Materials.Business Weekly ⚙️

December 1, 2020

Quote of the week: “Inventors are just humans. Anyone can have innovative ideas. But we have to share those ideas and collaborate with each other so that they can be realized”. Marian Rogers Croak, VP Engineering, Google.

From The Editor's Corner


A whimsical market

The fourth engineering metal, by tons, consumed after iron, copper, and aluminum is zinc (the 23rd most abundant element in the Earth's crust). Yearly production shows a growing trend of about 1 percent. A growing from 14.0 million tons in 2018, the predicted production for 2035 is about 16.5 million tons. Taking into account that 60 percent of consumption goes to galvanizing steel, we are talking of 8.4 and 9.9 million tons, respectively —a small amount of about two hundred times less than crude steel production. One of the reasons for this huge difference concerns the fact that currently, only 6 percent of the steel produced annually is coated -Source-. For instance, in India, of a total annual steel sheet production, only around eight million tons (7 percent) are zinc coated. Meanwhile, in Japan, it is 11 percent, and in the USA, it is 19 percent. From another point of view, the yearly average global per capita galvanized steel consumption is 2 kg. Besides, consumption by country shows huge differences. In Italy, it is 24 kg, in Germany, 17 kg, in Spain, 15 kg, in the UK, 13 kg, in France, 11 kg, in Chile, 7.8 kg, in Colombia, 1.7 kg, in Brazil and Mexico, 1.3 kg, and in India, 0.6 kg per person.

A culture to transform

Without any doubt, further than economic or technical reasons to justify both the low consumption and the huge gaps between regions and countries, there are cultural reasons. Such a situation may be associated with the concern about the gap between existing knowledge and anticorrosive measurements in the field. In other words, one of the explanations of the high corrosion problems, after more than a century of systematic research, technological development, training, and education by universities, research centers, companies, associations, and so on. T.P. Hoar, in his study about the cost of corrosion in the UK 50 years ago, found that the annual total cost in the country was £ 2500 million, and the avoidable cost was estimated at one-fifth of such amount. According to Hoar, the main reason for this situation was a lack of corrosion awareness. The current situation is similar. Fortunately for the galvanizing sector, this situation is an opportunity for new and bigger markets to improve the reduction of the impact of corrosion and achieve more sustainable development. Here, corrosionists have the opportunity to beat for more rational engineering management: to look for a condition in which each material occupies its rightful place. A glimpse about new market options stars taking into account the current applications of galvanized steel. As an example, the percentage distribution in Germany is construction 49, industrial equipment 12.5, transport/vehicles 11, agriculture 7.5, road equipment 6.5, utilities 4.5, small parts 4.5, and others 4.5.

Benefits offered

Cheap long term

Further than the strengthening of the counter corrosion measurements by galvanization, there are some other reasons to think about the importance of a cultural change associated with the increase of Zn usage as a coating of carbon steel. Announced advantages according to providers and associations, including the cost of protection when galvanizing is one of the options. The American Galvanizers Association offers a free tool to estimate the initial cost and the total one after the desired life-cycle. For instance, for the desired life of 30 years of exposure in a moderate aggressive environment, the final cost of the hot-dip galvanizing is the same that the initial cost of $ 1.67 US dollars per square foot. But in the case of a protective coating system including a primer of inorganic zinc, epoxy, and polyurethane for the finishing, the initial cost is estimated as $ 2.28 US dollars, and the final one will be $ 5.34 US dollars.

Towards a more sustainable world

This is another feature that can be highlighted. Concerning raw materials extraction, there are comparisons on data, keeping in mind that values depend on factors like nature and grade of the ores and the process followed. In general terms, Zn shows good figures about its environmental impact:

Australian researchers compared some variables concerning the environmental impact in all stages of the metal productive life cycle, included a cumulative amount of primary energy consumption or gross energy requirement (GER), solid waste burden (SWB), global warming potential (GWP), and acidification potential (AP). In summary, Zn is a low energy-intensive metal, and less pollutant than Ni, Al, Ti, and stainless steel. It is only surpassed by carbon steel and Pb. Furthermore, an interesting comparison is the relatively low added amounts by the galvanizing process on steel. In the beginning, GER and GWP of steel are estimated as 23 MJ/kg and 2.3 kg CO2 equivalent/kg, respectively. The added amounts associated with the galvanization process are 3.4 to 5.3 MJ/kg and 0.10 to 0.33 kg CO2 equivalent/kg. Figures that are also presented as advantageous in front of usually repeated maintenance painting of steel structures.

A vital element

Zn is essential for life and plays a specific role in several biological reactions. It is necessary for plants, animals, and humans. It is naturally present in the ecosystem (air, waters, and soils). Some of the average concentrations in natural environments are 0.01 – 0.2 µg/m3 in rural air, 10-300 mg/kg in soils, 0.001 – 0.06 µg/L in open ocean, and 0.5 – 1.0 µg/L in coastal/inland seas. Too little Zn in a person can generate a loss of appetite, decreased sense of taste and smell, slow wound healing, and skin sores. However, as it happens with many other chemical elements and compounds, too much Zn can cause health problems. Consequently, Zn is included in the list of substance regulations. Nevertheless, maximum permitted concentrations are higher than the concentrations of other common engineering metals. As an example, maximum permissible concentrations of some metallic elements, in mg per kg of dry soil (maximum soil metal concentrations that give full protection to soil organisms, processes and functions, as well as protection of humans directly or indirectly in contact with the soil, and protection of surrounding ecosystems) according to the Danish regulations, are 3 of Hg, 5 of Cd, 20 of As, 30 of Ni, 400 of Pb, 500 of Cu, and 1000 of Zn -Source-.

Sometimes Zn shows its “true color”

This squire is not away a proper partner. In some cases, there are limitations to overcome. In principle, there are limitations to its characteristics themselves. Zn whit a density of 7.11 g/cm3 is a member of the heavy metals group, together with iron, copper, tin, silver, gold, platinum, and so on. Like the other members of the group, it is a nutrient, but it can be toxic in larger amounts. Also, this characteristic is associated with an unfavorable higher environmental impact, as opposed to light metals (aluminum, magnesium, and titanium), when we are considering applications where the strength-to-weight ratio is relevant. Concerning the galvanizing process, there are some technical limitations, but in fact, they are challenges to solve. In principle, the process is considered a rather complex technological one. Besides, a truly effective galvanized can only be applied industrially (not manually), only on dismantled parts (not assemblies), coating repairs require treatment of the entire part, and all the job must be done at the shop site (is not possible in the field). Furthermore, the size of the treatment tanks and furnaces in the shop is a rigid limitation about the size of the parts to be treated. Finally, there are limitations related to the behavior of the Zn coating. Thermodynamic restrictions include the reversing of the polarity of the pair Fe/Zn when the temperature rises above 60°C, limiting the use of Zn to ambient temperature applications. Another restriction deals with the presence of impurities as Fe, able to produce intermetallic compounds which will set up local galvanic cell on the anode, increasing the so call self-corrosion, with a sharp drop in efficiency. A metallurgical barrier is associated with the requirements concerning the composition of the steel substrate to be galvanized because some elements in certain amounts are deleterious for the galvanizing quality. Another big limitation is connected with situations where the kinetics of the corrosion process of Zn is not the advantage. In other words, passivation does not occur in acidic and other severe environments. In such situations, the reinforcement of the protection by painting over the Zn coating, or duplex system, is often used. Here, the problem is that the glossy, low roughness Zn surface has not a proper anchorage for most of the paints. Adherence is low and difficult to obtain, and only special and expensive paints work.

Recent improvements

Playing with the elements

Looking for answers to the above-mentioned challenges, in the last 50 years, have been done with big efforts. Advances in metallurgical issues and the technology of the process have improved the benefits of galvanizing. On one side, developments concerning the composition of the coating have been proposed and launched to the market. Zn alloys instead of pure Zn have been well-positioned. Galvalume® coated steel sheet with 55 % of Al was developed and has been sold by Bethlehem Steel Corporation since 1972. Currently, it is widely used in civil construction, mainly for roofing and cladding applications (also under other trademarks like Zincalume® or Aluzinc®). The 55%Al-Zn coated steel shows mechanical properties slightly different from zinc-coated steel, due to the higher molten metal temperature and also to the higher yield, tensile strength, lower total elongation, and hardening coefficient. Also, alloys with higher Zn content have been studied., a patent was given by the World Intellectual Property Organization in 1981 (WO1981002748A1) claimed for the invention of alloys containing from about 85% to about 97% zinc, from about 3% to about 15% aluminum and from about 5 ppm to about 1.0% of rare-earth elements. A current commercial alloy is 95% zinc/5% aluminum. Furthermore, and more recently, another alloy (90-92% Zn/8-10% Fe) have been obtained by heating the zinc-coated steel between 450 and 550 °C immediately after passing through the molten zinc bath. Consequently, iron from the substrate diffuses into the coating, and the coating becomes higher corrosion resistance, formability, and weldability.

Gambling to the process

Instead of the general batch galvanization process, there is continuous or in-line sheet galvanizing. This is also a hot-dip process but only applied to steel sheet, strip, and wire. A special characteristic of continuous galvanized steel is greater control and preciseness of the coating thickness. As a result, coated steel sheets are well-engineered products, useful for the manufacture of highly demanding items. The coating lines are classified as light, intermediate, and heavy-gauge. Product from light-gauge lines is used mostly for applications as corrugated roofing sheets, and building sidewall panels. The largest application for the product made on intermediate-gauge lines is car body panels and appliances. Products from heavy-gauge lines are used for applications like culvert pipe, ductwork, and automotive structural parts. Under such conditions, opportunities for new and significant applications have been opened. One of them, just mentioned above, is on more corrosion resistant, thinner, and lighter car bodies. Moreover, the alluring option of continuous rebar galvanizing.
Remember: Protection of materials and equipment is good business!

Prof. Carlos Arroyave, Ph.D. Editor.

Materials Biz News

“A quiet revolution in asset management”

Asset integrity is part of asset management. To know about this last is important if we are in charge of the first issue. The Economist podcast on markets, the economy, and business has produced an episode devoted to talking to industry insiders about the obsolescence of the conventional model and the emergence of a so call a quiet revolution in asset management. Listen More

Inventor corrosionists and inventions for corrosionists

The renowned R&D 100 Awards sponsored by R&D - Research & Development World, recognize the 100 most technologically significant new product innovations of the year. Some of the winners of the 2020 competition are directly related to issues of interest for people committed to corrosion and anticorrosion of assets and materials. The following are a shortlist of the warded scientist, innovator, companies, and laboratories of the year Read More:

-ElectroCorrosion ToolKitTM developed by the Argon National Laboratory (USA). A testing protocol that predicts the corrosion behavior of materials under actual in-service conditions.

-Three Electrodes Coin Cell. This is Swagelok type cell, for battery-research, invented by General Motors. It is compatible with the current coin format cell electrode and cell parts on the market. Also, it can be applied in different electrochemical measurements, for both academic and industrial research and screening.

-Clean Surface Technology. A PPG innovation for interior wall paints, with high resistance to stains (water or oil), as well as cleaning and scrubbing.

-Self-Healing Cement. It is a cement combining synthetic polymer and cement that fills cracks and restore cement to its original mechanical integrity in intense, high-temperature environments. A significant extension of the life of the structures is achieved and, also, structures become more elastic and resistant against natural disasters like earthquakes. The invention was done by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

-High Entropy Alloy Catalysts. Invented by researchers at the University of Maryland. It is a new generation catalyst that exhibits significantly higher performance in a wide range of the current chemical industry and clean energy applications such as battery and fuel cell cars.

-Laser Coating Removal Robot. The LCR robot has been developed by the Southwest Research Institute. It uses a CO2 laser and includes an intelligent process monitoring and control for precise removal of integral aircraft coating systems or just some of the outer layers.

Deserved recognition

A prestigious recognition awarded yearly by NACE is the Frank Newman Speller Award. An acknowledgment of outstanding contributions to corrosion engineering. This prize is given in honor of Engineer Newman Speller (1875-1968) who was a North American (born in Canada) pioneer of corrosion science and engineering, and author of the book “Corrosion Causes and Prevention – an Engineering Problem”, published in 1926. Some of the distinguished corrosionists awarded since 1947 are F. Newman Speller, J. M. Pearson, F. L. LaQue, M. G. Fontana, J.C. Hudson, K.G. Compton, C.P. Larrabee, H. P. Godard, A. W. Peabody, E. Mattsson, R. A. Baboian, J-P Berge, H. Okada, H. E. Townsend, D. Knotkova-Cermakova, J. A. González, and S. Suzuki. The selected colleague to receive the 2021 award, during CORROSION 2012, in Salt Lake (USA) has been Prof. Jose Maria Bastidas from the National Metallurgical Research Centre in Madrid (Spain). Professor Bastidas has been devoted to elucidating the mechanism of electrochemical corrosion of different metals, contributing to the development of several applications regarding energy generation, food, pulp and paper industry, transport systems, and so on.

Metallurgy in transformation

The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology announced the development of a wire-based additive manufacturing process for the surface treatment of shafts. This alternative is showed as more environmentally friendly, and cheaper. The innovation is associated with the use of a wire that is pushed in the form of spirals to the desired locations on the shaft and then welded there with a high-power laser, producing complex shafts more cost-effective and resource-efficient. Read More


Ready to perform materials engineering heuristically? Uk-wide

This is one of the basic questions asked by Frazer-Nash Consultancy, a systems, engineering, and technology company (UK), to the candidates for a vacancy in the Company. They are looking for people who graduated in Materials Engineering or Materials Science. Also, candidates with related degrees and specialized in materials, are accepted. Some experience on the following subjects is expected: Fatigue, fracture, creep, corrosion, materials selection, hazardous materials, REACH, legislation, wear, erosion, material degradation, material modeling, and coatings. Industrial experience in one of the following sectors will be a bonus: power generation/energy, nuclear, process and industrial, turbomachinery and rotating equipment, rail and maritime, upstream/downstream O&G, transmission (gas/electricity).

Research for defense Several locations, USA

US Air Force is seeking Materials Engineers for several locations. A job open to US citizens and nationals. The primary purpose of this position is to conduct basic research and exploratory development of electromagnetic materials, devices, and components for Air Force and Department of Defense – DoD - applications. Some of the responsibilities are related to the selection and evaluation of materials, the design and evaluation of weapons systems, and the audit of contracts.

A senior engineer for the I–4.0 Hadapsar Pune, India

EATON, INNOV Innovation Center (Hadapsar Pune, India) is looking for a senior engineer. Requirements include a Master’s or Bachelor's in Electrical / Electronics / Mechatronics engineering, industry experience of over 8 to 10 years, and more than eight years of experience with a multinational engineering organization. Good exposure to engineering research/analysis/product design in multi-disciplinary areas of auto/aero/hydraulic/electrical domain is essential. Experience with AUTOSAR, HILS, dSPACE, ETAS, Analytical modeling of dynamic and complex systems is an added advantage. The selected one will be responsible for duties related to innovations in electric vehicles, including design, product development, validation, and modeling.

Managing the paints and coatings lab Samut Sakhon, Thailand

AkzoNobel is searching for a solution lab manager based in Samut Sakhon (Bangkok Metropolitan Region, Thailand). Basic qualification includes higher education, 10 or more years of technical experience in the formulation of powder or industrial coatings (raw materials, quality assurance, manufacture, and application). Some of the responsibilities will be product development and improvement, customer requests, lab budget, cost-saving programs, and leading root cause analysis and problem-solving.

Networking & Knowledge Exchange

Talking about money Virtual

GPT Industries is inviting you to attend a webinar entitled “Counting the Cost of Corrosion; Are you playing with Fire?” to be held on Tuesday 8th December 2020, at 15:00 (North America EST). The webinar will be focused on fire causes, effects, and protection measurements in O&G pipelines, including the role of the corrosion problems, and real examples.

Learning from the past to build the future Virtual

“Metallurgy of Medieval Armors and Their Manufacture” is the title of the speech that Dr. Alan Williams will deliver on December 8, 2020, at 2:00 PM EST. Alan graduated in Chemistry and Metallurgy and his Ph.D. in History of Science. Throughout his career, he has worked intensively in ancient metallurgy, mainly related to weapons and armors. This talk is part of the ASM World Series and is given by the Ontario, Canada Chapter.

Going deeper in materials engineering Virtual

The Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering of the National Institute of Technology Rourkela (Rourkela City, Odisha, India), is organizing the “Conference on Processing and Characterization of Materials-2020” (CPCM-2020), to be held from December 18th to 20th 2020 (the second international and the ninth in this series). The purpose is to put together users, manufacturers, designers, and researchers dealing with materials engineering. Plenary and keynote speakers are recognized as renowned Indian and foreign experts. Subjects included are materials processing and characterization, advanced materials, composites, surface engineering, defense materials, sustainable energy materials, waste utilization, computational methods, and corrosion and environmental degradation.

Corrosion is not in quarantine Virtual

The Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences of the National Materials and Manufacturing Board, a body of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in the USA, is arranging a three-day public workshop on “Materials Science and Engineering in a Post-Pandemic World”. The event will be held from December 7th to 9th 2020, from 11:00 to 16:00 (USA EST). Some of the subjects to be considered are the expected impact of the Corona on the Department of Defense materials and manufacturing capabilities, the affectations on the manufacturing workforce, efforts currently considered, and expectations. See also our Editorial related to this topic.

Learning and updating patent knowledge Podcast

The European Patent Office is producing the podcast "Talk innovation" to provide current perspectives on innovation through interviews with experts, whether patent examiners, inventors, or specialists in the commercialization of innovation. Some of the previous and available episodes are:

-Inside the mind of an inventor

-Trends in sustainable energy technologies: The global battery technology race

-Semiconductors - Materials for the digital age

-Towards smart factories

-Smart domestic appliances - Making life easier and greener

Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash