How to Protect Carbon Steel from Corrosion Prior to Use

Posted on: 1 August 2017

Sheets of carbon steel need to be protected from corrosion before they are used. This article discusses some of the measures that buyers of this type of steel can consider so that their materials aren't damaged by corrosion before they are used.

Temporary Protective Coatings

You can ask the supplier of the steel sheets to apply one of the available temporary rust-protection coatings on the steel. Rust prevention oil is one of the coatings that can be used. It will shield the steel from reacting with air and moisture. Other fluids can also be used to form a protective layer on the metal. Hot alkaline solutions can then help to remove these temporary coatings when it is time to use the carbon steel. 

Control Humidity

You can also opt to receive your carbon steel without any rust-prevention coating. Instead, make sure that the place where the steel is stored has very low humidity. Reducing the level of humidity will eliminate one of the driving factors of rust (moisture). The sheets of steel will therefore remain rust-free until you are ready to use them.

Limit Storage Duration

It gets harder to keep carbon steel from rusting if it is stored for a long time. This is because the storage conditions may keep fluctuating as time goes by. For example, the levels of humidity often vary with the change in the seasons of the year. Consequently, the humidity-control measures that were adequate in one season may be insufficient in another season. It is therefore wiser to order the carbon steel when you will use it soon after it is delivered. This will reduce the amount of time that the material may be exposed to agents of corrosion.

Treat Water Exposure Immediately

Unforeseen events, such as a flood, may expose the steel sheets to water. This exposure can accelerate the rate at which that material will rust if nothing is done about the problem. Buy dewatering oil from a hardware store when you notice this exposure of the steel to water. Use that oil to treat the steel so that all the moisture is removed from its surface. Follow this precaution by expediting the use of that stored steel.

Each of the protection options above has its strengths and weaknesses. Discuss each option with your selected steel supplier so that he or she can help you to select the most cost-effective way to safeguard your materials from corrosion as you prepare to use them.