1. Introduction to Corrosion

1.8 Health, Safety and Environment

These can involve the following

  1. Safety: Sudden failure causes explosions and fire, release of toxic products and collapse of structures. Several incidents of fire have been reported due to leakage of gas and oil pipelines. Corrosion adversely affects the structural integrity of components and makes them susceptible to failure and accident.

  2. Health: Adverse effects on health may be caused by corroding structures, such as plumbing systems affecting the quality of water and escaping of products in the environment from the corroded structures.

  3. Depletion of resources: Corrosion puts a heavy constraint on natural resources of a country because of their wastage by corrosion. The process of depletion outweighs the discovery of new resources which may lead to a future metal crisis similar to the past oil crisis.

  4. Appearance and cleanliness: Whereas anaesthetics numb the senses, aesthetics arouse interest, stimulate and appeal to the senses, particularly the sense of beauty. A product designed to function properly must have an aesthetic appeal. Corrosion behaves like a beast to a beauty. It destroys the aesthetic appeal of the product and damages the product image which is valuable asset to a corporation.

  5. Product life: Corrosion seriously shortens the predicted design life, a time span after which replacement is anticipated. Cars have, in general, a design life of 12 years, but several brands survive much longer. A DC-3 aircraft has a design life of twenty years, and after sixty years, they are still flying. Imaginative designs, environmentally friendly materials and induction of corrosion-free maintenance measures have contributed to this lengthening of life span of these products.

  6. Restoration of corroded objects: Objects of outstanding significance to natural history need to be preserved. Many of the historical structures have been lost through the  ravages of corrosion. One recent example is the call for help to restore the revolutionary iron-hulled steam ship SS Great Britain built in 1843. It has been described as mother of all modern ships measuring 3000 feet in length and weighing 1930 tons.