Crest Fasteners – Galvanic Corrosion: What It Is & How to Prevent It

Galvanic corrosion is when two dissimilar metals come in contact with each other, causing one of the metals to decay much more quickly than the other. This weakens the structural integrity of your projects, wasting time and money.

Blind rivets in particular tend to be susceptible to galvanic corrosion, as they tend to be used with incompatible metals such as aluminum and copper in areas of humidity such as air conditioning. If you follow some simple steps, you don’t have to worry about galvanic corrosion again.

Conditions for Galvanic Corrosion

For galvanic corrosion to occur, three particular conditions must all be met.

  1. Two electrochemically dissimilar metals must be used.
  2. These metals have areas in contact with each other.
  3. Both metals are exposed to an electrolyte.

The severity of the corrosion depends on the amount of metal in contact with each other, the level of dissimilarity between the metals, and how well the electrolyte conducts.  So the key to stopping galvanic corrosion is preventing these conditions from occurring together.

Steps to Prevent

  • Check for dissimilar metals in your project—especially if you are using blind rivets and other fasteners—and make sure all the metals are compatible.
  • If your project is going to be near humidity, try to find a way to place the incompatible metals away from the source.
  • Allow the electrolyte source to drain and move away from the dissimilar metals.
  • Try to minimize the amount of contact between the metals. You can use buffer materials such as plastic or paint to reduce the vulnerable areas.

If you follow these steps and keep a watchful eye on the materials of the resources you use, you should have no problem preventing galvanic corrosion, increasing the longevity of the rivets and fasteners you use.