the hosting metal. When the galvanized zinc encounters oxygen, it forms zinc oxide. If you expose the galvanized metals to moisture, the zinc oxide turns into zinc carbonate. Zinc carbonate is not shiny; it gives the metal a dull finish. Even if the zinc carbonate layer does not look appealing, it is insoluble in water. As a result, the seamless tubes and pipes that have been galvanized last much longer than those that have not.

However, you must remember that even a zinc coating will not last for a lifetime. Here we have discussed a few points that can cause the zinc layer to erode.

The factor responsible for the erosion of galvanized seamless tubes and pipes:

Even though one of the most substantial reasons for choosing galvanized steel is its durability, there are some things that you should remember. As we already mentioned, zinc carbonate is insoluble. But it is not permanent. The metal does erode slowly. Some factors make the compound break down bit by bit. Here are the reasons:

  • Air in the marine environment or seawater has sodium chloride that reacts with the compound and weakens the galvanization.
  • Sulfur dioxide present in the urban atmosphere is often why galvanized seamless tubes and pipes
  • Some areas, such as tropical environments, have humidity over 60% that slowly degrades the zinc coating.
  • Constant chemical exposure, such as in car wash, can also degenerate the coating.
  • Exposure to hydrogen sulfide that is common near hot springs, volcanoes, sewer gas, etc.
  • Acid rainwater can severely damage galvanized steel pipes.
  • Alkalis, like cement, plaster, etc., can also be responsible for the deterioration of the pipes.
  • Lichen and moss hold moisture that causes the humidity of the surface to rise, which in turn reduces the longevity of the pipes.

So, when planning to install seamless tubes and pipes, you must consider the environment where you will be using the pipes. Pay attention to details such as humidity in the air or temperature fluctuations that can affect the galvanized steel pipes.

Even though high temperatures do not react with the zinc coating, it may accelerate the degradation of the same when the steel pipes encounter industrial pollutants, sulfide, or humidity. However, you may rest assured that low temperatures have zero effect on galvanized steel.

Air is the carrier of humidity, pollutants, and other corrosive elements. Hence, you must also be cautious of where you want to use the galvanized pipes. It would be fine if you planned to install the pipes in a desert area. However, if the pipes are exposed to humidity, their lifespans will be compromised.

Final words:

You may ask once again whether the galvanized steel pipes erode. The most straightforward answer is yes. Like any other metal, zinc carbonate also erodes. But the process of erosion is prolonged. It is so slow that the galvanized steel seamless tubes and pipes last long.

Hence, if you want to improve the durability of the seamless pipes, you can galvanize the steel pipes without any doubt.