The Young Engineer Programme once again displayed its adaptability as for its June meeting it adopted a new format for the online presentation, and welcomed the host Trevor Osborne for a discussion on cathodic protection.
The former President of ICorr and Managing Director of Deepwater Corrosion Services, with over 40 years of experience in oil and gas, shared his knowledge and specialised understanding in the new look presentation.
The adapted format saw the usual three-hour presentation replaced with it being sent a week in advance to the delegates. Trevor talked about corrosion, and the importance of the Galvanic Series, types of CP, standards and their importance, testing and inspection, failures and Field Joint Coatings.
Among other talking points, Trevor highlighted how electrical isolation in cathodic protection offers three main benefits, as it restricts the required protective current to the surface of the primary structure to produce a uniform polarised level of protection. It also minimises stray DC current interference and prevents galvanic current between metallic structures.
It was the decision to send the presentation to delegates in advance that proved to be the biggest revelation of the evening though, as it allowed questions to be prepared for the following Q&A session, with answers fielded by Trevor and collated by Principal Engineer at INTECSEA, Anthony Setiadi.
The knowledge displayed in the questions showcased the level of understanding within the industry with many of the questions prompting detailed answers from Trevor that caused him to draw from much of his considerable experience in the industry.
“I was extremely encouraged by the response from all of our delegates,” said Trevor Osborne when reflecting on the evening’s presentation. “and it shows the incredible level of interest and knowledge that the young people have within the industry. The future is certainly bright.”
Fire Protection / Cryogenic Spill – Dr Simon Thurlbeck
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.
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?
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.