5 Ways To Isolate Dissimilar Metals

August 23, 2022

The mere mention of different metals in the plumbing sector is alarming. Corrosion between dissimilar metals can ruin pipes, erode pipe supports, and collapse pipelines. Even more worrying, corrosion can quickly spread throughout the entire piping system once started.

Pipe isolation is a method for stopping corrosion between different metals before it begins. You may safeguard your pipes and encourage a more durable plumbing system by segregating those metals that don't get along. We've provided five tested strategies for isolating different metals and fortifying your plumbing system.

Why Are Dissimilar Metals Isolated?

Metals significantly different from one another are said to be dissimilar metals. These metals cause a reaction that eats away metal when they come into contact with one another. Galvanic corrosion, in which a noble metal draws electrons away from a base, active metal, can be caused by dissimilar metals. Rust, iron oxide and weakened metal are the results.

Read More: How to Remove Rust From metal

Corrosion in a metal can harm your entire pipe system. Your system is at risk of shutdowns, on-site catastrophes, pipe collapses, and other problems. Because of this, separating dissimilar metals is crucial and prevents galvanic corrosion from occurring.

What Causes Corrosion Of Dissimilar Metals?

When you combine an anode and a cathode, a reaction known as galvanic corrosion, also known as corrosion of dissimilar metals, occurs. Combining carbon steel and stainless steel is a typical example. When these two common metals are mixed with an electrolyte, electrons transfer from the active metal (carbon steel) to the noble metal (stainless steel). As a result, your carbon steel may rust and disintegrate. If the characteristics of your pipes and the nearby metals differ, the same process may occur.

5 Ways Of Isolating Dissimilar Metals

Here are 5 effective techniques for separating dissimilar metals and extending the life of your piping system:

1. Galvanize Metal

Galvanizing metal is one method of protecting different metals without the need for significant nonmetallic barriers. A layer of zinc is added to a base metal during the galvanization process to increase corrosion resistance.

As a base metal, zinc makes an easy target for noble metals because of its electrons. In essence, the more basic of two different metals will start stealing electrons from the zinc layer when you add a zinc coating to the more basic metal. In contrast, attacking the base metal of your pipe or support is a terrible idea. This additional layer serves as both a sacrificial layer and protection against friction, wear and scratches, extending the life of the primary metal.

Read More: What Are Ferrous Metals

2. Apply Liners

If you want to utilize metallic pipe support without galvanizing, how can you keep different metals separate in specific circumstances? You can use composite isolators. Adding a liner to your support may keep the advantages of metal pipe supports without the risk of corrosion. Metallic pipe supports are fitted with pipe support liners. They can be constructed from nonmetallic materials to withstand chemical exposure and intense heat and cold. Liners can cushion pipes and lessen surface abrasions and separate different metals.

The wide range of materials available makes using liners to isolate pipelines one of the significant benefits. Some commonly used liners are:

  • Teflon – Teflon liners allow you to isolate pipelines under challenging circumstances. Teflon can also be fused to pipe supports during manufacturing to create a barrier between the pipe and support.
  • Polyurethane – Polyurethane liners are made to endure harsh conditions, including intense heat. The liners can also be made to block UV radiation. In doing so, they can withstand prolonged exposure to the sun and guard against metal-on-metal damage.
  • Custom materials like Neoprene, sodium-etched PTSE, and Urethane

3. Elevate Piping

You can use pipe support to elevate pipes if you need to lift them off metal structures. The pipe shoe is one of the most widely used pipe elevators. Here is a quick overview of several pipe shoes and how they stop metal-to-metal corrosion:


Composite pipe shoes are comprised of a non-metallic substance that is incredibly durable. They control movement and raise your metal pipes above the ground. These shoes increase protection in several ways:

  • Due to their ability to segregate metals, galvanic corrosion caused by different metals is not a concern.
  • They guard against friction-induced pipe degradation. Your pipes slide on a far more forgiving composite shoe than rubbing against rough metallic surfaces. This stops small holes from growing and housing corrosion cells and cracks and tears.

Metallic pipe slippers are another excellent choice for lifting pipes off corrosive surfaces. Make sure your pipe supports avoid corrosion between different metals if you want to isolate pipes using metallic shoes. The following are some ways to avoid metal-on-metal damage:

  • Make sure the metal used to create your metallic pipe shoes matches the metal used to create your pipes.
  • To your pipe shoes, add a nonmetallic protective liner.
  • Galvanize pipe shoes or pipes.

Read More: What Are Non-Ferrous Metals 

4. Apply Buffers

Your pipe and the nearby metals are physically separated by buffers called pipe isolators. Some examples of pipe isolators are as follows:

  • WEAR PADS: Wear pads that are specifically designed to fit your pipe's outside diameter. They are a nonmetallic material that prevents your metal pipe from coming into contact with nearby metallic surfaces. Wear pads that move with your pipe when it shifts because they are a precise fit for your pipe. Doing this prevents the pipe's surface from corroding, which can happen when pipes brush against other metal things.
  • SLIDE PLATES: Slide plates are typically used to smooth movement between pipe support and the structure on which it rests. They fit underneath the pipe.

5. Add Hooks/Hangers

Pipes can be strung together and suspended in the air using hangers. They won't be sitting on corrosive dirt or other metal surfaces this way. You'll also want your hangers to be corrosion-resistant if dissimilar metal corrosion is a concern. Ensure they're built of a corrosion-resistant material, such as stainless or galvanized steel, to achieve this.

These are the methods for preventing corrosion in your pipes. It will function effectively and prolong the life of pipes.

Read More: How To Clean And Prep Metal For Welding

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