Golf Course Management

JUN 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 41 of 105

34 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 06.18 Corrosion never quits, but damage can be controlled with easy additional maintenance during routine servicing and by using the right stuff when replacing parts. Dramatic damaging corrosion was the cul - prit when electric power to our shop failed. e incoming power cable was accidentally covered by some dirt. Soil moisture contain - ing who-knows-what minerals apparently penetrated the outside insulating jacket. e photo shows how the aluminum cable cor - roded and broke apart. A new cable with un- derground insulation restored power and il- lustrated how corrosion keeps working until something breaks. Almost any metal will very slowly ex - change electrons and ions when in contact with a different metal. Add an electrolyte — liquid acid, alkali or salt — and the process moves rapidly. Corrosion of metals generates electricity. Alkaline batteries work by mutual destructive corrosion of zinc and manganese bathed in potassium hydroxide. e corro - sion is partially reversed in rechargeable bat- teries, such as Ni-Cd (nickel-cadmium) used for cordless tools. On turf equipment, destructive corrosion is most obvious near the lead-acid battery used to start and run the machine, since the bat - tery gives off a fine mist of acid fumes. Replace an aluminum water pump mounted with steel bolts, and odds are at least one bolt will show corrosion from coolant liquid seeping into the steel-aluminum joint. Copper wire ground - ing terminals connected to a steel chassis will often develop corrosion, shutting down the electrical system. A layer of moist gunk on equipment can provide the electrolyte needed to spawn mutual corrosion between dissimi - lar metal components that are some distance apart. Washing off dirt and chemical residues after the workday can ward off corrosion. Use compressed air and/or sunshine to dry off the equipment. Spraying clean, dry equip - ment with silicon adds a water-resistant layer. But consider that sunshine can corrode non- metallic parts made of rubber, plastic and fi - berglass. Ultraviolet (UV) energy in sunlight encourages "dry rot" in rubber tires by help - ing atmospheric oxygen combine with pet- rochemicals in the rubber. Plastics become brittle when UV light breaks apart their mol - ecules. UV blocker sprays are easily found at auto parts stores and are worth applying, es - pecially in high-sunshine, hot-weather areas. Petroleum-based sprays are not recommended because they can degrade rubber and plastic. Corrosion control (shop) Scott R. Nesbitt Soil moisture seeped into this alumi- num power cable. Metallic elements in the soil reacted with the aluminum and eventually cut through the cable, shutting down power to a garage. Photos courtesy of Scott R. Nesbitt Antioxidant gel that electricians use to prevent corrosion of aluminum wires and compo- nents works as a reasonable general-purpose protec- tive coating for battery terminals and as an all-purpose anti-seize and anti-corrosive when working away from the shop. Specialized anti-corrosives should be used when possible. Antifreeze, for example, con - tains anti-corrosives that prevent cooling sys- tem damage fostered by plain water. Anti- seize coatings help keep nuts and bolts from being damaged by corrosion. My traveling toolbox includes a tube of electrician's antioxidant. It's a zinc-containing conductive gel that's required to resist corro - sion of aluminum wires. I find it works pretty well on battery terminals and as a general-pur - pose thread lubricant for nuts and bolts. e tube doesn't spill, it fits in with the tools, and while it may not perfectly stop all metallic cor - rosion, it certainly can't hurt. Scott R. Nesbitt is a freelance writer and former GCSAA staff member. He lives in Cleveland, Ga.

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