Materials.Business Weekly ⚙️

March 02, 2021

Quote of the week: “Doing something that nobody else has done before is actually quite hard.” — Ruben Rausing, Tetrapack founder (1895 – 1983).

From The Editor's Corner


Materials for well-being, as always

Impressionism was more than just a painting style and an art movement; it was a disruptive innovation in western culture; that included visual arts, music, literature, and the way of life itself. Although it happened 150 years ago, traces of it can be found today on many walls in our homes, at the office, at the bar; even as souvenirs at museums, there are lots of tokens of remembrance about that fascinating painting style. Impressionism is seen as one of the first advanced steps towards a better way of life. One of the impressionism’s characteristics was the consolidation of painting in the open air or rather “plein air,” where artists painted closer to their subjects and focused on the representation of outdoor light, air, and weather at the time. As a result, today, we enjoy artistic treasures such as “Impression, Sunrise” (Claude Monet), “Reading” (Berthe Morisot), “Tahitian Women” (Paul Gauguin), or “Afternoon Tea” (Eva Gonzalès), as well as many others. This artistic revolution happened in the second half of the 19th century, the “Century of Metallurgy.” One more reason for such a title was the invention of the collapsible tube of oil paint that happened at this time, offering the most significant opportunity to artists; the storage and safety of carrying paints to the countryside. Thus, allowing the launch of impressionism to blossom thanks to making painting more portable. In 1841, US painter and inventor John Goffe Rand applied for a zinc tube and a wooden stopper patent for the collapsible artist’s oil paint storage tube. A worthy contribution lauded in Pierre-August Renoir’s quotation: “Paints in tubes, being easy to carry, allowed us to work from nature and nature alone. Without colors in tubes, there would be no Cézanne, no Monet, no Pissarro, and no Impressionism.”

And the plethora opens
​After Rand’s invention, painters had another, much less gruesome, option than pigs’ bladders for storing their paints. A few years later, collapsible paint tubes were produced mainly from tin and later on from lead. In 1892, Lucius T. Sheffield, a US dental student in Paris whose father was the inventor of modern toothpaste, was inspired by the painters’ tubes and patent a lead toothpaste-in-a-tube. Nearly five decades later, aluminum tubes supersede Sn and Pb-based ones. Plastic tubes arrive in the 1950s, and laminate tubes (multilayer), with a barrier of Al, appeared in the 1960s (Tetra Brik®). In the 1990s, the laminate tubes were modified with a ceramic layer. Today, the global market of tubes comprises similar portions between aluminum, plastic, and laminates with metallic, polymeric, or ceramic barriers. Outstanding market segments that use collapsible tubes include pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food, and technical products. Usually, the products contained in collapsible tubes are viscous liquids. Their protection requires excellent barrier effect against humidity and other potential contaminants, including live organisms (sterility) and guaranteeing product safety. High standards of quality and hygiene are critical, and so such conditions mean that tube corrosion is definitely undesirable.

​Collapsible tubes are just one example of the vast range of possibilities in the world of packaging, and as I have said before, the best rule in this world of packaging is that each material in its rightful place. People need to take care of their food and other belongings. So the packaging is a basic need, and so, since the beginning of humankind's history, mineral, vegetable, and animal materials have all been used to store and carry different stuff. The conservation, protection, and handling of food, liquids, and other stuff required the use of a sort of container. Materials used for packaging have been leather, bone, wood, leaves, woven fibers (mineral or not), ceramic (clay and glass), metallic and polymeric (vegetable and synthetic), etc. It is the world of material performance and protection. It is industrial engineering (or rather logistics engineering, currently), but in the end, it is actually materials and corrosion engineering in its essence!

​The “content holding” use of a container usually requires barrier protection against; loss of the substance, interaction with the outside environment (water, oxygen, etc.), contamination, soiling, temperature changes, and so on. As a result, containers and their materials must be resistant to mechanical, physical, and chemical stresses. According to each application, required properties include strength, toughness, ductility, impermeability, density, color, corrosion resistance, etc. These conditions are directly related to the material deterioration risk, including corrosion of the metallic packaging. Here, the possibilities of failure are diverse. We may just think about uniform or localized corrosion (pitting, crevice, galvanic, underfilm, etc.), but we also have to think about external corrosion according to the environment (atmospheric, liquid, and so on) or inner corrosion by the substance itself (salt, acid, alkali, etc.) in the container. The corrosion phenomena can affect any of the container's properties, including appearance, which can also affect the content by contamination with corrosion products. Common counter measurements include the proper design of the container, which involves; avoiding crevice, galvanic effects, etc., the selection of a corrosion-resistant material like stainless steel, and if possible; the application of a protective film or coating as a barrier; or the use of a corrosion inhibitor, like volatile inhibitors.

An attractive and criticized market

​Attention to the primary need for packaging means that the yearly global market reaches vast amounts of money and is continuously growing. Forecasting such figures shows that the worldwide packaging market size during 2021 will be around USD $ 1.012.600 million, and the compound annual growth rate for the coming years could be over 4%. Looking at the type of packaging, the global market has been split as follows for the last years: 39% flexible packaging (bags, pouches, labels, liners, wraps, roll stock, and other flexible products made with paper, plastic, film, aluminum foil, or any combination of those materials), 28% rigid plastic, 11% metal, 9% glass, 7% paper base container, and 6% liquid cartons or folding box board. The current conditions and trends in society reflect the biggest demands customers have for the packaging market. Furthermore, the market needs to adjust for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s opportunities and requirements and give precise answers to a healthier society in a more sustainable world. This means we need new ways to face the demands of criteria like the Circular Economy ones: New materials, lighter, with higher corrosion resistance, with a longer lifespan, more reusable, and completely recyclable. Nowadays, the packaging is one of the more criticized market sectors worldwide due to its contamination problems. It is an excellent reason to think again about using metallic containers, further than just collapsible paint tubes.

"The Steadfast Tin Soldier"

​The quote above is the title of a story by the famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen published in 1838. This is an excellent opportunity to talk about the couple's art and materials: tinplate cans. Once again, we must venture back two hundred years. A few years earlier than 1938, Napoleon Bonaparte recognized the need to safely store troops’ food as hungry and stomach illnesses were becoming more deadly than combat itself, so he asked for solutions. Answers flooded in quickly, and in 1810 the first patent for an invention for preserving food using tin cans was granted in England to Peter Durant, a British merchant. Now, although the origin of tinplate dates back to about five centuries earlier, the tinplate can establish proper conditions to explore new territories and broader frontiers. The USA patented the tinplated can in 1825. After that, the can boom exploited as one of the essential development tools, thus creating a “tin can civilization,” further immortalized by Andy Warhol in his famous “Campbell's soup cans” painting. Currently, US citizens use more than 130.000 million cans per year in a market that reaches USD $8.000 million, with 200 manufacturing plants in 38 states and employing more than 35.000 people.

​Usually, metallic cans are made with tinplate or aluminum. Only on rare occasions are materials like stainless steel used. Typical uses for these cans include packaging of food, beverages, and aerosol products. Some of the advantages of metallic cans are a high strength-to-weight ratio; they can be heat processed for sterilization purposes and so; can exhibit excellent conservation of the food properties and a perfect barrier between the contained and the outside environment. However, some significant limitations are the cost, weight, and risk of corrosion, both externally and internally. Nowadays, emerging concerns are related to the reuse, recyclability, and dealloying of these cans. The worries about tinplate corrosion appeared quickly after its invention. Corrosion studies have since solved queries about the poisoning effects of the corrosion products and have solved early corrosion failures through protective films and anticorrosive treatments like passivation. Commercially pure aluminum is used for cans, and in comparison, to tinplate, aluminum cans show better corrosion resistance. Furthermore, they are lighter, more ductile, easier to recycle, and entirely inert for food. However, aluminum is harder to get (i.e., more expensive), not weldable, and softer. Another option is a low carbon mild steel sheet coated with a thin coating of tin, usually electrodeposited in the tinplate case. About 15 % of the annual world consumption of refined tin is used for tinplate. Sometimes, the tin coating is passivated by a conversion process, but it is often coated with a lacquer to improve the corrosion resistance. From the thermodynamical point of view, tin can form a good passivating film. From the kinetic point of view, the high hydrogen over-voltage of tin results in a very low corrosion rate when exposed to a moderate pH range. Lacquers are also very useful, especially in low or high pH cases like fruits or cured fish packaging. In conclusion, corrosion lies in wait, and further innovations in front of the existing and arriving challenges are necessary. The packaging is a basic humankind need and is worth it in the end.

Remember: Protection of materials and equipment is a profitable business!

Prof. Carlos Arroyave, Ph.D. Editor.

Materials Biz News

Towards the storage capabilities that energy transition needs

It is well known that one of the more significant limitations to be overcome regarding alternative energy sources is storage. Batteries are one of the most attractive solutions. However, conventional batteries are not good enough for the required demands, and research about new battery options is a current trend, looking for new designs, other materials, and so. Recently, the International Zinc Association – IZA, launches the “Zinc Battery Initiative - ZBI.” This is a program aimed to foster the use of rechargeable Zn batteries. According to IZA, it is crucial to keep in mind some of the advantages of Zn, such as a flexible design, a broad range of operating temperatures, high power discharge, a good safety record, and a robust supply chain in all major regions (Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific). ZBI is supported by some of the companies in the industry and looks for cooperation between them. Some of the companies are ZincFive, Zinc8 Energy Solutions, Salient Energy, Urban Electric Power, e-Zinc, ZAF Energy Systems, and Aesir Technologies.

Disruptive innovations on materials engineering

MIT Technology Review has published its yearly list of “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2021”. According to the Editors’ previsions, there are two of them directly related to asset integrity. They are:

- Lithium metal batteries. Expectations about that are related to the development of a new super-energy-dense lithium battery that could nearly double the range of electric vehicles. Prototypes developed by the QuantumScape entrepreneurship based in Silicon Valley show that it is possible to have smaller, cheaper, and rapidly rechargeable batteries.

- Green hydrogen. The acceleration in the development of technologies related to the generation of energy from hydrogen is a reality. It will no longer be necessary to wait until 2050 for them to be fully operational, as was thought until recently. An excellent reason for this change is the lower solar and wind power cost for water electrolysis instead of the conventional hydrogen generation process from natural gas.

It is necessary to prepare the anticorrosive management for the energy transition

The Institute of Functional Surfaces of the University of Leeds, UK, announced the beginning of a new Ph.D. research entitled “Design and optimization of electrochemically integrated flow cells for aqueous #corrosion studies in #geothermal systems.” According to its own information, the investigation will be focused on the implementation of computational fluid dynamics in the design and development of novel flow cells to investigate the corrosion and mineral scaling of materials in geothermal environments. The system will then be used to improve the understanding of corrosion and mineral scaling processes in these complex geothermal environments. The Ph.D. student in charge of the research is Michael Jones. His supervisors will be Richard Barker, Associate Professor in Corrosion Science and Engineering; Gregory de Boer, Lecturer in Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering; Jordan H. Boyle, Lectureship in Engineering System; and Joshua Owen, Research Fellow.


Industrial assets caring

Position: Maintenance Planner

Seeker: AkzoNobel

Location: Garín, Greater Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The basic profile of the candidate:

● Education: Engineering degree.

● Experience: Mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, automation, and instrumentation of industrial equipment and facilities. Safety, industrial hygiene, and environmental issues.

● Technical skills: Accepting responsibility, acquiring information, assessing and understanding people, change management, coordinating project activities, HSE&S, quality and sustainability, organized approach.

Job description: Plan and control the execution of the Plant equipment and facilities' maintenance plans to optimize their operation, generating reliability, quality, and at the lowest possible cost, complying with the company's HSE requirements and objectives.

Ph.D. research on materials for the future. Switzerland

The Laboratory for Advanced Materials Processing of the Interdisciplinary Research Institute for Materials Science and Technology – EMPA, in Dübendorf, Switzerland, offers two Ph.D. positions in metal additive manufacturing by multi-material laser powder-bed fusion in the fields of the fundamental study and numerical simulation of process-related defects in metals during laser powder bed fusion, and the theoretical and experimental study of the interface formation (thermodynamics, kinetics) during multi-material laser powder bed fusion using a multi-powder deposition system. The research will be developed in collaboration with several companies and partner research groups at ETH Zurich, Paul-Scherrer-Institute, under the co-supervision of Prof. Patrik Hoffmann and Dr. Christian Leinenbach of the EPF Lausanne. The candidates should have a Master's degree in Materials Science, Metallurgy, Mechanical Engineering, or Applied Physics. A strong background in the science and technology of metallic materials, an interest in laser-based materials processing technologies, and materials modeling and simulation (computational fluid dynamics, finite elements, and computational thermodynamics) are essential. Additional skills in materials characterization (OM, SEM, XRD, mechanical testing) would benefit.

North American students interested in galvanized steel. North America

They have an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the call opened by the American Galvanizers Associations –AGA, for two scholarships awarded annually for the top essays submitted by full- or part-time undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in an accredited college or university studying architecture, civil engineering, structural engineering, construction management, material science, or a related field.

Networking & Knowledge Exchange

Training of young corrosionists. Virtual

Prof. Ameeq Farooq, from the Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, University of Punjab, is the Secretary of the NACE Islamabad Pakistan Section (currently AMPP). On behalf of both entities, our colleague Farooq is inviting to attend the next session of the Series of Virtual Technical Webinars, oriented to train Engineering students and young corrosion engineers. Mark Smith from COSASCO Middle East will give this new seminar. The talk's general subject will be “internal Corrosion Monitoring,” and the topics to be covered include cathodic protection of pipelines, cathodic protection of storage tanks, protective coatings, pipeline asset management, vapor phase inhibitors, corrosion under isolation, and MIC.

Date: Wednesday, March 10th, 2021.

Time: 16:00 PST (GMT + 5).

Renowned corrosion teachers talk about advances and trends. Virtual

One more session of the CorroZoom free webinar series focused on corrosion science, hosted by Prof. Gerald Frankel from the Ohio State University, will behold this month. The invited speaker in this opportunity is Prof. John R. Scully, the Charles Henderson Named Professor, Head of the Material Science and Engineering Department, and the Co-director of the Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering at the University of Virginia, USA. The presentation title is “Corrosion and Passivation of Multi Principal Element Alloys in Aqueous Solutions.” Professor Scully’s field research covers the MPEAs, as an exciting option for new corrosion-resistant materials. Obtained results and knowledge gaps will be discussed, looking for a quicker appropriation of such kinds of alloys as commercial alternatives facing corrosion environments.

Date: Friday, March 12th, 2021.

Time: 08:00 EST (GMT - 5).

Universities lead and follow technological development. Virtual

Markforged, a company founded in 2013, based in Massachusetts, USA, and devoted to developing industrial additive manufacturing machines. It was awarded as the #2 fastest-growing hardware company in the US in 2019. Markforged is inviting you to attend a webinar on “Shaping the Future: The Adaptation of Additive Manufacturing in Universities.” The seminar will discuss how to implement more automated manufacturing technology in universities and how some higher education institutions are moving their core curricula to develop foundational knowledge to satisfy key educational goals with additive manufacturing. Speaker will be Nick Sondej, Senior Application Engineer and additive consultant of Markforged.

Date: Tuesday, March 16th, 2021.

Time: 11:00 EST (GMT - 5).

Photo by Nana Smirnova on Unsplash