Interview: “I want to ensure that the EFC continues to be successful

Jörg A. Vogelsang, Head of Corporate Analytics & Testing at Sika Technology, has been President of the European Federation of Corrosion (EFC) since January 2021. He has a lot of plans for his two-year term of office.

Jörg A. Vogelsang

What are the tasks of the EFC?

Jörg A. Vogelsang: The federation is a federation of national societies. Almost every European country has its own corrosion research society. The federation has a flagship event: the European Corrosion Congress (Eurocorr) is the largest and most scientifically ambitious conference on corrosion research in Europe, with worldwide appeal.

In 2020, the conference was held virtually due to Corona and was amazingly well attended. This year it is scheduled for September 19-23 in Budapest. Eurocorr is held once a year and has grown significantly over the past few years. Up to 1,500 participants are usually expected. The respective national associations apply and then also host the conference.

The conference sessions are defined by the so-called Working Parties, which include, for example, “Coatings” in general, but also application areas such as nuclear corrosion, oil and gas, microbial corrosion.

The Working Parties consist of members who meet and discuss which joint projects could be started. The national associations can also hold their own smaller events, which are then promoted through the EFC.

What goals have you set for your presidency?

Vogelsang: I would like to achieve that the EFC continues to operate successfully and that Eurocorr remains the world’s leading scientific conference for corrosion protection and research. However, I will also try from within to make the association structure a bit more contemporary. The EFC has always grown and developed in recent years, but the structure has remained the same.

The entire organisation of the Eurocorr conference is handled by the national societies themselves, usually together with a professional conference organisation. We want to turn this around from 2025, there will then be a central and thus more efficient organisation of the Eurocorr. The member societies will still be able to apply as hosts and determine the framework of the event.

What are currently the most important research projects, also with a view to the coating sector?

Vogelsang: The classic coatings, as known from corrosion protection, are no longer the subject of research. Today, these are often sol-gel or hybrid coatings (organic/inorganic). As a rule, these are very thin coatings. Still an issue is chromium VI replacement. All the buzz words from the European research landscape to apply for EU funding (e.g. sustainability, socio-economic impact) are the drivers because many of the projects presented come from EU-funded research.

There is a lot of research on new materials, keyword 3D printing, additive manufacturing, corrosion phenomena and problems in green energy (solar panels, wind turbines, carbon capture technology). Nuclear research is investigating which materials are suitable to safely store highly radioactive substances for the next millions of years. There are also corrosion problems in electronics, some of which can be solved with coatings. This is only a small selection.

There was even a project to produce a kind of coating from polymers secreted by microorganisms. But that is basic research. I would say that in the conference part on coatings, the proportion of purely industrial presentations is only ten percent. Primarily, the results of university research are presented. University research is often quite far removed from industry, although the industry connection can play a major role in research funding. 

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