ICorr London November Meeting – National Physical Laboratory Visit

Date:- Thursday 14 November 2019


In change to our normal Meeting ICorr London has arranged for an industrial visit to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) Teddington this November.

This will give us the opportunity to see a presentation on the work that NPL does (presented by James Hesketh, former winner of the YEP) before a tour of the facilities. This will be followed by refreshments and the opportunity to network and ask further questions.



18:00 – Arrival at NPL
18:30 – Presentation on NPL work and questions – James Hesketh (Previous YEP attendee)
19:00 – Tour of NPL
20:00 – Refreshment and Networking

Directions to NPL:-


National Physical Laboratory
Hampton Road
TW11 0LW

We are a disability-friendly site, but if you require any reasonable adjustments to be made prior to your visit or have any questions please contact us.

Public transport

Buses: 33, 281, 285, 481, R68 and X26 all serve Teddington.
Please note that local buses do not accept cash. See the TfL website for accepted payment methods.

Trains: Regular services connect Teddington with London Waterloo in approximately 30 minutes.

From Heathrow: Routes 285, and the faster X26 both connect Teddington with Heathrow Airport. A taxi journey will take approximately 30 minutes.



Your London ICorr Committee

Local Branch News – London Branch

The branch has found a new venue for its technical meetings – The Lancaster Hall hotel, 35 Craven Terrace London, W2 3EL. This well-appointed conference/meeting centre will be ideal, and the hotel is only a 300 metre walk from Lancaster Gate underground station (Central Line) or 5 minutes from Paddington station (main line, Bakerloo, Hammersmith & City, Circle and District lines).

Generally the meetings will be held on Thursdays, but for the first meeting in 2020, this will be on Wednesday 8th January, starting at 18.00. Full details will be posted on the Institute website.

The London Branch 31st Christmas Luncheon will be held on the 5th December at the Royal Overseas League, Park Place, St James’s St, London SW1A 1LR, starting at 11.30. For further details, and information on how to get there, see the announcement on the Institute website, and to reserve a place, contact, Steve Barke on sjbarke55@gmail.com

London Branch Joint Meeting with the Society of Chemical Industry

John T O’Shea Chairing the meeting

This Season’s 1st Technical Meeting of the London Branch was held on Thursday 26th September. This was a Joint Meeting with the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) at their Headquarter’s newly refurbished auditorium in Belgravia. By coincidence, this was the location where ICorr S&T was formed and was the base of the Headquarters for a number of years. The late David Deacon also had offices here. The audience of over 70, included Professor Ken Grattan, OBE, FREng, who is the Dean of the Graduate School at City, University of London and who agreed to give the Vote of Thanks. Also present was Gareth Hinds of NPL, President of ICorr and Dr Richard Morrison, President of BeBC.

Professor Ken Grattan, OBE, FREng

The Evening Chairman, John T O’Shea, introduced Dr Fred Parrett, Hon Treasurer of the SCI London Group, who gave the first presentation on the laying of the first Transatlantic Telegraph Cables.

The electric telegraph was first developed by Samuel F. B. Morse, in 1832, who developed Morse Code. Land based cables to use the telegraph soon followed, and within a decade, more than 20,000 miles of telegraph cable criss-crossed the USA and the UK and Europe. Trials of underwater cable were undertaken by Samuel Morse across New York Harbour in 1842 and Charles Wheatstone across Swansea Bay in 1844. In 1851 a cable crossed the English Channel.

The problems of laying a cable across the Atlantic were a greater challenge, not just the technical and logistical problems, but financing such a great undertaking. The first attempt in 1857 failed when the cable broke, and could not be recovered. New finance was arranged and in Aug 1858 they succeeded, when the first transatlantic telegraph message was transmitted. Unfortunately the cable failed after only three weeks, it is thought due to breakdown of the cable insulation when voltages of a few thousand volts were used to try and speed up transmission speed.

It took another 7 years before new finance was arranged and improved cable designs were developed for the next attempt. For this Brunel’s ship the Great Eastern was acquired, the largest ship in the world, In 1865 it almost succeeded, starting in Valentia Bay , Ireland it reached 600 miles from Newfoundland when the cable again broke. The final success came one year later in August 1866 when the cable finally crossed the Atlantic and permanent telegraph communication established. The 1866 transatlantic cable could transfer 8 words a minute, and initially it cost $100 to send 10 words. $100 translates to about $1,340 today, mainly used by the British and American governments and large corporations.

Dr Fred Parrett giving presentation on the laying of the first Transatlantic Telegraph Cables

The second presentation was given by Trevor Osborne, a Past President of ICorr and a Past Chairman of London Branch, on 50 Years of Oil and Gas Offshore Corrosion Control Experience and Transfer of Technology to Offshore Renewables.

Development of offshore structure corrosion control in the North Sea, and all around the world, has been on going for decades, in fact close to 50 years and possibly longer in some parts. Given this long experience corrosion engineers rightly considered that all aspects of barrier coatings and cathodic protection were honed to a fine art and as a result one system followed another with great success, in fact Trevor has been involved in many offshore structure designs with responsibility for painting, coating, CP, biocides, inhibitors and other aspects of corrosion control. However the fabrication and installation of new offshore structures in the oil and gas market has declined greatly and that work load has in part been replaced by the upsurge in renewable energy requirements. Specifically the replacement workload has been in offshore wind generation in the form of monopiles, transition pieces and substation fixed jackets. All exposed parts of each structure need to be addressed from a corrosion perspective if the asset is to be protected and the lifetime met.

The presentation walked through the period of time from early offshore structure design and construction for the oil and gas markets to the painful transition to wind energy, including the attendant problems that have occurred along the way and what should have been an easy transformation but often times was not.

Trevor Osborne giving presentation on 50 Years of Oil and Gas Offshore Corrosion Control Experience and Transfer of Technology to Offshore Renewables.

Cathodic protection,using impressed current systems have proved to be the most suitable and effective method of corrosion protection. This is now the preferred system for all off-shore wind farm constructions.

London Branch News

The next meeting of the branch is a joint meeting with Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), being held at the SCI offices, 14/15 Belgrave Square, London, on 26 September at 17.30. The theme of the evening is “Offshore Energy and Telegraph Cables” and will be chaired by John O’Shea, Hon Life Fellow, ICorr.
Dr Fred Parrett, SCI London Group, will present the story of the first transatlantic telegraph cable, the story of how it happened and the personalities involved. The second presentation will be by Trevor Osborne, a Past President of ICorr, who will discuss the problems which occurred with the installation of offshore wind farm towers, and how, what should have been an easy transition from the early offshore oil and gas platforms, often was not.
Places are limited, so register your interest at http://bit.ly/Offshore_Energy, or email conferences@soci.org
The branch is still looking for a new home for the 19/20 evening meetings, and full details will be emailed to regular branch attendees, and posted on the Institute website once the venue is known.

London Branch AGM

London Branch AGM

The branch AGM was held in March, which was followed by the “President’s talk”. The chairman, Paul Brook, reviewed the activities of the branch over the past year and noted that we had had excellent presentations. The Treasurer, Jim Glynn, announced that again our finances were in good shape, and that surplus monies will be returned to head office.  Paul then asked if any members wanted to join the committee, and confirmed that existing members were happy to serve for another year.   Paul also informed the meeting that the branch is close to completing a venue move from Imperial College, Kensington to the IMechE offices in Bird Cage Walk, Westminster.  This should be a great home for London branch future technical talks, which will restart following the summer recess in October, on the second Thursday of the month as usual. More details will be available on Institute web site in due course.

Gareth Hinds then presented his views on  the future of the Institute, and discussed ways we could adapt to changes, including environmental challenges, the rise of digital communications, and how to encourage more young engineers to join the Institute, and how to support them. This generated a lot of discussion and interesting suggestions.

The April meeting, the last of this season, was joint with The Welding Institute, and was given by Alan Denney of TWI, on the subject of “High tensile steel bolts and nuts: hydrogen embrittlement and failure in corrosive environments.’

Alan started by talking about the failure of threaded components used as shear connectors for earthquake resistance on the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge, which has been well documented in the technical press in the USA. These galvanised rods (in ASTM A354 grade BD steel) were pre-installed in 2008 in the supporting piers to the bridge superstructure which are above the water level. The superstructure was assembled and in 2013 the rod connectors were pre-tensioned hydraulically to 70% of UTS. A number of these suffered brittle failure, the published cause of which was that the rods failed due to hydrogen embrittlement arising from stress corrosion cracking.

Alan then proceeded to explain the conditions required for stress corrosion cracking, namely a combination of a susceptible material, a source of the hydrogen,  and tensile strength above a threshold value. He explained that the hydrogen could be either from internal sources in manufacture, or from an external source. The potential sources in manufacturing include hydrogen retained from steelmaking or hydrogen resulting from pickling of the components prior to coating. The external source would result from corrosion, the hydrogen being generated by the cathodic reaction. He explained that failures can occur in nuts as well as the bolts or threaded rods, and that in galvanized components
the zinc acts as a barrier to the outward diffusion of any trapped hydrogen.

Failures of structural bolts have a long history. Alan mentioned that his first encounter with bolts failing from hydrogen embrittlement was in the 1970s on a television transmission tower, with failures occurring in V grade and Y grade bolts on cold nights; the bolts being found on the ground in the morning, and his most recent experience of a failure was a few weeks before this talk. Apart from in transmission towers, such failures have also occurred in the recent past on prestigious building structures, and in offshore wind turbine towers. Recent occurrences known to Alan have been in large diameter high tensile bolts, generally in bolt grades 10.9 and above. He explained that there was a relationship with hardness of the fasteners (both bolt and nut), and covered recommendations in standards such as those published by DNV-GL for offshore wind turbine structures, which limit the highest strength grade to 10.9. He discussed the typical crack morphologies associated with hydrogen embrittlement and how the fracture surface could be ‘read’.

Alan then discussed some of the metallurgical aspects in bolt and nut materials and the recommendations and findings of work carried out by the Deutscher Schraubenverband (DSV) in relation to the desirable elements in the composition, and their proposed limits on chemical composition. He presented some findings from DSV on the failure thresholds in 10.9 bolts under ASTM F1624 test conditions with different coating types and then finished by summarising the findings:

n There is a risk of stress corrosion cracking with the use of fasteners with a UTS > 1000 N/mm2 in a corrosive or marine environment.

n The much-quoted guideline of 380 Hv as the threshold for stress corrosion cracking is not conservative, notably when there is a risk of external corrosion, even during temporary conditions.

n Controls which will improve their performance in marginal situations can be put in place for the bolt materials, their heat treatment and metallurgical controls, their coating systems and application, and their quality control and testing requirements .

However the main means of avoidance of SCC is to control the environment.

There was a lively question and answer session, with interesting contributions from the audience and the meeting was closed with a vote of thanks and a presentation to
the speaker.

Offshore Energy and Telegraph Cables

Organised by SCI’s London Group and the Institute of Corrosion – London Branch
The Evening Chair will be John T O’Shea, Hon ICorr Life Fellow

Thursday 26 September 2019, 17:30 for 18:00
SCI, 14/15 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8PS, UK

Book today! Free registration
E: conferences@soci.org
T: +44 (0)20 7598 1561

This evening event includes two presentations, followed by a networking reception at 19:30. Attendance to this
event is free of charge, however places are limited. Please register today by visiting: http://bit.ly/Offshore_Energy
The event is open to SCI, ICorr, IOM3, LMS, and TWI members and guests.

Please click link below for details of the event:

Offshore Energy and Telegraph Cables – flyer