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Overview of Erosion Corrosion

Erosion Corrosion is a term that refers to the combined effect of erosion and corrosion on a metal surface which is caused by the rapid flow of any turbulent liquid through piping. The rate of erosion is dependant on the level of turbulence, with more turbulent liquid being more erosive. Turbulence in pipes is often caused by pitting and can result from poor craftsmanship in the pipes as burrs not removed during installation can cause localised turbulence which can lead to pitting.

This phenomenon occurs due to both the speed of a moving liquid, plus it’s own corrosive properties. It can eat through any protective layers before going on to damage the metal itself. Erosion corrosion is especially common in construction areas, those locations where there are blockages, inlet ends, pump impellers, and other areas where there are especially high rates of flow.

The are several ways in which erosion corrosion can be reduced. The most obvious way is to reduce the turbulence by streamlining the piping. One can also attempt to reduce the speed of the liquid, as slower liquid would cause less turbulence as well. Using corrosion inhibitors or cathodic protection can be a good way to protect the pipes. Reducing the amount of oxygen dissolved in the liquid will also help reduce erosion, as well adjusting its pH value.

It might be better though to attempt to prevent erosion before installation during manufacturing, rather than trying to reduce it afterwards. This can be done by accounting for and using corrosion resistant materials during the design and manufacturing stage. It’s also important to ensure that the entire piping system has been deburred before it has been put into operation, as burrs can cause localized turbulence. Moreover, ensure that the system has gentle rather than sharp angles will ensure there are fewer constrictions.


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Articles about Erosion Corrosion
  • November/December 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Rick Eckert at DNV GL - North America Oil & Gas

    Understanding the common factors that promote corrosion threats in the oil and gas value chain helps operators create effective inspection strategies.

  • November/December 2013 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Richard Mills at GE, John T. Iman at GE Oil and Gas Measurement & Controls-Inspection Technology, and Martin Sauerschnig at GE Oil and Gas Measurement and Control

    Over recent years large strides have been made in application, development, and utilization of Digital Detector Arrays (DDAs) in field radiography environments (an application previously limited to film and computed radiography [CR] techniques).

  • March/April 2012 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Cliff Knight, P.E. at KnightHawk Engineering, Inc.

    What I am primarily concerned with, in this article, is erosion corrosion control. Now, what is erosion corrosion? Well, no matter how you might look at it, erosion corrosion involves the degradation of the material by some mechanical action, in conjunction with a chemical interaction between the material and the media it is in contact with.

  • May/June 1998 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Mike Badeen at Phillips 66 Co.

    New inspection technology, when added to the proven practice of using tell tale holes (TTHs), proves effective in reducing significant releases and or catastrophic events that are related to internal corrosion / erosion of process piping. In fact, one facility's experience indicates that this practice, when used in conjunction with current and newly advanced technology such as automated ultrasonic (AUT) and profile radiograph (PRT), is more effective than using only new technology.

  • September/October 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

    This article is a practical review of Nondestructive Examination (NDE) methods that can be used to find Erosion/Corrosion (E/C) and/or Corrosion wear in fossil fuel power piping systems. The article is based on experience with PG&E's E/C detection program for fossil fuel power plants.

  • Partner Content

    Properly anticipating and finding the damage in your facility is no small task, and spending millions of dollars on inspection may not be getting you anywhere if it’s not the right inspection processes. PinnacleART can use industry best practice models and corrosion expertise to proactively identify damage types, locations and magnitudes so you can ensure you’re performing the right inspections at the right times. Visit us at to learn more.

  • July/August 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

    Eight years ago PG&E began a program for its fossil plants for early detection, repair and prevention of Erosion/Corrosion (E/C) failure mechanisms. Since its inception, hundreds of worn piping components have been detected and repaired before failure. E/C failures have become very rare. A number of recurring patterns have become evident allowing a certain degree of location predictability using practical methods.

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