One of the many ways that articulated concrete blocks can protect pipelines is by adding structural stability in areas that are particularly prone to erosion. This erosion is not the only type of hazard posed to your pipeline, though, and if you don’t have the proper protection in place, your pipeline could be susceptible to deterioration at the hands of these other threats as well:
- Uniform corrosion: When the material that a pipeline is constructed with begins to erode throughout the entire structure, it is referred to as uniform corrosion. This type of corrosion usually occurs over time as the constant exposure to external elements mix with the many electrochemical processes that are taking place, and the material begins to break down. This type of corrosion slowly eats away at your pipeline and could result in a loss of metal thickness, which could compromise the structural integrity as well as the contents of your entire pipeline.
- Pitting corrosion: This type of corrosion is a much more centralized deterioration that attacks the structure of your pipeline in the form of highly localized holes that move inward very quickly. This type of erosion is the result of a passive layer of metal being weakened in some way, whether it be from continued contact with extreme weather conditions or preexisting imperfections in the metal. Although this type of erosion doesn’t necessarily attack a whole pipeline at once, it can do a lot of damage in a short period of time. Steel, iron, chromium, cobalt, aluminum and copper are all predisposed to pitting corrosion, and an entire component can be fully penetrated within in just a few days.
- Frost heave: The one type of erosion that all pipelines are vulnerable to regardless of material makeup is frost heave. When the temperatures drop to freezing, this chill will begin to penetrate the soil, and any unfrozen water that may lay beneath the surface will turn to ice. As ice grows, it tends to travel towards the area of the highest heat loss, which means it will begin to push vertically towards the surface. In the early stages of frost heave, the soil and pipeline above the frost line hinder the ice’s upward growth, so the ice will continue to grow below. But if there is a large reserve of water underneath or near your pipeline, and the ice block continues to grow, it could become so powerful as to begin to move or heave the earth beneath the surface, which could have a direct impact on the safety of your pipeline and its location if it rests above the frost line.
If harmful weather conditions have constant, unblocked access to your pipeline, they could eventually affect both soil quality and structural composition, so finding ways to keep it as protected as possible is critical. In order to put an action plan in place and make sure your pipeline has the best possible protection, speak with the team at International Erosion Control Systems Inc. Give us a call today to learn more about our patented articulated concrete block technology and what will be best suited for your pipeline project.