What Can Be the Impact of Dissimilar Metal Corrosion?

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A trailer was repaired after scraping the side a few years ago. The bolts that hold the cross members to the aluminum frame on the side where replaced.  The trailer passed the DOT inspection. One day it was loaded with 22 tons of materials from the external warehouse to the plant to be processed, packed and shipped as final product to the customer. At the entrance of the plant there was a slight dip, when the trailer hit the dip it folded.

So a Root Cause Problem Elimination (RCPE) of the failure was initiated.

The conclusion was that dissimilar metal corrosion (galvanic corrosion) occurred between the aluminum frame and the carbon steel cross members. The root cause was due to lack of isolators for the bolts, preventing the bolt to become a conductor between the aluminum and the carbon steel.  Looking at noble chart for metals you will find that the aluminum will be the sacrificial anode vs. the carbon steel. Also, the salt on winter roads may have accelerated the corrosion rate of the aluminum frame.

The root cause can be extended to the lack of work process using the correct repair procedure, lack of training, and access to the correct technical information.

Owe Forsberg

Owe Forsberg

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