“We have seen that corrosion of stainless steel is an important feature of chain link,” says J.L. Hulshof, senior research fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
But we haven’t seen this corrosion in the chain, he says.
“We are now in a position to see if there is a way to get rid of it,” he says, adding that it would be a “major achievement”.
He points out that corrosion is a known problem in chain-link construction, and that the chain is “designed to resist corrosion”.
In addition, the corrosion could be caused by poor design.
“The corrosion could result from the fact that the structure of the chain links is designed for a certain strength and therefore the corrosion resistance of the structure is not high enough to resist the corrosion,” he explains.
The corrosion could also be caused from poor maintenance, or by poor repair techniques.
The chain’s corrosion resistance is so low that it’s not even possible to detect it, he adds.
But Hulscof says there are still other causes of corrosion, and is working on a paper to see what other mechanisms could be involved.
He points to a study published in the journal Engineering Letters in December, in which researchers analysed corrosion and repair techniques used in the construction of steel chain links.
They found that there were three major types of corrosion: the most common was due to mechanical stresses, and the second was due from water erosion, and a third was due in part to corrosion caused by water.
They also discovered that the corrosion of the steel is also present in the form of plating, which acts like a kind of protective coating around the structure, preventing it from corroding.
“It’s a big deal,” Hulslof says.
It is important to note that the study did not investigate corrosion caused from natural disasters.
HULSLOF: In fact, there’s a possibility of that, because the corrosion is due to a water source, not a mechanical source.
It’s important to remember that the mechanism is mechanical, and not mechanical corrosion, as we would think.
It could be the case that the mechanical corrosion is caused by a water-borne path.
The paper says that the mechanisms responsible for corrosion are likely to be the same as for other kinds of corrosion that are caused by other causes.
HELMETS: But they’re not the only things that could be happening in chain links, says Hulstof.
He’s now working on an investigation of corrosion in stainless steel, which is a material that is typically used in a variety of applications.
HURT: The corrosion has to be removed with a specific tool, so that the water doesn’t get into the chain.
HUT: That’s a major breakthrough.
HILMET: It’s a very important discovery.
But it also points to more work ahead.
HULL: And it’s also an important reminder of the importance of having a rigorous system that has all the necessary tools and procedures in place to make sure that when you’re dealing with corrosion, that the system is well tested and that it can be done safely.