Article | Causes and effects of pipe corrosion

Whether it’s through many years of wear and tear, or just a few short years of bacterial corrosion, the deterioration of metal pipes is inevitable.

This can be a big issue not only for you but for anyone in the vicinity of the corroded pipes. For instance, pipe corrosion occurring in a hotel could lead to a catastrophic leak, destroying belongings and property, and calling for the relocation of guests. This scenario can be applied to many commercial and industrial situations, which is why the maintenance of pipes is highly important.

Causes and effects of corrosion in different industries


Contamination of any kind in a hospital environment can literally be life-threatening. This means that extra care needs to be taken in reducing any risk, in all areas of the hospital. While the cleanliness of shower and washing facilities springs to mind almost instantly, pipe corrosion in those areas may not be something that you would consider to be a factor. However, when you look at the risk of Legionella growth due to corroded pipework, it becomes a much more serious issue.

Legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ disease, which can lead to a serious case of pneumonia, presenting itself as a cough, high fever and shortness of breath. While the disease is not usually fatal, when high-risk people are exposed such as the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, it is possible. Legionella can flourish and multiply in water pipes that have an abundance of organic material due to pipe corrosion, meaning the pipework in hospitals needs to be maintained regularly.

Read how our experts at Chem-Aqua can provide solutions for treating Legionella in water systems.


One of the most important factors in food and beverage production is ensuring that products are safe to consume. As in a hospital environment, the pipework in production factories may not be something at the forefront of your mind when contamination is involved. However, foodstuffs contain many chemicals (particularly organic acids), which facilitate microbial activity when stagnating in the pipes. The maintenance department in food production factories needs to work hard to prevent this corrosion as much as possible and fix any signs of wear with suitable solutions to avoid any contamination in products which would deem it unfit for consumption.


A big cause of corrosion in pipes is the chemical makeup of the water that comes into contact with them. There are three main factors at play that speed up the corrosion process in seawater:

  1. Chloride concentration
  2. Oxygen content
  3. Temperature

As pipes in the ocean generally carry gases and oils, it is important to ensure pipes are maintained so as to avoid bursts, leading to product waste and more importantly pollution of the ocean.
Speak to a member of our team about building an effective maintenance program today!
Whatever the industry, NCH Maintenance is committed to providing a solution for all your pipe maintenance and repair problems, using our range of PartsMaster products including welding solutions, fasteners, abrasives, cutting tools, adhesives and sealants.

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