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Monday, October 30, 2006

WEDGE-A-WAR: Corrosion- Nothing lost nothing gained?

"Nothing lost nothing gained?
A degrading, dissipative world
or a slice of cake to take?”

Once again, the topic of corrosion has been brought to my attention.

Of course most people are familiar with the macroscopic sort in the form of common rust.

Some of us, who were privileged, to live near the seaside, coupled with an important industrial and research employer the nearby chemicals & research plant, -ICI's Nobel Division no less, have early experience of corrosion in other materials than steel.

However it was upon reading news in the field of nanotechnology size comparison between atoms and common objects-Link ) and more specifically nano-corrosion that I finally retained an indicator for the magnitude of the cost involved

"The effect of corrosion has an impact on about 3% of the world's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). From a positive point of view, however, chemical attack of metal surfaces may result in surface nano-structures with very interesting technological applications such as catalysts and sensors. Therefore, a better understanding of corrosion processes is required to both prevent it and make the most of it." quoted from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) based in Grenoble, France.

Previously I had learned that such was the loss of durability that whole industries have grown around this field. One must do a thing or two to generate a 3% world GDP. In fact I probably knew this for a long time, but since variety is the spice of life, I may be pardoned for some forgetfulness. )More on Economic Impact of Corrosion

It is common today either in the specialised technical or business or in the main general, economic and financial press to enquire whether this fight is being won or lost?

This is not just a philosophical question. It has a particular significance when the question in the technological, innovative sense:

"Can this industry; from research to market, constitute-or contribute to, a Wedge (in the Socolow sense?) This is a timely question since now infamous, CO2 is known to contribute to rust, corrosion in iron and steel.

(So too does the elder infamous, brother sulphur dioxide [SO2 forming sulphuric acid of notorious for its acid rain, referred to earlier in the poem "Open sky coal mine")

Now, one may wish to ask the "Who, how, why, when and where?" that classical unbeatable holistic search series.

The last question is particularly pertinent. Where?

Murphy’s law (entropy-exergy analysis) will tell you that places of most concern will be those which are difficult to get at and therefore costly.

We are not in outer space though!

If this was a marginal issue one could sort of live with, it is mostly not lethal. But when it concerns the worlds most used metal in terms of tonnage; carbon steel and some of the important things “wrapped in it” carbon steel corrosion, cannot be brushed aside.

Yes, I do mean common ordinary rust, hidden in some structure, which we know will rust sooner or later!

We can do some smart modelling to allow us to buy time. We can calculate and even measure thickness change, which allows us to estimate if there is safe structural strength left.

How on earth can it be detected, reliably, precisely, preferably without taking the "set-up" to pieces? We want it to be a NDT, a non-destructive test, as non-intrusive as possible.

For want of a catch phrase we could call it the "Wee-wiki peek Spy-Shy method"

I am not talking about some mineral on Mars.

No, just that common physico-chemical compound called rust: Ferrous, or Iron Hydroxide, Fe2O3.xH2O, where x is variable. [If x=3 Fe2O3. 3H2O is equivalent to 2Fe (OH)3.]

Yes, even common rust can be a real bugbear to detect when it is in some difficult to access-costly to repair place!

From Macro - to nano to macro &....? Link

Nothing lost nothing gained?"
A degrading, dissipative world
or a slice of cake to take?”

Serious, but not vulgar, even amusing, for innovative; comments, questions or suggestion very welcome, but "don't be evil" (In French or English.)

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