Understanding and Preventing Metal and Steel Galling, Part 1

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Understanding and Preventing Metal and Steel Galling, Part 1

preventing metal steel galling

Within the metalworking world, friction can be one of the more common enemies of manufacturers. It can lead to a variety of different potential issues, one of which is known as metal galling.

At Wasatch Steel, we’re here to provide not only a wide range of steel products, from steel bar to steel pipe, steel sheet and numerous others, but also several steel services and areas of expertise. We’ve assisted many clients with avoiding friction-related issues during any of their steel projects, and we’ll do the same for you. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over everything you need to know about metal and steel galling, from what it is to how it takes place and how you can prevent it during any metal or steel project.

Galling Basics

Galling, which can take place on several metal types, refers to a type of wear that causes a metal to adhere to another different metal when they’re in contact. This often results in the metal separating from its original component, generally in a very rapid format.

Galling is considered a unique form of wear on metal because it actually causes adhesion. Most other wear or friction formats involve metals coming into contact and eroding as a result, but galling is different – it actually causes metals to connect to one other instead, creating a whole host of separate issues.

Microscopic Vs Other Galling Types

Galling is an effect that can take place at varying levels within a metal. In some cases it will be microscopic – while it may damage some metals in these cases, it often will not eliminate their usefulness entirely (especially if the operation involved has loose tolerances). In other cases, galling will be large and easily visible on the metal, such as on metal bolts or pistons that often touch other metals.

Causes of Galling

As we noted above, the primary cause of galling in metals is friction forces between two different metals. Generally, these metals will be in contact under very high loads, and both materials must be ductile enough that cohesive attraction is possible. Many metals, however, have these two characteristics and are prone to galling.

For this reason, common touchpoints for galling include areas that promote these conditions. Debris in the metal thread, for instance, often triggers galling, while threading soft materials together – including stainless steel – may also cause it. In other cases, poor shipping methods that lead to damage of metal threads during transportation may increase the likelihood of galling, which makes storage and transportation of any susceptible metals very important.

For more on metal and steel galling, or to learn about any of our steel products or services, speak to the staff at Wasatch Steel today.