Young Engineer Programme (YEP)

ICorr’s Young Engineer Programme once again broke new ground as it held its first ever meeting online in May, for the reveal of its 2020 case study.

The grand surroundings of the Royal Over-Seas League might have been replaced with the homespun comforts of participants’ living rooms, but the content of the meeting remained as topical as ever with Steve Paterson from Arbeadie Consultants Ltd presenting the 2020 case study for the seven participating groups.

Focusing on an onshore titanium pipe corrosion failure, Steve described a scenario where several leaks were experienced in the piping at an onshore glycol desalination plant that required further investigation, giving the participants plenty to think about ahead of presenting their findings in November.

As an experienced technical expert with a deep knowledge of subsea engineering and corrosion management systems, Steve’s puzzling scenario ensured that the 32 participating young engineers – representing 19 companies, each with a wide and interesting variety of specialist backgrounds – had plenty to discuss on the evening.

The young engineer’s broad set of specialities include mechanical and materials engineering, welding, materials and more. These were all put to the test when discussing the desalination plant, which is used to periodically remove the salts from mono-ethylene glycol, used for hydration and corrosion control in gas pipelines from three offshore fields.

With the help of a mentor assigned to assist each group, the young engineers were posed with problems at the end of the presentation. These included proposing root causes for the defect, how to perform a corrosion risk assessment to determine if the plant is safe to operate, suggesting alternative materials, and identifying what mitigation options could be applied to prolong the service life of this section of the desalination plant, among others.

The YEP has been running for a number of years and delivers a technical competency framework that’s consistent with the Institute of Corrosion’s professional standards, to help prepare graduates for entry into the industry with a broad range of knowledge. As well as providing an opportunity to network with likeminded professionals, the programme also offers participants a stepping stone into the industry, and is the first stage in achieving MICorr and CEng status.

In what might be the first of many online meetings, the evening ran according to schedule, although participants and guests had to make their own tea and coffee during the scheduled break. Prior to that though they were entertained by Tim Evans, Caroline Allanach and Danny Burkle who offered a reflection on their 2018 winning case study.

Caroline and Danny discussed how they approached the case study and the fantastic resulting prize of a trip to the 2019 NACE Conference in Nashville, while Tim provided a critical assessment of their reaction and solution to the failure that occurred.

The case study was concluded by a series of questions and answers, before Trevor Osborne from Deepwater Corrosion Services brought the first ever online YEP meeting to a close with a message of thanks. The participants will attend four more lectures before reconvening in November to present their case study.

You Can’t Keep Innovative Young Engineers Down

You Can’t Keep Innovative Young Engineers Down

Could you solve this case study and become a big winner?

The young engineers in the Institute of Corrosion’s Young Engineer Programme are an innovative bunch. There was no way that the coronavirus lockdown and curtailing of mass gatherings was going to stop them in their tracks.

Instead of in the elegant Royal Over-Seas League club in London, these intrepid young engineers gathered around their computer screens at home to learn of the 2020 Case Study that will be used to determine which group of young engineers will be the winners of this year’s star prize. It was the first time that an ICorr Young Engineers group had met online, but was so successful that it is unlikely to be the last.

2018’s Winning Young Engineers group whet appetites for success

With an appraisal of their winning case study from 2018, Caroline Allanach, Danny Burkle and Tim Evans whet the appetites for success of the young engineers in attendance online during the evening.

The insight they provided as to how they approached their task, and a critical assessment of their reaction and solution to the failure that occurred was both informative and entertaining. So, too, was their description of the prize they won – a tremendous trip to the 2019 NACE Conference in Nashville.

A corrosion conundrum is this year’s case study

There are seven participating groups in this year’s Young Engineer Programme case study, and they have been given quite a conundrum to unravel.

The case study was presented by Steve Paterson, from Arbeadie Consultants Ltd., who has a career of corrosion experience to draw on. He hasn’t made it easy for this year’s programme participants. Here is the scenario he has set:

  • Several leaks have been identified in the titanium piping in an onshore desalination plant
  • This plant is used to remove salts from mono-ethylene glycol
  • The plant is also used for hydration and corrosion control in gas pipelines from three offshore fields

At the end of the presentation, the 32 young engineers were posed with the problems they must work to overcome, which include:

  • How to perform a corrosion risk assessment to determine that the plant is safe to operate
  • Recommending alternative materials to use
  • Identifying what mitigation options could be used to prolong the life of this section of the desalination plant
  • Identifying the root cause of the corrosion

Online meetings can get lively!

The young engineers in this year’s intake come from 19 companies, and their specialities include mechanical and materials engineering, welding, materials, and more. With such diversity, you might expect a lively meeting when in a meeting room. It was hard to know what to expect online, though.

The discussions that followed the presentation of the case study proved that no matter how we get together, when there’s an interesting and provocative scenario put forward, online events can be just as lively as in-person meetings.

The range of experience and specialties were certainly put to the test, and the question and answer session proved to be the first opportunity for ideas and complexities to be explored.

In brief, a fruitful, useful and exciting meeting, aptly brought to a close by Trevor Osborne, a past President of the Institute of Corrosion, and Managing Director of Deepwater Corrosion services (UK) Ltd.

The big wait begins!

And so, the big wait begins. It will be several months before we learn which group of young engineers will be this year’s winner.

The groups now undertake further investigation, collaborating behind the scenes and aided by four more lectures, and the help of a mentor assigned to each group, before presenting their case studies in November.

Could you be a future winner in the Young Engineer Programme?

Watch this space! The Young Engineer Programme is held biannually. To learn how you could become a winner, visit our YEP pages or email the Institute of Corrosion at admin@icorr.org.

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.

What Will You Be Doing on World Corrosion Awareness Day?

What Will You Be Doing on World Corrosion Awareness Day?

Make 24th April a family day to remember

Friday 24th April is World Corrosion Awareness Day. This year, it will be a little different. We’re battling coronavirus, and many of you reading this will be in lockdown. You’ll be stuck indoors with little to do. By now, your children might be driving you insane.

This year’s World Corrosion Awareness Day is a great opportunity to relieve some of the tedium – and for households to do their bit in the battle against the devastating effects of corrosion.

Though the world is on hold, corrosion isn’t

Even when corrosion engineers aren’t locked in their homes, corrosion works to destroy our world. When we ignore corrosion control in infrastructure and transport, the result is often a human catastrophe. When bridges collapse and airplanes break apart, people lose their lives.

Eventually (hopefully soon), we will beat coronavirus. When the pandemic is a distant memory, corrosion will still be costing lives and money. Which is why engineers and scientists will continue to develop strategies, tools, and techniques to fight back against corrosion.

Here at the Institute of Corrosion, our aims include increasing awareness of corrosion, improving corrosion education, and sharing our expertise with the world. So, with World Corrosion Awareness Day in mind – and understanding how different the day will be for pretty much everyone on the planet this year – in this blog you’ll learn how to conduct a simple experiment to keep your kids amused and help them learn more about the world in which we live.

Amaze your children with a simple corrosion experiment

Here’s a little interactive experiment you can do with your kids to show the effects of corrosion, and just how quickly corrosion happens. You’ll need three clean jars, some water, some oil, some Epsom salts, and three clean steel nails. Here’s what to do:

  1. Pour some Epsom salts into the first jar, and drop a nail onto the Epsom salts. Screw the lid onto the jar.
  2. Pour some boiled water that has been cooled into the second jar. Drop a nail into the water, and then cover the water with oil. Put the lid on the jar.
  3. Pour non-boiled water into the third jar, and drop a nail into it. Screw the lid on the jar.

Explain to your children that:

  • The first jar is air but no water. The Epsom salts draw any moisture out of the air in the jar, so it is very dry.
  • In the second jar, the nail is in water, but there is no air because the oil prevents the air from combining with the water. You boiled the water to remove as much air from it as possible.
  • In the third jar, water and air can get to the nail.

After a few days, your children will notice that the steel nails in the first two jars have not corroded. In the third jar, the steel nail will have started to rust. This shows that both air and water are necessary for steel to rust.

Corrosion-proof your home on World Corrosion Awareness Day

Now that you have taught your children how metal corrodes, it’s time to teach them how to prevent corrosion. This is your chance to keep them busy on World Corrosion Awareness Day (and beyond).

Your children know that it takes air and water for metal to corrode. Ask them what items around the home – including in your shed, your garden, and your driveway – are metal. Lead them through to the discovery that painted metal items are protected against air and water.

Ask your children if they want your garden benches and tables to corrode. Buckets and spades, garden fences and gates, door handles, and so on. Lead them on a hunt around the house and garden to find metal items that are not coated or painted, or that have been affected by rust.

Then, supervise your children as they clean and dry metal items, removing any corrosion, and painting items with anticorrosive paint.

This year’s World Corrosion Awareness Day is the perfect opportunity to teach your children about corrosion and get them involved in doing all those anticorrosion jobs you have been promising to do for months. Family time with a real end-product – beautifully painted metal items that are protected against corrosion.

The earlier we promote corrosion awareness, the more likely we are to reduce its human and financial cost. For advanced corrosion prevention training for corrosion professionals, contact the Institute of Corrosion to learn about our latest training initiatives – online and in person.

Prestigious Engineer Training for Young Engineers

Prestigious Engineer Training for Young Engineers

What engineer training is best for young engineers?

Despite the UK government pushing engineering as a career choice in 2018 (the ‘Year of Engineering’), apprenticeship starts fell by 2.5% in engineering and manufacturing technologies between 2017/18 and 2018/19 (House of Commons Library Apprenticeship Statistics). That’s bad news in a sector that is suffering from a skills shortage, and in which it is estimated that 203,000 people with Level 3+ engineering skills will be required each year to 2024 to keep pace with demand.

To combat the skills shortage in UK engineering, it is incumbent on the industry to ensure that young engineers have access to the very best engineer training opportunities. Here at the Institute of Corrosion we are committed to professional development and training, with a particular focus on our early career members.

In this article, you’ll learn more about one of the most prestigious training initiatives for young engineers – the Young Engineer Programme (YEP).

Investing in the future

young engineer training in classroomAt the back end of 2018, IMechE Argyll Ruane noted that ICorr are investing in the future with initiatives that focus on attracting the younger people from our community. It noted the success of Young ICorr, the redevelopment of inspector training, and the new engineer training programmes such as ‘Fundamentals of Corrosion.

The Young Engineer Programme is pivotal in the development of young engineers.

What is the Young Engineer Programme?

Designed for the engineer who has been practicing in industry for a few years but wishes to develop their skills and knowledge more broadly, the Young Engineer Programme is an 11-month programme run every two years.

The 2018 programme reached its climax in November 2018, when teams presented to a judging panel, with the winning team crowned and given its reward – a trip to the NACE Corrosion Conference & Expo 2019.

How could the Young Engineer Programme benefit you?

The Young Engineer Programme provides a threefold process of learning:

  1. Delegates receive a series of lectures from industry experts in a range of subjects. This helps them broaden their own knowledge outside their own specific area of industry.
  2. Delegates then work in ‘project teams’ of four. The objective is to collaborate to discuss a real-world corrosion case study provided by an industry partner and come up with a practical engineering solution.
  3. The teams make a presentation of their findings to a panel of ICorr judges and the winning team gets to attend the NACE Corrosion Conference the following year.

In this way, delegates broaden their knowledge, improve their collaborative and project management skills, and develop their communication skills.

Other benefits of becoming a delegate on the Young Engineer Programme include expansion of your professional network and, of course, a major plus on your CV.

You receive mentoring throughout the Young Engineer Programme

mentoring for young engineersWith the group of young engineers split into teams of four, each team is assigned a dedicated mentor. It is the mentor’s job to ensure that their team stays on track and works as a team. The mentor will make sure that the team answers the questions raised by the case study.

As a delegate, you and your team will meet face-to-face with your mentor during the May to November period of the programme. You’ll also meet with your mentor on Skype, and the mentor can ask the author of the case study any questions that your team may have.

What do delegates say about engineer training during the Young Engineer Programme?

Word gets out when engineer training does what it says on the tin – and then some. Responses from 2018 delegates included:

This programme has altered the way I think about my work and how I carry it out.

I hadn’t realised the value of ICorr and I will go back to work on Monday and encourage them to engage.

A senior engineer in the ICorr fraternity said:

This is probably the most important function in the UK Corrosion calendar, it’s truly fantastic.

How do you join the Young Engineer Programme?

The Young Engineer Programme runs every two years. We open the programme to applicants in the September of the year before the programme starts and email our entire membership about the programme prior to this. We also send personal emails to the engineering community.

The programme has exploded in popularity. In 2018, there were 12 delegates in three teams of four who presented their findings on the case study. The current crop numbers eight teams of four. We expect programme applicant numbers to increase further next time round.

To ensure you learn of the next Young Engineer Programme at the earliest opportunity, we recommend that you become a member of the Institute of Corrosion. There are several grades of membership.

The Young Engineer Programme – a summary

As a ‘cradle to grave’ organisation, we support our members with engineer training throughout their career, from apprenticeship to Chartered Engineer status. Young ICorr (aimed at young professionals aged 35 and under) has an expanding membership base, supported by ICorr initiatives such as our free student membership.

The Young Engineer Programme is an invaluable addition to our training initiatives, helping you to expand your knowledge and network, improve your competencies and capabilities, and add prestigious training and development experience to your CV.

To learn more about the Young Engineer Programme, visit our YEP pages or email the Institute of Corrosion at admin@icorr.org.

YEP 8 January Event

YEP 8 January Event

Young Engineers Programme (YEP)

The latest Young Engineer Programme kicked off on the 8th January and was held at the same venue and time as the London branch meeting.  Bill Hedges gave an introduction to the programme, and a review of YEP 2018 was given by participants Caroline Allanach and Stephen Shapcott, all coordinated by Alan Denney.  This year there are 32 young engineers taking part, compared with 14 in 2018.  This is a clear indication that the industry is healthy and on a growth spurt.

The first talk was given by Dr Jane Lomas, and dealt with the “Basics of Corrosion” as the lead into the series of nine lectures throughout the year. The programme will culminate on 12 November when the YEP candidates will present their solutions to the case study at the London branch meeting at the Royal Overseas.

The young engineers then had time to talk to the established engineers attending the LB meeting over refreshments.