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Home  > Raw materials & technologies  > Applications  > Protective & Marine coatings  > Combating corrosion in demanding environments

Thursday, 19 September 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Applications, Protective & Marine coatings

Combating corrosion in demanding environments

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

A new collaborative research project could help to dramatically reduce the impact that surface degradation processes such as corrosion and wear have on industry worldwide.

Combating corrosion in demanding environments. Source: University of Manchester

Combating corrosion in demanding environments. Source: University of Manchester

Corrosion and wear processes have very significant societal, economic and safety implications for industry. From tools and machinery to oil pipes, platforms and refineries, many industrial assets are susceptible to these surface degradation problems. This is especially true when they’re exposed to demanding environments that the oil and gas sector encounters.

Outdated industrial practices

According to NACE International, it is estimated that the global annual costs related to corrosion alone are greater than US-$2 trillion. Despite this large economic impact, the fundamental processes of corrosion are poorly understood and industry relies on field experience for its management. "Although there have been impressive strides in the empirical understanding of corrosion, many of the underpinning assumptions and industrial practices date back decades", said Professor Philip Withers, Regius Professor at the University of Manchester and Principal Investigator on the project.

Preventing surface degradation

But this could all change with the multimillion pound research project "Preventing Surface Degradation in Demanding Environments"  funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It brings together world class researchers from BP, the University of Manchester, Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge, who already work together on corrosion research through the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials, plus additional expertise from the Universities of Edinburgh and Leeds.

Insight into corrosion scales

Professor Withers added: "By harnessing the latest advances in computer modelling, atomic level in-situ experimental techniques and in-operando imaging and characterisation; this programme will focus on understanding corrosion scales and localised corrosion. Simply put, we aim to decipher the fundamental mechanisms that cause corrosion so that we can combat it more effectively in the future.”

Development of new materials

Dr Angelo Amorelli, BP’s Technology Vice President of Group Research said: "BP has identified surface degradation as a high priority area for future research. We hope to extend the safe operational lifetimes of current materials and develop new materials which will ultimately be of great benefit to multiple industrial sectors.”

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