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Filiform corrosion occurs under surface layers such as paint. It depends on the relative moisture of the air and the quality of the surface treatment preparation prior to coating. Filiform corrosion has the appearance of thin threadlike attacks progressing along the surface beneath a surface layer.

The mode of attack is similar to pitting corrosion in that the front of the attack is supported by moisture which penetrates the surface layer and becomes depleted of oxygen making the area anodic

But the corrosion products formed may cause deformation in narrow crevices or delamination of surface treatment.

But the corrosion products formed may cause deformation in narrow crevices or delamination of surface treatment.

According to one recent investigation, a reduction of the Cu content in the aluminium alloy below 0,3% reduces filiform corrosion substantially[56].

This type Filiform Corrosion

Filiform corrosion normally starts at small, sometimes microscopic, defects in the coating. Lacquers and "quick-dry" paints are most susceptible to the problem Their use should be avoided unless absence of an adverse effect has been proven by field experience. Wheere a coating is required, it should exhibit low water vapor transmission characteristics and excellent adhesion. Zinc-rich coatings should also be considered for coating carbon steel because of their cathodic protection quality.

The picture on the left shows filiform corrosion causing bleedthrough on a welded tank. The picture on the right shows "wormlike" filiform corrosion tunnels forming under a coating at the Atmospheric Test Site.
Filiform corrosion is minimized by careful surface preparation prior to coating, by the use of coatings that are resistant to this form of corrosion (see above), and by careful inspection of coatings to insure that holidays, or holes, in the coating are minimized.

PREVENTI0N
A variety of actions can help in the prevention of filiform corrosion. Probably the best strategy is to make certain that there is excellent adhesion of the coating over a salt-free metal substrate. In addition, using multiple coating layers that have low water and electrolyte permeability, sealing of cut or drilled edges, adequate coverage of sharp corners and edges, and prevention of surface defects such as pinholes, cratering, and dewetting all help. Zinc-rich primers reduce the tendency for filiform to occur over steel.

Testing for filiform corrosion resistance usually involves contamination of scribed-painted panels by exposure to salt spray or a salt solution (hydrochloric acid and hydrogen chloride gas also have been used) followed by placement of the specimens in a humidity chamber for a period of time Deally, the test panels will have been produced on the customer's line. Filiform corrosion test standards include ASTM D 2803, "Standard Guide for Testing Filiform Corrosion Resistance of Organic Coatings on Metal" and ISO 4623, "Paints and varnishes-Determination of resistance to filiform corrosion