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October 2, 2023

Common Corrosion Types in the Food and Beverage Industry

Category: Food and Beverage

Many issues are unique to the Food and Beverage industry when considering how to improve equipment reliability and efficiency. However, one that is common in most industries is corrosion, which proposes unique challenges in environments that handle consumables. Suitable protective surface coating can significantly extend the working life; however, choosing an appropriate coating for each can pose a challenge. The first step to making the right selection is to understand the various types of corrosion and identify key performance indicators (KPIs) to simplify the selection of potential surface coatings. All corrosion can be toxic for workers in plants and contaminate/ poison production lines, so it’s essential to repair and avoid where possible.


Stress Corrosion Cracking

A combination of material, mechanical stresses and environment causes stress cracking. These cracks can spread and lead to catastrophic failure. Combining mechanical stress and any corrosive environmental elements can cause stress corrosion cracking (SCC). SCC can be unpredictable and dangerous, associated with high failure rates as it may occur without warning – in severe cases, within hours or days. SCC is considered an insidious form of corrosion that contributes to rapid loss of mechanical strength, leading to fractures and catastrophic failure. Stress might result from applied forces during manufacture, fabrication, and heat treatment, but it can also be from rapid temperature changes or uneven contractions. Eventually, the cavity will exceed structural thickness, increasing the risk of leaks, structural failure, and food contamination.


Uniform Corrosion

Uniform corrosion often occurs in the presence of alkaline solutions and molten salts, where the passive layer that protects the metal breaks down across the entire surface. Sometimes known as generalised corrosion, this type will affect an entire surface exposed to the corrosive environment and destroy the whole or a large part of an unprotected surface.While destructive, this type of corrosion is less dangerous as it occurs uniformly and leads to predictable degradation. Corrosion progresses slowly, so affected systems may not show the extent of the deterioration for a long time while contaminating systems and food products.


Crevice Corrosion

Crevice and pitting Corrosion are like uniform corrosion but are usually limited to smaller areas. It is common in almost all industries as it often occurs in engineered and mechanical equipment and causes non-uniform corrosion formation in any unprotected crack or crevice. Crevice corrosion depends on environmental factors such as alloy resistance, crevice geometry, and any imbalances in the pH levels. It’s also easy to miss on inspection, which makes it a necessary corrosion form to be aware of and check for.

Recommended Steps

The best way to identify the type of corrosion your plant is experiencing, how to treat it and prevent it in future is to consult a Chesterton® product expert. However, certain products are used extensively throughout the Food and Beverage industry, providing continuous reliability and corrosion resistance. Chesterton’s ARC Industrial Coatings has four decades of proven high performance. Engineered to protect metal and concrete from damaging abrasion, erosion, and chemical attack, this is a solid choice for essential factory equipment and structures.








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