Reduce risk and maintain compliance with our specialist risk management services.

We’re proud to be a leading provider of complete life cycle risk management solutions. From ensuring asset safety and legal compliance with our thorough engineering inspections to driving operational efficiency with our specialist non-destructive testing services, (and much more in between), we’re proud of the long-lasting partnerships we have formed with our customers over the last 160 years, based on the value of our solutions.

Increasing Corrosion Caused By Climate Change: How Salt Spray Testing Can Help Determine Corrosion Resistance

Climate change has heavily influenced the frequency and intensity of floods and other naturally occurring weather-related disasters around the world. 

In the UK, analysis by the Met Office in 2020 shows that, on average between 2010 and 2019, summers were 13% wetter and winters were 12% wetter. Another study showed that heavy rainfall events in the UK have been made 40% more likely by climate change (Friederike E L Otto et al, 2018). The UK Climate Change Committee has warned that 1.4 million people in the UK currently face a risk of extreme flooding, and that number could increase to at least 1.7 million if global warming levels continue to rise.

The Impact of Global Warming on Corrosive Environments

As global warming continues to heat the planet, a warmer atmosphere means that there is more water and precipitation within our air, leading to growing levels of humidity. As these weather conditions become wetter, infrastructures (buildings, railway lines, and utility supplies, for example) become more susceptible to corrosive damage and weakened material due to increased exposure to rainwater and its acidic properties.

Climate change has influenced the frequency and severity of flash flooding, increasing rain, and coastal and river flooding. When flooding occurs, salt and high contents of acids from the water can lead to rusting and corrosion of metallic fittings including fasteners, pipes, and fixtures; foundations can become compromised and cause structural damage and even collapsing or failure of vital framework; long-term effects from saturation damage can lead to metal corrosion; utility systems such as oil and gas storage tanks may leak, resulting in pollution to the environment, and additional risks to health and safety caused by contaminants and debris. The consequences can be devastating.

Buildings need to be able to withstand the increased frequency and levels of rainwater, so the materials that are used to create these buildings must be more resistant to corrosion.


Our Duty of Care

As an independent test laboratory, we have a duty of care to support our customers in a range of industries, by providing valuable advice and reliable testing for their material’s suitability and resistance to corrosion. We want to support our customers as they research and develop new products and materials that can withstand our ever-changing environment. We pride ourselves in giving reliable and accurate testing to make sure our customers’ products are compliant with relevant standards, and comprehensive analysis on corrosion of metals.

One of our most popular tests to evaluate corrosion is through carrying out salt spray testing. This is an effective way to replicate environments with high salt content and corrosive properties.

Gary Withers, our Corrosion Science Technician says, “Since salt is naturally found in many environments, it’s important to know how materials react when they’re exposed to it. Salt spray testing helps us see the weaknesses of a material, so it’s a great way to find flaws or defects in raw materials before production starts. It gives our customers upfront information about their product and material, so they have confidence in the suitability and durability of their products in a corrosive setting.”


How Does Salt Spray Testing Help?

Salt Spray Testing is an accelerated corrosion test that helps to evaluate the resistance or susceptibility of materials. We analyse the quality of surface treatments to ensure that they are able to protect the material as intended. Coatings, platings, and powders applied to a material act as protective barriers, and our salt spray testing ensures that they are able to provide that service.

A salt spray test subjects a sample or material to a salt-concentrated atmosphere for prolonged periods of time. Humidity and temperature changes can also be accommodated to provide a comprehensive environmental setting. This type of test replicates a highly corrosive atmosphere that the sample or material may experience in real service conditions. The samples are then checked regularly to monitor corrosion and degradation levels.

It is important to understand that salt spray testing cannot predict the service life of a material. Instead, salt spray testing helps our customers to:

  • Identify if the material they have chosen for their product is suitably resistant to corrosion levels expected in its intended environment.
  • Provide a vital understanding of how the material will behave in a corrosive environment
  • Highlights areas susceptible to weakening or high-risk areas of corrosion
  • Identify design flaws, which can help to improve production processes and quality control
  • Understanding the limitations of a particular material helps our customers to make informed decisions about their products and materials.
Find out more about our Salt Spray Testing services

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