Corrosion, we all know it from the agricultural sector where, for example, ammonia from manure can damage roof structures made of aluminium, metal and steel. But we also find corrosion in coastal areas or where heavy industry takes place. Fortunately, a lot is possible in the protection of these materials. Because Esdec provides a 20-year warranty, our mounting systems for solar panels on roofs are extra protected against corrosion as standard. Not primarily for good quality, but this also makes it a sustainable and recyclable product!
Let’s first establish the definition of corrosion; corrosion is an undesired attack on the material by a chemical reaction. The best-known attack is the reaction of metals that react with the oxygen and water present in the air. This causes rust to occur in ferrous materials. Rust affects the metal and can weaken the product in the long run. White rust and anodising (with aluminium) can be seen as a positive form of corrosion. These oxidation forms are in fact protective. These are rust forms from a chemical reaction. In addition, there is corrosion from the mechanical approach, including stress corrosion cracking. This type is created by tensile stress, causing cracks to form in the structure of the metal.
Corrosion can occur anywhere, but there are areas where it occurs much faster. In coastal areas, for example, there is a higher salt content in the air. But don’t be mistaken about industrial areas either: due to the emissions by different companies, many different substances come together in the air. These can cause a mix of corrosive substances and contaminants that can increase the risk of corrosion. Critical corrosion environments are, for example, the chemical industry, agricultural companies, metal processing companies and coal-fired power stations. In addition to this fact, these sectors also have significant challenges in the field of sustainability.
Corrosion-resistant support structures such as mounting systems for solar panels are therefore extra important in critical environments to ‘harvest’ as much solar energy as possible at acceptable costs. Fortunately, the world of material innovation has responded to this with the development of the MAGNELIS® coating. This coating enriches the steel with a mixed layer of magnesium, aluminium and zinc for long-lasting protection. For example, the steel offers 20 years of protection against corrosion. A unique property of MAGNELIS® is that the coating layer is ‘self-repairing’, which is especially important on the (cut) edges. These must remain optimally protected to prevent rusting.
At Esdec we extensively test all our supporting structures for all types of corrosion. In concrete terms, this means that Magnelis steel is used for both flat roofs (FlatFix series) and pitched roof systems (ClickFit series). Looking at the classification of environments as stated in the standard EN-ISO 12944-2, Esdec products can be used in more severe corrosive conditions.
Then we have the last important type of corrosion left, stress corrosion cracking. Particularly in components that are under constant mechanical stress, hairline cracks can form, which are sensitive to corrosion. It is therefore important to always install the system according to the manual and the installation plan, so that stresses are limited.
But the MAGENELIS® coating has another important advantage here: this coating stretches where the metal is bent. As a result, the underlying steel closes off and offers extra protection in the event of any tensile or compressive stress. An extra ‘free’ advantage that the FlatFix product line offers you as an installer in providing a quality solution for the customer!
To determine the corrosion resistance of the materials used by Esdec, they are tested in accordance with European standards by accredited test labs such as VDE Renewables and Element. The Esdec products show good results, which means that Esdec can fulfil the product warranty of 20 years on its mounting systems. For larger projects, statements regarding the corrosion resistance of our systems are regularly requested from Esdec.
Due to the high quality of, for example, the FlatFix Wave Plus mounting system, It can be removed from the roof, reused, or melted down into basic material without any problems after their 20-year lifespan. In addition, Esdec is in the process of becoming ISO 14001 certified. This 14001 standard sets requirements for an environmental management system that is used to develop an appropriate environmental policy and to safeguard its implementation. Reuse of materials is an important topic in this.
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