Oxidation and corrosion of materials is one of the main material maintenance problems in coastal areas and in sectors such as industrial and nautical. This is because the Steel sheets They have endless uses, as we explain in the article “The different uses of steel sheets”. Furthermore, if we look around us, many utensils and materials are made with steel or gutters with steel parts. 

But speaking of oxidation and corrosion, both are two processes that generate damage to elements that are made of metal and, therefore, reduce their resistance and durability; But, in addition, and what is more serious, deficiencies in the maintenance of certain elements can put people's lives at risk.

What differences are there between the two processes? Well, corrosion is the process following oxidation. So if oxidation does not occur, corrosion cannot occur either. But let's review their differences in detail:

 

What is Oxidation?

oxidation It is generated when metal comes into contact with oxygen. Therefore, it is a superficial reaction that occurs on the surface, generating brown, reddish or orange spots, although they may vary depending on the production and chemical components. The positive thing is that it does not affect the metal in depth, so can be removed by polishing or sanding the surface without damaging the rest of the material.

Oxidation

oxidation is generated by weather conditions, and this process does not usually deteriorate the resistance of the metal itself, nor its safety or functionality. Additionally, in certain cases, when rust adheres to the steel, it could even improve adhesion.

Therefore, the three corrosive factors are:

  • The manufactured part itself
  • The environment
  • Water

Due to this, if maintenance is not carried out or the metals are not well protected, it can lead to serious safety problems in buildings or facilities, for example. That is why it is of utmost importance to make a monitoring and control over correct conservation of steel sheets. 

 

What is Corrosion?

corrosion It is a chemical reaction, in which the metal deteriorates when exposed to the environment. 

And also, during this process, the metal loses mechanical properties and its characteristics. That is, the greater the corrosion, the greater the deterioration.

Corrosion

Corrosion is a big problem in the industry, as parts tend to break and if not protected, can cause serious accidents.

In the case of corrosion it cannot be eliminated, as it does happen like oxidation, since the surface deforms or cracks. Therefore, metals sensitive to this process must be monitored and reviewed so that they do not reach this state. 

The main difference between these two processes is that oxidation is produced by air, water or certain minerals, while corrosion is the result, that is, the deterioration of the material.

 

How to avoid oxidation and corrosion?

To prevent the metal from rusting or deteriorating, This must go through several processes to coat it and protect its surface..

The most unstable or sensitive materials are iron, zinc and copper.

They are the ones that are most easily oxidized, as they are more cohesive and allow oxygen to break the bond in the metal.

Due to this, contact with water and humidity must always be avoided in these three metals., O well, keep your surface dry whenever possible. This way, we prevent the water from stagnating and starting to rust.

Due to this, we recommend that in the home, business or industry all metal elements be always protected from moisture. Above all, remember to check those metal objects that you do not usually use or use little. For this, you can use dehumidifiers or other products that absorb moisture.
If there is no possibility of keeping the metal safe from exposure to water or humidity, it is advisable to use other types of materials that are more resistant to oxidation and corrosion, such as stainless steel.

Stainless steel

In the same way, it is essential to carry out a correct cleaning and maintenance on the surface of the material, always following the manufacturer's recommendations and ensuring that the properties are maintained in the appropriate conditions.

Another very useful resource is to paint the material with zinc-based paints, since they protect against oxidation. This type of paint acts as a sacrificial anode, preventing the metal from rusting.

 

In conclusion, check and protect all metallic materials, especially iron, zinc and copper. Also, make sure to use professional products in its maintenance, never homemade tricks, as they may not work and damage the material.