How to Address Flash Rust on Your Carbon Steel Assets

How to Address Flash Rust on Your Carbon Steel Assets

It’s not an overstatement to call flash rust the scourge of the industrial sector. Corrosion costs the U.S. economy more than $270 billion each year and disrupts everything from production to logistics. Industries that rely on carbon steel assets know they need to manage flash rust carefully, but it’s hard to control something that spreads so quickly and consequentially.

In many cases, the existence of flash rust undermines the success of traditional coatings that are meant to prevent this very rust. When flash rust isn’t addressed during the application of a traditional coating, it can contribute to coating failure and leave your assets vulnerable to more severe corrosion.

As with most things, prevention is the best medicine. Avoiding flash rust is a top goal for industries that depend on carbon steel. In situations and environments where it cannot be entirely avoided, it’s crucial to identify flash rust accurately and eliminate it from your valuable assets immediately.

This quick guide outlines everything you need to know to stay ahead of the persistent problem of flash rust.

Step One: Identify Flash Rust

Flash rust has the characteristic copper-color of rust along with an even, powdery surface. This makes it relatively easy to identify on your carbon steel assets by sight alone.

Flash rust typically appears after wet cleaning methods, particularly if they involve jetting or blasting. Rust can appear within minutes or hours after the cleaning and rapidly spread from a small patch to a large area. Be sure to periodically inspect your assets for evidence of flash rust — particularly after metal materials are cleaned or exposed to water for any reason. If you find flash rust, take action as quickly as possible.

Step Two: Remove Flash Rust

There is no quick or easy way to remove flash rust. It must be manually swept, scraped, or cut off the carbon steel. While this temporarily solves the problem of flash rust on your assets, the removal process can still take a hefty toll on your business.

Removing flash rust from equipment often requires you to shut it down, disrupting operations. It’s also a long and labor-intensive job for maintenance technicians. The time they spend removing flash rust could be spent more productively elsewhere in your business.

Finally, and most importantly, removing flash rust means removing some of the carbon steel itself. This may cause equipment to perform poorly, create safety hazards, or require complete replacement in the future.

When using traditional coatings, ignoring flash rust is not an option, but removing it is not a perfect solution either. It’s a Catch-22 scenario that follows every outbreak of flash rust on your assets — which is why prevention is key.

Step Three: Prevent Flash Rust

Maybe you’ve just completed an expensive rust remediation project or purchased new equipment. In any case, you must make flash rust prevention your number one priority.

There are a number of coating products on the market that claim to “protect” your carbon steel assets, but that protection tends to be temporary and incomplete. Whether it’s an epoxy or polyurethane, these traditional barrier coatings cannot stand up to routine abuse. In some cases, barrier coatings simply wear off with time. At best, these options are a short-term solution — but there is a way to protect your assets for the long term.

EonCoat® Handles Flash Rust in a Different Way

EonCoat® is revolutionizing the world of corrosion prevention and solving the problem of flash rust on carbon steel assets for good.

Unlike other coatings that sit on top of the material surface, EonCoat® chemically bonds to the surface, creating an impenetrable corrosion barrier. EonCoat’s proprietary dual-layer formula — consisting of an alloy layer and a protective ceramic layer — make it impossible for oxygen or moisture to reach the surface of the steel. And because oxygen and moisture cannot touch the surface of the steel, the steel cannot corrode. EonCoat® has proven itself in industries such as oil and gas, where corrosion is a relentless enemy of carbon steel assets.

Even better, with EonCoat®, you don’t have to remove existing flash rust from your assets, eliminating the time-consuming and often damaging removal process. EonCoat® can be applied directly over flash rust after a basic commercial blast.

There is no such thing as a minor outbreak of corrosion. After it appears in one place on your assets, it’s almost guaranteed to pop up in more areas. The only real way to address this expensive issue is to act early and aggressively. EonCoat® enables you to effectively protect your carbon steel assets from corrosion, even if flash rust has already formed on the surface.

Contact our team today to learn more about corrosion control and how you can prevent corrosion once and for all with EonCoat®.