How to Prevent and Solve Railroad Nail Corrosion

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Impacts of Railroad Nail Corrosion

Railroad nail, also popularly named railroad spike, is an important fastener and plays crucial role in fastening the rail frame of railroad.

Modern railroad is moving towards the aim of high-speed and heavy-haul transportation. To achieve it, railroad steel rail must be characteristics of higher stability and better balance so as to ensure smooth train operation. As heavy steel rail is used, it must be provided with enough clamping force in order to ensure relative stability of track frame. Whether railroad nail is good or not, it is the key standard to judge the effectiveness of the fastener and the fastening system used. In severe cases, as it fails, a serious safety accident may happen. This means huge personnel and economic losses. Thus, we must value the impacts of railroad nail corrosion on the operating railroad.

Common Causes of Railroad Nail Corrosion

 Common causes of railroad nail corrosion

Due to the long-term exposure to the atmospheric environment, railroad nail is continually influenced by rainwater, passenger feces, waste chemicals and minerals left behind from the train. It is believed that its external environment is much bad. This may lead to railroad nail corrosion easily. Screw spikes are one kind of railroad spikes. Main material nearby the threads and the frustums may be corrosive easily, and they may be broken due to insufficient resistance to torque and tensile stress. The corrosion causes are very complicated. The railroad nail is mainly polluted by the following factors.

Passenger feces and waste water

In general, more than half of modern trains are provided with directly drained lavatory. The feces and urine mainly contain various kinds of organic substances, microorganisms, bacteria, sulfur, chlorine compounds and inorganic salts (calcium, iron and magnesium), providing an environment for electrolyte solution for railroad nail corrosion.

Atmospheric corrosion

Sulfur and sulfide in the atmosphere can have the corrosion impact on the spikes. With the atmospheric environment pollution’ getting worse and worse in recent years, the rainfall is also acidic. Across the area of the railroad, chemical plants nearby have emitted a large amount of SO2, ammonia gas and water-soluble liquid particles that can stick to the surface of the spike and then cause corrosion.

In general, the greater the Atmospheric relative humidity gets, the more likely it is that a water film is formed on the surface of the spike, and the longer the water film remains, more likely the corrosion occurs.

Temperature difference has more influence on atmospheric corrosion. It will cause water vapor to form water film on metal surface. As the spike exposes in the outdoor environment, temperature change in day and night or winter and summer may make water vapor have the condensation in the metal surface and form a water film. This will make the corrosion process accelerated.

External environment

The external environment refers to the railroad environment trains run. Freight trains often splash chemical raw materials, minerals and other substances on the railroads, such as carbon particles. The spike is made of Q235 carbon structural steel. The steel contains C, Mn, Si, S, P and other trace elements. Under a certain condition, they are prone to have the reactions and then cause the corrosion.

Climate change

In recent decades, because of the enhancement of industrial production, human activities have also affected the climate. The greenhouse effect and the planet warming are becoming more and more serious in the aspect of average temperature. Around the world all the industrial products are facing stricter demands on their applicability. As a easily corrosive steel product, railroad nail may get more easily corroded without higher product standards.
(You can click to see types of spike and rail corrosion)

How to Prevent Railroad Nail Corrosion

How to prevent railroad nail corrosion

Choose high-quality suppliers of railroad nail product

Owning rich experience and advanced equipments, AGICO has high quality railroad nails for sale. As a professional railway enterprise, AGICO can provide customers with railroad spikes for wooden sleeper. We also provide low price wooden sleeper with high-quality and rail spike made in China.

Non-sulfur anchoring agent application

At present, the sulfur anchoring agent is popularly used on the anchors of screw railroad spikes all over the world. It is convenient for anchoring operation. However, during the processes of HS, S2 and SO2 combined with water the acidic electrolyte solution will be produced. The solution can make the spike get serious rusty. In addition, burning the sulfur anchoring agent along the railroad will pollute the environment, waste wood and smoke crops. By comparison, we choose pure silicate 525 white cement (A kind of hydraulic binding material) as cementing material and select the emery as new water-soluble anchoring agent, and then add a certain amount of anti-rusty agent. All the ingredients are environmentally friendly materials. According to the proportion, workers can stir them evenly on site to use. The anti-dialing force can reach not less than 60KN. At the same time, screw railroad spikes can also achieve the anti-corrosion purpose.

Long-term anti-corrosion grease application

The railroad spikes work under the conditions of severe coldness, high temperature, rainwater, wind-blown sand and corrosive media containing O2, SO2, Cl2, etc. and are impacted by the axial vibration and radial torsion. Ordinary anti-corrosion grease is far from meeting the anti-corrosion requirements. It is needed to be added with solid filler, antioxidant and metal deactivator, anti-corrosion and anti-rusty agent, etc., to improve the performances and meet different protection requirements.

Regulating the anchoring process

In the use of non-sulfur anchoring agent, the anchoring frame should be used carefully to ensure that the accurate location of the spikes. When anchoring, workers should also clean the spike holes and pour the solution enough once. The frustums of the anchored spikes should be 0-2mm higher than the bearing surface of railroad sleeper (When using the elastic fastening system). The holes should be filled fully. As the agent solution is solidified, workers should use a flat shovel to clean the overflowing anchoring agent, repair the surfaces around the holes. Here is easy to remain water and be corroded. During the routine maintenance process, the workers pay great attention to the quality of the spike oiling, the anti-corrosion coating treatment and the clean-up for chemical raw materials spilled from trains. These measures can play a role in preventing the corrosion.

If the Spikes Have Been Corroded, How to Take Measures to Slow Down the Corrosion Process?

  1. The workers should do the routine inspection well in order to find the problem as soon as possible. The earlier the measures are taken, the better the anti-corrosion effectiveness is.
  2. The workers must deal with the problem of the pitting corrosion as early as they can. The problem looks small, but the result will be serious. Responsibility sense is crucial. 


Railway safety problems cannot be overlooked, the users must choose high quality manufacturer to meet high requirements. AGICO is major in railway accessory products with good quality such as steel rail, crane rail, rail fastening systems, rail fishplate, rail tie plate, rail bolt, railroad spikes, steel dog spike, etc. They are exported all over the world. Depending on more than ten years export experience, we can offer the most competitive price and highest quality for our customers all over the world because we are factory. In the other side, we can deal with the international business freely because we have an experience team in international department. They can offer the best service for our customers. We sincerely seek for reliable cooperators abroad to market the world. Welcome to contact with us!

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