Efficient insulation - Advanced Insulation and Fabrication
24 Apr 2024

How to Prevent Corrosion from Condensation

Condensation and corrosion can cause significant problems for a lot of industries, and we see it a lot in the insulation world. In this article, we’ll explore the connection between them, how they interact in insulation, and why it matters. 

We’ll also discuss the risks of corrosion caused by condensation and why it’s crucial to take action early. We’ll provide practical strategies to prevent corrosion, such as using insulation and ventilation systems effectively. 

Our approach at Advanced Insulation and Fabrications is unique and designed to help you understand how to apply these strategies in practice.

How does corrosion work?

The basics of condensation

Condensation occurs when warmer air, laden with water vapour, comes into contact with a colder surface, forming droplets of water.

This transformation from moist air into droplets occurs when the humid air reaches its dew point, the temperature at which it can no longer hold the water vapour.

The process of corrosion

Corrosion is a natural process that degrades metal surfaces due to reactions with the surrounding air, water, and other substances. Corrosion rates increase when excess moisture is present on the metal surface.

Why do both matter in insulation?

Water leaks can cause Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI). This type of damage can happen to the insulation’s protective jacketing or the underlying pipes and equipment.

It can manifest in different forms, such as chloride, galvanic, acidic, or alkaline corrosion. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to understand the different types of corrosion that can happen under insulation. This knowledge can help you choose the right materials and construction techniques to prevent its occurrence. By taking preventative measures, you can ensure that your installations are safe and long-lasting.

How do condensation and corrosion affect each other?

The relationship between condensation and corrosion is complex but can be broken down into a few key elements:

The role of electrolytes

A metal surface is more prone to electrolyte corrosion, such as water droplets. The ions in the droplets from condensation can speed up corrosion.

Corrosion rate and condensation

The corrosion rate is directly tied to the relative humidity and temperature of the surrounding air. High humidity coupled with fluctuating temperatures can lead to an increased rate of corrosion.

Environmental factors

The ambient temperature can impact the dew point, causing more frequent condensation and increasing the likelihood of corrosion.

What are the risks if you ignore corrosion?

Ignoring corrosion can have significant repercussions, including:

  • Cost to replace or repair
  • Safety hazards from damaged insulation
  • Structural weakness caused by corrosion

If you ignore corrosion on insulation, you could put yourself and others in danger. Corrosion weakens the infrastructure and can cause equipment failure, leaks, and bursts, which is especially dangerous in industries that deal with high-pressure systems or dangerous substances.

This could put people and the environment at immediate risk. It can also lead to unexpected outages, disrupt work, and result in significant production losses. If you don’t detect or fix corrosion, the damage can become worse and more expensive to repair over time. To prevent this, it’s important to inspect and maintain insulated installations regularly to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Practical strategies for prevention

There are multiple ways to prevent corrosion, such as employing appropriate materials when insulating, ensuring proper ventilation, and carrying out regular surface preparation and maintenance.

Use the right materials for the job

Quality insulation acts as a protective barrier, restricting excess moisture from reaching the metal surfaces, thus preventing corrosion.

You have to keep it ventilated

Proper ventilation can help maintain a consistent ambient temperature and manage relative humidity to deter the condensation process.

Using insulation to combat corrosion

Choosing and installing proper insulation is crucial for preventing problems down the track. It’s important to consider what type of insulation is best and how it should be installed. Making the right choices can help avoid issues later on.

The barrier effect

Insulation forms a barrier between humid air and the metal surface, keeping the surface temperature above the dew point and preventing water vapour from condensing on it. Super important!

Material choices

The right insulation materials can stop water leaks, help manage moisture, and protect parts from corrosion.

Ensuring optimal thermal performance

It’s important to keep the right temperature balance in your facility to avoid condensation, which can lead to corrosion. This can be prevented by making the right insulation choices and regularly inspecting and maintaining your equipment. By keeping the surface temperature above the air’s dew point, you can stop condensation and prevent corrosion. Handy!

Advanced Insulation and Fabrications approach

At Advanced Insulation and Fabrications, we aim to understand corrosion and prevent it at its source. Our innovation in insulation, customised solutions, and proactive management are geared towards this goal.

Having spent years at Advanced Insulation and Fabrications, I've seen first-hand the impact of condensation on corrosion. It's not just about using insulation but also understanding how different temperatures and moisture levels can affect metal surfaces. We've found that the key is to balance temperature and moisture, which helps us protect our clients' assets while making their operations more efficient.

Condensation in industrial settings is often caused by differences in temperature between a surface (usually metal) and the surrounding air. When the warmer air meets a colder surface, it can no longer hold the same amount of moisture and condensation occurs.

Preventing condensation and corrosion in insulation is crucial to maintaining the efficiency and lifespan of your equipment. Corrosion can degrade materials, potentially causing equipment failure, safety hazards, and costly repairs or replacements.

The selection of insulation materials depends on your facility’s specific requirements and conditions. However, moisture-resistant materials that maintain a stable temperature are generally more effective at preventing condensation and corrosion.

Ventilation systems help control a facility’s relative humidity and temperature levels. By keeping these factors stable, ventilation can decrease the likelihood of condensation, thereby reducing the risk of corrosion.

Avoiding galvanic corrosion can involve:

  • Choosing compatible materials.
  • Barrier methods like protective coatings or insulation are used.
  • Ensuring regular maintenance and inspections.

Yes, we offer customised solutions to cater to the specific needs of all our commercial and industrial clients.

Ignoring condensation and corrosion can be costly, including potential system failures, safety hazards, and expensive repairs. Regular maintenance and prevention strategies are typically much more cost-effective.

When relative humidity is high, the air can hold more water vapour. This increases the chances of condensation, mainly when temperature changes occur, leading to a higher risk of corrosion.

Regular inspections of your insulation are crucial. The frequency of checks will depend on the type of insulation, environmental conditions, and the specific requirements of your facility.

Signs of corrosion include discolouration or rusting on metal surfaces, degradation of the insulation material, and visible water or moisture around the insulation.

Chat to us

At Advanced Insulation & Fabrications, we understand the challenges of condensation and corrosion in industrial setups. Our team has years of experience and can offer customised insulation solutions to help you protect your assets, improve your operational efficiency, and ensure the long-term health of your business. Don’t let condensation and corrosion put your investment at risk. Contact us today and let’s make your industrial setup corrosion-resistant.