A Journey into the World of Corrosion Science

A Journey into the World of Corrosion Science

A Journey into the World of Corrosion Science

The timeline for innovation in corrosion prevention is evolving

Corrosion is a factor within all industries, and left unchecked corrosion has catastrophic effects on infrastructure and transport. With its potential to cause widespread damage across multiple economic sectors, corrosion has spawned an entire sphere of scientific study, innovation, and engineering.

Corrosion science is interdisciplinary in nature, involving organic chemistry, microbiology, electrochemistry, metallurgy, and more. However, it is also a relatively new field, dating back only a few hundred years. In this article, we take a brief look at the history of corrosion science.

Observations of corrosion in history

Throughout the centuries, we can observe actions taken against corrosion. For example, we know that the Romans covered copper utensils with a thin layer of tin to prevent corrosion.

Counterintuitively, there appears to have been little investigation into corrosion until Robert Boyle published two papers which served to introduce corrosion science in 1675. These papers – Of the Mechanical Origin of Corrosiveness and Of the Mechanical Origin of Corrosibility – detailed notes of experiments, mostly undertaken with Robert Hooke between 1654 and 1668 and beyond when Boyle moved to London.

However, despite Boyle introducing corrosion as a science, it wasn’t until the 1830s that the economic consequences of corrosion became apparent. Consequently, in 1837, the British Association for the Advancement of Science offered grants to those studying the action of water and temperature on wrought iron. It was around this time that the potential for profiting from anti-corrosive processes and coatings was first established.

Advances in corrosion protection

Largely because of the financial potential of lengthening the life of corrosive metals, anti-corrosive inventions flowed reasonably quickly in the ensuing years. These included:

  • 1837: Galvanisation of puddled iron, invented by H. W. Cranford in England
  • 1840: Silver electroplating, invented by George E. Elkington and H. Elkington
  • 1869: Nickel electroplating, invented in the United States
  • 1878: Hit-dip tinning, patented by Morewood in England
  • 1906: Phosphating, invented by T. W. Coslett
  • 1923: Anodised aluminium, invented by Guy D. Bengough and J. M. Stuart in England

The rise of corrosion resistant alloys

As well as protecting corrosive metals, corrosion science sought to develop new corrosion-resistant alloys. This branch of corrosion science – the deliberate addition of elements to steel to enhance resistance to corrosion – was pioneered by Michael Faraday in 1819.

Faraday was inspired to find a non-corrosive alloy by the observation that meteorites did not rust. These meteorites contain 8% nickel.

However, Faraday’s main conviction was in the research of electromagnetic induction, and so he did not continue his alloy experimentations. It wasn’t until 1931, when Robert Hadfield was examining Faraday’s notes and experiments, that the scientific community realised that the steel alloy age could have started half a century earlier – if only Faraday had pursued his findings.

The timeline of corrosion-resistant alloys includes these two significant discoveries/inventions:

  • 1905: Albert Portevin observed that steels with a chromium content of more than 10% are resistant to attack by common reagents
  • 1912-1914: Stainless steels were developed in England and Germany

Electrochemistry, hydrometallurgy, and corrosion science

The electrochemical nature of corrosion is one of the most experimented and discussed aspects of corrosion science. The first record of this theory is found in a paper published by French chemist Louis Jacques Thenard in 1819. Developments after this came as follows:

  • 1824: Humphrey Davy first proposed cathodic protection principles.
  • 1830: Swiss physicist Auguste de la Rive attributed rapid attack by acid on impure zinc to the electrochemical interaction between the zinc and the impurities.
  • 1834: Faraday provided evidence of the connection between chemical action and electrical currents.
  • 1907: The function of oxygen as a cathodic stimulator was recognised by Walker, Cederholm and Bent when developing theories of corrosion by neutral liquids.
  • 1908: In Germany, Heyn and Bauer found that attack on iron is stimulated by contact with a nobler metal, while contact with a baser metal offered protection against corrosion.
  • 1924: Whitman and Russell discovered that corrosion is often intensified when a small anode is connected to a large cathode.

The connection between corrosion and hydrometallurgical processes was first made in the late 1880s, when John Stewart MacArthur discovered the cyanidation process for leaching gold from its ores. However, it wasn’t until many decades later that the process was shown to be an electrochemical one. In 1947, P.F. Thompson demonstrated that by developing a galvanic cell on a gold particle, oxygen on the surface was reduced. This acts as a cathode, while the gold dissolving away acts as an anode. Thus, many hydrometallurgical processes are, in fact, electrochemical processes.

Acid is replaced by oxygen as a main protagonist of corrosion

It wasn’t until the early 1900s that oxygen’s status as a main protagonist of corrosion was established. Until then, it was generally held that acidic conditions were mostly responsible for corrosion of metals. This was specifically assumed in the corrosion of iron, which was assumed to only take place when carbonic acid was present.

In 1905, this false assumption was disproved when it was found that iron exposed to water and oxygen, without the presence of carbon dioxide, was subject to corrosion. Though the presence of acid does accelerate some types of corrosion, it is now understood that water and oxygen are the chief corrosion agents in most natural environments.

This advance in understanding wasn’t entirely revolutionary, however. Many scientists had noted the effect that different concentrations of oxygen have on corrosion. These observations by scientists included:

  • 1830: Marianini, in Italy
  • 1845: Aldi, in England
  • 1889: Warburg, in Germany
  • 1908: Kistiaknwosky, in Russia

Further experimentation confirmed that oxygen concentration is an important factor for corrosion scientists to consider. These included experiments by Aston in the United States in 1916, and by U.R. Evans and others in England between 1922 and 1934. U.R. Evans in particular played a key role in establishing contemporary understanding of corrosion processes and is often referred to as ‘the father of corrosion science’. An award in his name is presented annually by the Institute of Corrosion.

Inhibiting corrosion

As corrosion science improved and developed, it was discovered that covering the anodic or cathodic parts of a metal with certain soluble substances stopped corrosion. These substances came to be called inhibitors. Polish scientist Chyzewski classified these into anodic and cathodic inhibitors.

Much of the experimentation in this area has helped to develop inhibitive paint, mechanically-excluding paints, and zinc-dust coatings. The need for different types of coatings was established by John Samuel Forest in England in 1930.

As with all branches of corrosion science, our understanding of coatings is continually evolving and this is reflected in the continuous development of coating and inspection training.

Corrosion science – a rich history with an exciting future

Like the spectrum of scientific knowledge, corrosion science continues to develop and advance. The brightest and most innovative minds will help all industries to accommodate corrosion in their long-term strategic thinking and everyday plans.

The Institute of Corrosion was specifically set up in May 1959 with the objectives to “disseminate technical information about corrosion matters and to develop by means of social activities, the free interchange of information among members.” Further, the objectives included to “progress towards the establishment and acceptance of suitable qualifications for corrosion engineers, and a promotion of standardization in the terminology and techniques of corrosion control.

These objectives remain encapsulated in our core values today.

One of the aims of our Young Engineer Programme (YEP) is to ensure that early career members of the Institute of Corrosion benefit from prestigious training initiatives. To learn more about the Young Engineer Programme, visit our YEP pages or email the Institute of Corrosion at admin@icorr.org.

Cathodic Protection, Training, Assessment and Certification Courses are now compliant with BS EN ISO 15257: 2017

This International Certification Scheme evaluates the competence levels of cathodic protection personnel in accordance with BS EN ISO 15257:2017.  ICorr offers the following courses to provide the necessary training for the Certification Levels.  The award of Certification is based on both the training and the experience of the candidate

Courses Schedule 2019

  • Cathodic Protection Data Collector/Tester On-Land Metallic Structure – Level 1: Coming in July 2019
  • Cathodic Protection Technician On-Land Metallic Structure Level 2 location: IMechE ARL Training Centre Sheffield: W/C 20th May 29th July, 9th Sept, 11th November
  • Cathodic Protection Senior Technician On-Land Metallic Structure Level 3 Location: IMechE ARL Training Centre Sheffield: W/C: 24th June 26th Aug 28th October
  • Cathodic Protection Technician Reinforce Concrete Level 2 Location: IMechE ARL Training Centre Sheffield: W/C: 2nd September
  • Cathodic Protection Senior Technician Reinforce Concrete Level 3 Location; Sheffield: TBA
  • Cathodic Protection Technician Marine Metallic Structure Level 2 Location: Dover W/C: 17 June More TBA: East Coast and Scotland
  • Cathodic Protection Senior Technician Marine Metallic Structure Marine Level 3 Expected July on wards TBA: East Coast, South Coast and Scotland

Please click our conferences and events to see more on the courses date below: https://www.icorr.org/events/2019-05/

Course and examination enquiries

For more information regarding the course please contact our training partner IMechE Argyll Ruane

Tel: +44 (0)114 399 5720 or

Email: argyllruane@imeche.org

For Steel in Concrete the CPA http://www.corrosionprevention.org.uk/training-courses

Certification enquiries

For all queries regarding Certification and Re-Certification please access the Institute of Corrosion web site: https://www.icorr.org/cathodic-protection-training   All Certification and Re-Certification Application Forms along with Guidance Notes can be downloaded from this page.

If you need any specific assistance please contact the Institute of Corrosion at Corrosion House at Tel:  + 44 (0)1604 438222 or Email: admin@icorr.org

Cathodic Protection Data Collector/Tester – On-Land Metallic Structures Level 1

Cathodic Protection Data Collector/ Tester – On-Land Metallic Structures (Buried) Level 1

This course is in development and is anticipated to be rolled out in Q1 of 2020.

 

Why attend this course?

The course and examination are in compliance with ISO 15257:2017 and are suitable for candidates with no previous experience in cathodic protection.  The course is also suitable for those who merely require an appreciation of Cathodic Protection of On-land Applications (underground metallic structures) without pursuing certification.

Course Content
  • Corrosion basics
  • Health and safety
  • Corrosion prevention
  • CP general principles and specific applications in soils;
  • CP measurement techniques;
  • CP Criteria;
  • touch potentials;
  • buried onshore pipelines;
  • Monitoring;
  • Fault finding.

 The topics of this course are fully set out and described in ISO 15257 Clause 6. The rules governing training, examination and certification are set out in ICorr Qualification Procedure Document.

Course Details and Price

Course details

Duration: 2 Day Course & Half Day Exam

Price
(excl. VAT)

£970 (£595 Course & £375 Exam)

Certification enquiries

For all queries regarding Certification and Re-Certification please access the Institute of Corrosion web site: https://www.icorr.org/cathodic-protection-training   All Certification and Re-Certification Application Forms along with Guidance Notes can be downloaded from this page.

If you need any specific assistance please contact the Institute of Corrosion at Corrosion House at Tel:  + 44 (0)1604 438222 or Email: admin@icorr.org

Cathodic Protection Technician–On-Land Metallic Structures – Level 2

Cathodic Protection Technician-On-Land Metallic Structures (Buried) Level 2

Why attend this course?

The course and examination are in compliance with ISO 15257:2017 and are suitable for candidates with or without experience in cathodic protection. Please note that full certification to the level requires a minimum duration of 1 year’s approved experience.  The course is also suitable for those who merely require an appreciation of Cathodic Protection of Buried Applications (underground and immersed metallic structures) without pursuing certification.

Course Content

The following topics are relevant to this application sector:

  • CP general principles and specific applications in soils and waters;
  • CP measurement techniques;
  • protection against corrosion by stray current from direct current systems;
  • interference alternating current and direct current;
  • touch potentials.

 This application sector includes, for example, the following:

  • buried onshore pipelines;
  • sections of onshore pipelines crossing rivers, lakes or short lengths of sea;
  • landfalls of offshore pipelines protected by an onshore CP system;
  • buried tanks;
  • bottoms (external side) of above-ground tanks;
  • complex structures
  • well casings;
  • buried plant modules.
Course Details and Price

Course details

Duration: 5 days

Price
(excl. VAT)

TBC

Special note

The topics of this course are fully set out and described in ISO 15257 Clause 6. The rules governing training, examination and certification are set out in ICorr QPD.

Certification enquiries

For all queries regarding Certification and Re-Certification please access the Institute of Corrosion web site: https://www.icorr.org/cathodic-protection-training   All Certification and Re-Certification Application Forms along with Guidance Notes can be downloaded from this page.

If you need any specific assistance please contact the Institute of Corrosion at Corrosion House at Tel:  + 44 (0)1604 438222 or Email: admin@icorr.org

Senior Cathodic Protection Technician – On-Land Metallic Structures Level 3

Senior Cathodic Protection Technician – On-Land Metallic Structures (Buried) Level 3

Why attend this course?

The course and examination are in compliance with ISO 15257:2017 and are suitable for candidates with the requisite qualifying experience.  The course is suitable for those who took the Level 2 training course and those who merely require an appreciation of the cathodic protection of Buried Applications (Underground and Immersed Metallic Structures) at this higher level without pursuing certification.

Course Content

The following topics are relevant to this application sector:

  • CP general principles and specific applications in soils and waters;
  • CP measurement techniques;
  • protection against corrosion by stray current from direct current systems;
  • interference alternating current and direct current;
  • touch potentials.

 This application sector includes, for example, the following:

  • buried onshore pipelines;
  • sections of onshore pipelines crossing rivers, lakes or short lengths of sea;
  • landfalls of offshore pipelines protected by an onshore CP system;
  • buried tanks;
  • bottoms (external side) of above-ground tanks;
  • complex structures
  • well casings;
  • buried plant modules.

 The topics of this course are fully set out and described in ISO 15257 Clause 6. The rules governing training, examination and certification are set out in ICorr QPD.

Course Details and Price

Course details

Duration: 5 days

Price
(excl. VAT)

TBC

Special note

Applicants must hold either ICorr Level 2 Cathodic Protection Technician – Buried Applications (Underground and Immersed Metallic Structures) Certificate or, where the applicant does not hold this certification, have at least 1 year approved experience and attended the Level 2 training course or satisfies the educational and experience requirements set out in ICorr QPD.

Certification enquiries

For all queries regarding Certification and Re-Certification please access the Institute of Corrosion web site: https://www.icorr.org/cathodic-protection-training   All Certification and Re-Certification Application Forms along with Guidance Notes can be downloaded from this page.

If you need any specific assistance please contact the Institute of Corrosion at Corrosion House at Tel:  + 44 (0)1604 438222 or Email: admin@icorr.org

Cathodic Protection Technician – Marine Metallic Structures Level 2

Cathodic Protection Technician – Marine Metallic Structures Level 2 

Why attend this course?

This course is designed to prepare individuals for the ICorr Painting Inspector Level 1 examination. The course is suitable for candidates with or without experience in industrial painting or inspection and will also be applicable to those who require a knowledge of painting inspection but do not wish to take an examination. Most of the paint systems used in industry are addressed plus an awareness is given of other coating systems used for anti-corrosion reasons.

Course Content

The following topics are relevant to this application sector:

  • CP general principles
  • CP measurement techniques
  • specific applications in seawater and marine sediments.

 This application sector includes, for example, the following:

  • ships (external hulls and ballast tanks)
  • CP measurement techniques
  • fixed offshore structures (platforms, jackets, monopiles, offshore windfarms, tension leg platforms, etc.)
  • floating structures (buoys, semi-submersible platforms, floating production storage and offloading structures (FPSO)
  • underwater structures (well heads, manifolds, piping)
  • coastal and offshore pipelines, risers
  • landfall of offshore pipelines protected by an offshore CP system
  • harbour facilities, piers, jetties and lock gates.

 The topics of this course are fully set out and described in ISO 15257 Clause 6. The rules governing training, examination and certification are set out in ICorr QPD.

Course Details and Price

Course details

Duration: 5 days

Price
(excl. VAT)

TBC

 

Certification enquiries

For all queries regarding Certification and Re-Certification please access the Institute of Corrosion web site: https://www.icorr.org/cathodic-protection-training   All Certification and Re-Certification Application Forms along with Guidance Notes can be downloaded from this page.

If you need any specific assistance please contact the Institute of Corrosion at Corrosion House at Tel:  + 44 (0)1604 438222 or Email: admin@icorr.org