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Materials - Effects & Economic impact of


What is meant by Corrosion Allowance?

By knowing the expected general corrosion rate and the anticipated plant or service life
of a part, the designer can calculate the extra thickness required for corrosion
resistance of the process equipment being designed.
After determining a wall thickness that meets mechanical requirements, such as
pressure, temperature and weight of equipment, an extra thickness called "corrosion
allowance" is added to the wall thickness to comensate for the metal expected to be
lost over the life of the equipment. Then, because the penetration depth cab very, a
corrosion allowance is assigned a safety factor of two.

A tank wall required a 5 mm wall thickness for mechanical considerations. The designer
has determined that the corrosion rate will be 0.4 mm/yr and the expected life of the
tank will be 10yr. The total corrosion allowance is the corrosion rate per year
(0.4 mm x 10 yr = 4 mm).
The corrosion allowance is doubled to 8 mm as a safety consideration.

Calculation of Corrosion Allowance

Corrosion allowance is not only determined by the designer, but also and especially by a
state or local agency. The latter often have years of experience with local conditions and
especially the weather conditions in a relevant area.

Humidity, temperature, rain, wind, impurities and metal wet times have an effect on the
corrosion rate. Corrosion occurs when the relative humidity of the air is 70 to 80%.
Corrosion reaction is possible generally when the temperature is above 0C and the
relative humidity is over 80% (the surface is wet). Air impurities that dissolve in
condensed water or rain water may accelerate corrosion. Settling of dust and dirt on the
metal surface accelerates atmospheric corrosion.
Corrosion rates are expressed in terms of mm per year of surface wastage and are used
to provide a corrosion allowance in the design thickness of equipment such as vessels
and pipework.
Operators will often use data based on historical experience from plant operations to aid
them in determining appropriate corrosion allowances. Alternatively corrosion charts
are widely available that give corrosion rates for many combinations of materials of
construction and process fluids and normally a range of values will be provided for
various process temperatures.
In some instances, particularly where there is a mixture of chemicals present,
appropriate data may not exist and corrosion tests may be necessary in order to
determine the suitability of equipment. Operators should be able to demonstrate the
use of corrosion allowances in equipment specification and design. The sources of data
used should be traceable.
As far as I know, there is no corrosion allowance exactly specified in ASME B31.3.
Corrosion allowances are normally established by the end user and are somewhat based
on personal preferences and industry tradition. 1.5 mm for piping is a common
standard, but you are free to set a corrosion allowances you wish, unless a state or
local agency has adopted and superceded B31.3. To specify the pipe, add the corrosion
allowance to the minimum design thickness and select a pipe schedule that is equal to
or greater than the minimum + corrosion allowance.

Below are two tables with guidelines for corrosion

Corrosion allowance for steel pipes

mm Notes:

Superheated steam


Saturated steam


Steam coils in cargo tanks and liquid fuel tanks


Feed water for boilers in open circuit systems


Feed water for boilers in closed circuit systems


Blow-down systems for boilers


Compressed air


demonstrated, the corrosion allowance may

Hydraulic oil


be disregarded.

Lubricating oil


Fuel oil


Thermal oil


Fresh water


Sea water


Refrigerants referred to in Section 13


Cargo systems for oil tankers


Cargo systems for ships carrying liquefied gases


Corrosion allowance for non-ferrous metal pipes

mm Notes:





Copper-tin alloys


Copper-nickel alloys with less than 10% of Ni


Copper-nickel alloys with at least 10% of Ni


Aluminium and aluminium alloys


For pipes passing through tanks, an

additional corrosion allowance is to be
considered in order to account for the
external corrosion.

Note 2: The corrosion allowance of

pipes efficiently protected against
corrosion may be reduced by no more than

Note 3: When the corrosion

resistance of alloy steels is adequately

The corrosion allowance for other

materials will be specially considered by
the Society. Where their resistance to
corrosion is adequately demonstrated, the
corrosion allowance may be disregarded.

Note 2: In cases of media with high

corrosive action, a higher corrosion
allowance may be required by the Society.

Corrosion Allowance general

The corrosion allowance is a measure which is used in the maintenance applications.
A corrosion allowance of 3.0 mm means that e.g. a wall thickness without any problem
may be decrease with 3.0 mm.
Mind you, that does not mean than the minimum wall thickness is achieved and the
object has reached its end of life.
Example: a piece of equipment has a wall thickness of 10 mm with a corrosion
allowance of 3.0 mm. With a wall thickness of 7.0 mm action is required because the
specified corrosion allowance is completely consumed.
Some attention points when the corrosion allowance almost of completely is consumed.

What is the corrosion rate. Is it linear or progressive occurred.

What was the wall thickness during construction.

Are there baseline measurements are available.

Are the process conditions changed.

Is there erosion occurred in combination with corrosion.

Can we get the next inspection period.

What is the structural wall thickness that is needed.

Should we make a recalculation.

Wall thickness monitoring during process (Preventive control).

Must the equipment to be replaced at the next shut-down.

Must be the same material used for eventual replacement.

The wall thickness measurements are reliable.

Paint-and temperature can affect the measurement results.

Is the decline occurred internal or external, or a combination of both.

Can equipement remain in use or should it be taken out of service.