Dr. Derek R. Holmes

Dr. Derek R. Holmes

21st August 1927

Derek Holmes, a longstanding enthusiastic supporter and officer of the Institute and its predecessors, died recently.  Derek was born in Bedford and went via scholarships and exhibitions to Bedford School (37-45) and Wadham College (45-51), Oxford, where he intended to read chemistry, but because of the exigencies of the war and the requirements of the state bursary, he was awarded he had to read physics at Oxford or metallurgy or glass technology at Sheffield, so he became a physicist. After graduating he researched with H. M. Powell, FRS, on the crystal structure of clathrate compounds, but he showed eventually that the material whose structure he determined was a simple condensation compound, 4-isopropylidene aminophenol, and not a clathrate.

After leaving Oxford in 1951, Derek joined the late C. W. Bunn, FRS, at the ICI Plastics Division, where he completed the structure analysis of Nylon 6, polycaproamide, (German and Russian nylon) and made considerable progress with the structure of polyisobutene, and with several of the exciting new isotactic polymers being developed from the work of Professors Ziegler in Germany and Natta in Italy.  While at Welwyn his interests broadened considerably with his marriage to Cynthia in 1953 and the arrival of his three children, and at work where he became involved in other physical analytical methods such as electron and optical microscopy and non-destructive testing.  In 1960 he was recruited by the late Dr. Forrest, FRS, at Central Electricity Research Laboratories, Leatherhead, to lead a Non-Destructive Testing Section in the Physics Division, but due to a major expansion and reorganisation of CERL before he joined found himself as Head of the Structural Studies Section in the Materials Division.

Soon after joining CERL, Derek was fascinated to hear a paper by Potter and Mann at the 1st International Corrosion Congress on the growth of two-layer magnetite scales on high-pressure steam generating tubes and he spent a significant proportion of the rest of his professional career studying the growth, properties and breakdown of oxide films in a wide range of technological environments.  In the Materials Division, Derek was given the opportunity to surround himself with a group of brilliant young men who rapidly adopted his critical quantitative approach to corrosion and oxidation.  These young colleagues very soon made significant scientific contributions in high temperature oxidation and in the study of oxide properties, and Derek’s large group was renamed the Oxides and Corrosion Section.  Many of them played major roles in the development and work of the Institute and its predecessor societies, and of the European Corrosion Federation, notably both David Mortimer and Mike Manning serving terms as Hon. Secretary of the Institute, and the excellent Dr. Barry Meadowcroft who provided consistent support during his tenure as Group Head.  Other colleagues in Derek’s section went on to become Laboratory Managers of the Marchwood Engineering Laboratories and of CERL, while Derek himself served terms as President of the Corrosion and Protection Association, and Chairman of the National Council of Corrosion Societies. He worked with Henry Cole and Bowler-Reid to form the then Institute of Corrosion Science and Technology from its constituent societies, and later served on the Council of the Institute and as Hon. Secretary, and for many years as Chairman, Secretary and Editor of the Institute’s Publications Committee. His 23 years at CERL were professionally most satisfying, with work in his section on materials for many diverse applications and problems, including MHD electrodes, zinc air battery electrodes, sodium, helium and CO2 cooled reactor materials, and conventional generation materials, which led to a wide range of publications.  Many of these were presented initially at the annual Corrosion Science Symposia, which Derek and his colleagues supported enthusiastically, and others were given at the International Congresses and at the Gordon Research Conferences.   Highlights in his career at CERL included a visit to Russia as an industrial member of a DTI Team of UK Corrosion Specialists lead by Professor Parkins (the only time he ever had diplomatic immunity!), and in 1979/80 a period of secondment to the Electric Power Research Institute in California working with John Stringer and Bob Jaffe.  His time there and various other journeys in the USA and elsewhere gave him a taste for foreign travel, and this, together with the projected privatisation of the CEGB and the associated inevitable reduction in research, led him to seek early retirement in 1983.  He intended to spend his additional spare time on his much-loved pursuits of gardening, windsurfing, travel and supporting his family.  But such was not to be!

As soon as Derek and his wife returned from their retirement holiday, he was asked by John Bernie at the National Corrosion Service at NPL, to spend three years on a part-time basis setting up and managing co-operative research projects to minimise the cost of corrosion to UK industry.  Nine years and four major projects later (totalling £2M in all) he retired from his active work at NCS.  Simultaneously with his work at NPL the Institute asked Derek to set up and lead a Publications Committee to increase the Institute’s output, reputation and profit from their high quality technical and scientific publications.  He finally retired as Secretary and Books Editor from this committee in 2000, having edited and nurtured the publication of a number of valuable books including, in particular, ‘Dewpoint Corrosion’ in 1985, and the ‘Corrosion Handbook’ in 1999.  In the 80s, Derek and his wife, Cynthia, were often to be seen on the Institute’s stand at the UK Corrosion Conferences selling both the Institute’s publications and the benefits of Institute Membership.

Derek always felt himself to be wonderfully fortunate in his research career, both in the exciting discoveries being made in so many of his different areas and, especially, in the many brilliant colleagues and friends he had in the Institute and in the wider corrosion field.  He was a man of many parts and although always dedicated to his work in science and technology he loved his rugby, windsurfing and swimming.  At CERL he was sprint champion and record holder at his age group for a number of years and was the shove-ha’penny champion as well as swimming competitively.  He always maintained a strong interest in education, particularly for those who were less fortunate than himself, and served as a governor of local primary and secondary schools for 23 years.  He also served as an occasional PhD Examiner for Newcastle University and Imperial College, as a first degree Examiner at Sunderland Polytechnic (now University) for 4 years, and on the Standards Inspection Group for the Council of National Academic Awards.

Derek is survived by Cynthia, who kindly assisted in the preparation of this summary of Derek’s life and achievements, and who notified the Institute of a generous bequest that he was keen should be made to the Institute on his behalf.

William Cox

10th July 2019



As mentioned in the last issue, David Horrocks has taken over as Chairman of PTDC from Chris Atkins, and a photograph of the formal hand-over at Portland St Manchester in Mott McDonalds office, during a meeting of the Highways England NHSS19A sector scheme committee, is featured with this article.

Corrosion Science Division (CSD)

60th Corrosion Science Symposium
The 60th Corrosion Science Symposium (CSS) this year was part of Electrochem2019 hosted by the University of Strathclyde’s Technology Innovation Centre, Glasgow. Electrochem is an annual meeting organised jointly by the RSC Electrochemistry Group and the SCI Electrochemical Technology Group, and over the past 15 years the CSS has joined the meeting as a parallel session. This joint Electrochem/CSS meeting gives a much broader platform for the U.R. Evans award and the Shreir Prize, and enhanced recognition for ICorr. The symposium is an ideal opportunity for students and younger researchers in corrosion science from across Europe to congregate, discuss their work, share ideas and, above all enjoy themselves in a stimulating/friendly environment. This year there were 15 presentations and the UR Evans award plenary talk, plus four posters over the two days. The symposium had a couple of key underlying themes: (i) electrochemical monitoring/sensing strategies; and (ii) polymeric coatings and surface modification.

Symposium talk highlights included, David Kumar (University of Bristol) who gave an interesting overview of his work on hot water corrosion issues related to fusion reactor cooling circuits. David explored the effect of simulated fusion reactor conditions on the reduced-activation ferritic-martensitic steel, Eurofer-97, which is Europe’s candidate for structural material in the water-cooled lithium-lead blankets. As well as aqueous corrosion, Eurofer-97 in a coolant loop will be subjected to high neutron flux, temperatures, pressures, and magnetic fields. Mariana Folena (University of Leeds) reported on her studies into the role of acetic acid in CO2 top of line corrosion using real-time corrosion measurements, where the corrosion response was characterised
through the implementation of a miniature three-electrode 
setup developed for extracting real-time electrochemical measurement. Jessica Moulton (University of Manchester) gave a good overview into her recent studies modelling the behaviour of aluminium flakes in marine coatings using agar gels. Aluminium flakes can be formulated into marine coatings to delay the onset of cathodic disbanding, however the mechanism behind this affect is at present not fully understood.

The UR Evans award plenary talk was given by Prof Tetsuo Shoji from Tohoku University, Japan. The UR Evans Award is the Institute’s premier scientific award and is awarded annually in recognition of outstanding contributions to corrosion science and engineering. The award is in the form of an engraved sword and symbolises the fight in which we we are engaged. Prof Shoji’s talk was on the mechanics and mechanisms of stress corrosion cracking – the role of hydrogen as an all-round player. He reviewed the phenomenological understanding of cracking mechanisms along with the fundamental mechanistic understanding. Prof Shoji outlined recent atomistic modelling studies of metallic oxidation by water and suggested a role for hydrogen in the oxidation process linked with experimental observations, reporting hydrogen-vacancy cluster and diffusivity effects. For transition metals and their alloys, hydrogen is thought to play an important mechanistic role, such as in the interaction with surrounding atoms through electron transfer from the metal to hydrogen to form negatively charged/positively charged hydrogen, where atomic defects produce hydrogen-vacancy clusters and existing surface oxides form degraded(non-protective) oxides, with either grain boundaries or interfaces promoting diffusivity. Throughout his talk Prof Shoji often challenged the perceived wisdom and provided exciting insights 
into recent scientific achievements linked to the degradation and cracking issues associated with nuclear power generation.

The Shreir Prize which is awarded to the best oral presentation by a registered student at the CSS was won this year by Amelia Langley (University of Bath) for her talk entitled ‘Chaotic copper corrosion: the influence of dissolved gas on the anodic passivation of copper in model seawater’. Amelia discussed with great clarity and enthusiasm a proposed colloidal dissolution mechanism, linked to characteristic noise in voltammetry data. In addition, the influence of dissolved gas was explored where, more specifically, the effects of industrially relevant O2, CO2 and H2 were studied. Inert gas (He and Ar) and degassing (removal of gas) effects were also explored. The colloidal mechanism was demonstrated to be dependent on both the presence and type of gas, subsequently affecting anodic passivation to a lesser or greater extent, linked to the role of gases as surfactants.

Aberdeen Branch – 3 New Committee Members

The Aberdeen ICorr Branch is very pleased to announce the addition of 3 New Members to its Committee:

  • Jonathan Segynola, MSc, Senior Integrity Engineer – Offshore West Africa, (CNR International UK Ltd, Aberdeen).
  • Mei Ling Cheah, MSc, Corrosion Engineer, (LR – Lloyd’s Register, Aberdeen).
  • Dr Olubayo Latinwo, Corrosion Engineer, (Fairfield Energy Ltd, Aberdeen).

Their combined experience will help strengthen the Aberdeen Technical Programme and its contacts with Local Industries.

We wish them every success in their Terms of Office.

This celebration follows a very successful year for Aberdeen in 2018/2019 Session, with a very well-attended Technical Programme and Summer CAD Event.

Corrosion Engineering Division (CED)

Corrosion Engineering Division (CED)

A report on the CED annual working day meeting held during ELECTROCHEM 19, The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow on 28 August 2019, by Dr David Nuttall.

However, to start the day, Gareth Hinds, ICorr President, presented the U R Evans Award to Prof Tetsu Shoji, University of Science and Technology, Beijing, China, who then gave his U R Evans award plenary lecture (see CSD report below). There were then three further short presentations by Blue Scientific, Hiden Analytical and EPSCR.

The conference then split into three streams. The corrosion stream was given over to CED talks from industrialists on the theme of corrosion monitoring in industry. The first of these was, ‘Electrochemical corrosion monitoring (ECM) in the nuclear industry’ given by Clive Harrison (Wood, Warrington). Although not commonly employed in the UK nuclear power industry, ECM can provide a valuable role in understanding the nature and causes of corrosion. Corrosion is usually discovered during inspections at station outages or component failure while operating. However, there have been many instances in which ECM has elucidated complex corrosion issues. The technique has proved especially useful for localised corrosion such as pit propagation or stress corrosion cracking (SCC). The presentation demonstrated the value of ECM with reference to the author’s plant experience over the past 30 years.
Sarah Leeds (DC Voltage Gradient Technology & Supply Ltd, Wigan) gave a presentation on, ‘Monitoring corrosion protection of pipelines utilising the main survey techniques’. Pictures of the sorts of coating defects identified were shown together with graphical data derived from DCVG, CIPS and soil resistivity techniques. A novel remote control DCVG technique was presented whereby a surveyor can control from land, using a remote control device, to identify coating faults on subsea sections of pipeline, with the meter on an unmanned boat also recording all DCVG electrical measurements and GPS coordinates. The electromagnetic form of the soil resistivity technique enables a total profile of the whole right of way of the pipeline under survey but can only be performed when not pulsing the CP system on and off, and not carried out on top of the pipeline but to one side of the right of way. Finally, in conjunction with Prof Douglas Mills (Northampton University), a non-destructive device, ‘ProCoMeter’, based on electrochemical noise, has been developed which is ideal for site use or continuous monitoring of corrosion behaviour.

Hunter Thomson (Scaled Solutions Ltd, Livingston, Scotland) gave a presentation on, ‘Chemical qualification of corrosion inhibitors in the oil and gas industry: Impact of test approaches on performance during laboratory testing’. Laboratory based assessment of corrosion inhibitors is essential prior to field trials, with final qualification relying on close replication to the corroding environment. Research has been carried out into how apparently small changes in test methodology or conditions in these screening tests, can influence the performance of different products. Results illustrated the role of pre-corrosion, chloride concentration as well as the effectiveness of partitioning for different chemicals, on the performance of different products. It was concluded that an understanding and thorough screening programmes are vital to eliminate possible errors and test artefacts.

Finally, in the section of CED talks, Paul Lambert (Mott-MacDonald, Altringham) addressed the subject of, ‘Long-term corrosion monitoring of steel and reinforced concrete’. Major infrastructure is rarely intended to last less than 
50 years and more commonly expected to exceed 100 years of usefulness. While many components lend themselves to relatively easy maintenance or replacement, the main structural elements can be difficult to access or even harder to repair or replace. Monitoring the condition of such structures to predict if, and when, some form of intervention is required can therefore be a valuable activity but there are complications. Any monitoring therefore needs to be robust, future-proofed and correctly located to be of benefit. The advantages and disadvantages of half-cell (reference electrode) surveys, acoustic emission, resistivity and linear polarisation measurements were described and discussed.
After these presentations, The Paul McIntyre Award was presented to Dr Steve Paterson (only the third such recipient) by Gareth Hinds. Dr Paterson recalled that he first met Paul at a EUROCORR dinner. With Paul’s encouragement, he then became Chair of WP13 from 2013 to 2017, at which time he retired from Shell UK after thirty-seven years. Whilst at Shell, he investigated the pitting resistance of duplex stainless steels in the splash zone and elucidated their sigma-phase embrittlement due to insufficient cooling rates in which intermetallics have had time to form. He pointed out that the new Standard ISO 17781 DSS calls for impact toughness testing (NORSOK M-650, now superseded by ISO 17782). Presently, he is a mentor for young engineers at Robert Gordon University and Chair of Imperial College Materials Advisory Board.

In the afternoon, the CED held working group meetings. The Coatings Work Group was convened by Douglas Mills (University of Northampton), who was acting Chairman, with nine delegates present. The revised version of “Intumescent coatings” was examined and will be passed on to Keith Wagner (R J Lee Group Inc) so that he can address the in-text queries. Two versions “Abrasive Selection” were also discussed. The version without the Appendix was pronounced sufficient and ready for publication and would be passed on to Nick Smart for publication. The draft of ‘‘Improving the performance of hot-dip galvanizing and duplex coatings’’, was briefly reviewed. No authors have been found to-date for the proposed new document (or book) on, ‘Protective coatings in the aerospace industry’. However, the idea has attracted the interest of Theo Hack and Wolfram Fürbeth (DECHEMA) who will follow this up at EUROCORR 2019. An update was required on, sponsorship of ‘Industrial coatings applicator (ICA) apprenticeships’ discussed at the previous meeting and which will be followed up. No authors have been found to date on ‘High Temperature Coatings’. David Nuttall offered to find someone who may be able to assist. As the Coatings Working Group chairman, has resigned, Keith Wagner was elected as the new chair. Finally, the acting chairman proposed an interim, independent Working Day for the Group in April/May 2020, to be arranged with Nick Smart.
This was followed by the Oil and Gas Group meeting. In the absence of the Chairman, Douglas Mills again stepped in. Douglas discussed the minutes of the last meeting, held on 24 April 2018. There was an outstanding action on Bill Brown (Trac Oil & Gas) to produce a document on duplex materials for the marine environment. This was to be a new document and distinct from the hot-dip galvanizing document that was passed to the coatings group. Hunter Thomson (Scaled Solutions Ltd) was asked to comment on a new draft of, ‘Guidelines for corrosion monitoring and control in seawater injection systems’. Additionally, comments were invited on the following documents: ‘Selection of test methods in laboratory performance evaluation of sacrificial anodes’, ‘Detection, monitoring and hazards of bacteria in oilfield systems’ and ‘Working definitions of solubility, dispersibility and partition for corrosion inhibitor application to oil and gas production systems’. Prafull Sharman (Corrosion Radar, Cambridge) then delivered a presentation on Corrosion Radar Technology for monitoring corrosion under insulation. He expressed his interest in continued involvement with the CED O&G Group and was happy to contribute from the perspective of corrosion monitoring. The date and venue for the next meeting needs to be discussed but will probably be at the stand-alone CED Day in April 2020.

Finally, the Corrosion in Concrete and Nuclear Corrosion Groups held a combined meeting, chaired by Paul Lambert and Nick Smart.