Materials.Business Weekly ⚙️

November 10, 2020

Quote of the week: “I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” John Cage (USA composer, 1912 – 1992).​

From The Editor's Corner


Corrosion requires methodical management

For a long time, we have heard industrial and commercial accidents and incidents that ended up in people being hurt, environment being affected, and assets being destroyed. Investigation of such incidents has concluded that many of them -if not all- could’ve been prevented, and that, in most cases, the management systems in place default in some aspect, allowing these to occur. It seems that no industry has been excluded from such unfortunate incidents, not even the fun ones. It is estimated that 30,000 injuries a year are reported in the USA alone -Source- from amusement parks; many of which were found to be caused by inadequate corrosion management practices.

It is well understood that quantification of such disasters is complex and requires a fair amount of work to translate losses into a quantifiable number. Luckily, the Global IMPACT study published in 2016 -Source- provides engineers, managers and decision makers with information that helps in that endeavor.

Would you like to be responsible for paying 342 USD a year to cover the direct cost of corrosion? Well, using the data produced by the IMPACT study, if we analyze the corrosion costs presented; it would mean that every men, women, and child around the world will need to pay around 342 USD/year to cover these costs (assuming 7.3 billion people). In other words, the cost of corrosion is equivalent to 3.4% of the 2013 Global PIB, and that is a comparable number to the 2016 United Kingdom PIB.

Surprised? Well, these costs are only the direct ones, there are also other economic transversal impacted areas that are not quantified yet, like health and safety (near misses, incidents, and accidents), availability/reliability (unexpected down time, production impact, available production time, and asset life extension), and quality (product).

Tools referenced below intend to prove that a well-managed integration between the programs of integrity and corrosion help reduce failures, health and environmental incidents and save money, it helps to ensure all of the measures that can be taken from design to decommission of any asset; focusing resources (materials, people and money) for the benefit of the whole.

Corrosion and integrity management programs

It is important to consider that one of the roles of integrity and corrosion engineers is to take care of material stability and integrity. It is important to remember that many corrosion problems experienced today are self-inflicted due to a lack of awareness or even worst, problems are known, but there is maintenance neglect. In other words, there are answers and solutions that are not applied for unknown reason. In fact, and according to the IMPACT study, by using currently available corrosion control practices, it is estimated that savings of between 15 and 35% of the cost of corrosion could be realized.

Merging concepts like designing for purpose, maintaining with integrity and decommissioning with a second life in mind are some of the ideas that, if used in conjunction with the adequate management tools, can help industries go in the right path of applying an effective corrosion and integrity management programs.

Designing for purpose

What if, at the design stage of a project, regardless of the industry, we were conscious of the effects of corrosion in the long term?

What if there were studies supporting the use of any of these materials against the long term issues that can arise (all well documented by previous experiences), which we could use to make better decisions that benefits not only the project team but the public and the government at the same time?

In an industrial scenario, how many safety, environmental, and/or capital expenditure cases would we reduce if the lifetime of the plant was taken in consideration, rather than looking at the initial implementation cost of a project?

Exactly! This is designing with purpose. Several steps ensure an appropriate design fit for purpose; some of them are:

Proper material selection

This requires firm operational environment understanding; in this stage, a strong support from the operational/process side of the business is required. Some aspects that should be reviewed at this stage, include: normal and upset conditions (including but not limited to normal operation parameters, expected contaminants content, and exposure time to them), variable operation, shut-down and start-up conditions, cleaning and purging conditions (e.g. steam-out temperature, periodicity will determine the choice of any internal coating of an asset that is exposed to it), idling, bypassing, winter preparation, and summer vs. winter conditions. It is always a great idea to perform material/coating/lining/welding tests that simulate as close as possible the environment in which the asset (with the specified materials) will be working on, where possible.

Quality Control and Assurance (QA/QC)

This ensures that requirements specified in the above paragraph are met throughout the project and until the asset is put in service. Here all the stakeholders shall be involved, and that includes the material providers, fabrication shops, and installation crews. It is imperative to have great traceability systems that allow audits and ensure consistency in documenting decision, acceptance and rejection criteria, as well as handling of non-conformances.

Holistic approach while designing

This is as important as the selection of materials; if the layouts or ways to design assets are not well investigated, minor stuff that may appear insignificant can turn into a big deal over time. A simple example of this are the, almost always overlooked, fasteners. Incorrect selection, installation –including torqueing procedures– and QA/QC procedures have led to a significant amount of issues in almost any industry, from health and environmental perspectives, to the cost associated with the loss of production, reactive repairs, and manpower.

Maintaining with Integrity

Once in operation, we must ensure the asset life and all it encompasses, complies with the initial design and any enhancements that are brought to it.

Confirming operating conditions

Once commissioned, an asset will experience a reality check on the way real conditions occur and how they are managed. Sometimes, at a design stage, we may not have highly accurate data, or the conditions may change overtime (e.g. H2S content in a well may lead to a sour processing plant instead of a sweet one). Therefore, it’s important to pay close attention to the process/operation conditions and understand how these may affect the life of an asset, the plant, or the entire facility. A well-maintained Management of Changes (MOC) process will certainly help the linkage and understanding of the impact that some decisions may have over the integrity of any asset.

Avoiding blind spots

Knowing and being able to predict how some assets will fail provides great information to the operator on where and when to spend resources (manpower, money and time) more effectively, yet effectively managing Safety and Quality while still being compliant to a regulator (if there is any need for it). Thoroughly understanding which damage mechanisms will be active in a certain piece of equipment and its effect will provide a first step into the effective management of resources to ensure inspection plans are well developed to trigger effective integrity programs. The goal is to reduce the potential blind spots to a minimum. Great tools to explore during this step are:

Corrosion Control Documents (CCD): API recommended practice (API RP) 970, outlines the process to create, implement and maintain a successful CCD.

Integrity Operating Windows (IOW): API RP584 outlines the process to define, document, implement and maintain a successful IOW program.

Optimization of inspection plans: Once the asset’s risk level is identified along with how and potentially when it will fail, the next logical step is to act and find out if the asset is fit to operate under the circumstances, and if so, for how much longer.

Targeted inspection methods: This is as important as the identification of the location and type of damage expected (general corrosion, localized corrosion, pitting, cracking, corrosion under insulation -CUI). The correct selection of inspection method maximizes the chances to obtain information to validate if the assumptions are correct or if a corrective action is needed.

Gather and analyses inspection/maintenance records: once the inspections are completed, a competent person needs to look into the results and complete a reassessment to see if the asset is in good standing for the next round of operations. Although this may seem trivial, it is in many cases the point of failure for many corrosion/integrity management programs.

Maintain as appropriate

Ignoring inspection recommendations has proven to be a major cause of problems in the industry in general. Maintenance departments are often faced with reducing scope of work to achieve cost savings, while on the other hand, more often than not, inspection recommendations are buried in a backlog of work orders until it is too late. Creating, implementing, and maintaining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in these areas is a great way to ensure the work is completed timely. Some key areas to work on and control are (some of them can be turned directly into KPIs):

• Eliminate unnecessary maintenance activities

• Reduce planned maintenance and extend maintenance intervals, where justified

• Demonstrate Safety Critical Elements (SCEs) performance

• Improve production availability

• Reduce operating costs

• Demonstrate the required reliability


Once an asset approaches its end of life, there are ways to study and analyze how we can continue to reuse the asset in the same or similar conditions. Understanding the blind spots and proactively working on them will ensure the best productive life of assets. However, once the time is reached, there are several tools available to ensure we could continue to use the asset in a safe way:

Fitness for Service: API RP 579-1/ASME FFS-1 is a great guideline to be used to determine the fitness for an asset to continue operation.

Life extension: Looking at extending the life of an asset, there are key areas of recommendation to follow based on a systematic approach that ensures repeatability and consistency of results.

Idling: This is where an asset is taken out of service to be maintained, serviced, or just as a spare part. Clear protocols to clean, store and maintain idle should be applied. This will help reduce waste in warehouses and optimize the maintainability of the plants.

Abandonment: This applies primarily to the pipeline sector. For example, in Alberta, Canada, the National Energy Board (NEB) mandates that companies must demonstrate that it will abandon the pipeline in a way that protects the environment and the public, and that the company will anticipate, prevent, manage and mitigate any potentially dangerous conditions associated with its pipeline -Source-.

These tools are used to ensure that the risks from an asset integrity associated with Aging & Life Extension are controlled effectively.

The best way of tracking – KPI’s

The Department of Defense (DOD) of the United States announced that since its Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight began issuing yearly reports that track what the military services spend on corrosion prevention and control, the Marine Corps has studied the numbers. Between the fiscal years 2005 and 2008, the Marine Corps’ cost of corrosion decreased by $85 million, which included $68 million in vehicle maintenance expenditures and $17 million in the percentage of depot-level and field-level maintenance attributed to corrosion. As described during the interview, they knew the cost was high but did not really understand how much, until the KPI’s were put in place and analyzed -Source-.

Closing remarks

In an effort to becoming more efficient while keeping our teams healthy, the environment unaffected and the assets and plants producing; engineers and decision makers that understand when and how to control their processes, which tools are required and who is going to be championing the programs, will certainly take the best advantage of the challenges present in their facilities.

Implementing and maintaining adequate practices like design for purpose, maintaining with integrity and design for deconstruction; combined with well-established and monitored KPI’s had proven to be a great practice that provides adequate information to make informed decisions and avoid blind spots.

Teams become more aware, firefighting mode is significantly reduced, and the performance of teams is improved in many ways. Remember: Protection of materials and equipment is good business!

Invited Editor:

Monica Hernandez, P. Eng.


Infinity Growth Corporation

Materials Biz News

Searching for alternative hydrocarbons

In a collaboration between researchers from the USA (The University of Maryland, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology), and The Netherlands (DENSsolutions), have published the paper entitled “Endothermic reaction at room temperature enabled by deep-ultraviolet plasmons” -Read More-. According to the authors, they have found how to start the reduction of CO2 to CO at room temperature. This is an option to develop novel industrial processes, included a new way to synthesize hydrocarbons and, simultaneously, mitigating climate change by reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere, saving energy and money in comparison to the currently known methods.

Time is short. It is crucial to speed up the pace

Petrobras, the Brazilian Oil & Gas national company announced the creation of the Climate Change Executive Management structure, an administrative unit to be in charge of leading technological actions concerning sustainability and climate change (energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and carbon capture. -Read More-

Corrosion is not in quarantine -Read More-

The corona pandemic brought huge impacts on the corrosion and protection practice. ‘Corrosion never sleeps’ and quarantine has been a time of abrupt changes in managing materials and assets protection. In the same direction, with a broader perspective, McKinsey Company has published a report on “The impact of COVID-19 on the global petrochemical industry”. The document analysis both the short-term (incomes decline as ending result) and the medium-to-long-term effects of the crisis experienced in 2020 in the sector. In the beginning, incomes decline, followed by a forecasted earnings depression during the coming years. In essence, one more reason, besides sustainability and the current industrial revolution, to rethink the future. The future is closely related to corrosion engineering. -Read More-

Multi-functional materials

Clean Sky is a European research program aimed at reducing pollutants produced by aircraft. One of the projects that have been developed since 2017 is ‘Structural power composites for future civil aircraft’ - SORCERER. The main objective of the project is to simultaneously contribute to lighter aviation and energy storage aviation structures. A purpose on the way of lightweight electrified airplanes. Current results include structural composites able to act as supercapacitors, batteries, or energy generators. SORCERER is a project exploring the frontiers of new materials technology, as an answer to circularity and sustainability. -Read More-


Commissioning engineer of major Offshore O&G projects - Kuwait

PENSPEN – Kuwait, a global company providing services to the energy industry, is seeking an engineer with experience in the above-mentioned subject. Job responsibilities include leadership and guidance looking for ensuring the achievement of the goals in the developing projects.

Helping to conquer Mars - Hawthorne (CA), USA

SPACEX is looking for a materials engineer to be part of the team in charge of the development of the alloys and processes, including the design of proper materials for the heatshield of the Starship spacecraft.

Basic requirements include:

-Bachelor’s degree in material science, engineering, metallurgy, physics, or similar technical discipline.

-Master's or doctorate degree in materials science with a focus on hands-on processing.

-Three or more years of experience in metals processing.

-Experience commissioning equipment.

A leader on energy for the future - Erlangen, Germany

The Department of Electrical Engineering of the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany) - FAU, is calling for applicants interested in a vacancy for a full professorship for renewable energy technologies. Candidates must be internationally recognized researchers, passionate for education, interested in topics as renewable power generation, electrical energy storage, electrical drives and machines, and market solutions for sustainable energy concepts.

Senior Manufacturing Engineer - Tijuana, Mexico

Eaton’s Aerospace Division, in Tijuana (Mexico), is calling for applications for a vacancy as a manufacturing engineer. Requirements include a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, 3 to 5 years of similar experience, strong leadership and project management skills, and knowledge of ISO9001. Some of the expected skills are:

-Ability to understand welding, paint, machining, marking, and stamping concepts and be able to interact with Design Engineers in technical discussions around these processes.

-Evaluates/Selects tooling and equipment supplies.

-Develops, evaluates, and improves manufacturing methods, including tooling, fixtures, and processes.

-Develops and analyses statistical data and product/process performance to recommend and implement improvements in targeted areas.

-Confers with management, engineering, and other staff regarding manufacturing capabilities, production schedules, and other considerations to facilitate production processes.

Networking & Knowledge Exchange

Sharing cutting edge knowledge on materials science and engineering - Virtual

The Materials Research Society - MRS, is an organization devoted to promoting “communication for the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research and technology to improve the quality of life”, currently with more than 14000 members worldwide. MRS is organizing the “2020 Virtual Spring/Fall Meeting & Exhibition”, from the 28th of November to the 1st of December 2020. Subjects to be presented are arranged in nine clusters as energy, nanomaterials, and structural materials. Some of the presentations will be on-demand, and the others will be live. All of them will be distributed in symposia, and some of these are: special symposium on materials approaches for tackling COVID-19, overcoming the challenges with metal anodes for high-energy batteries, scientific basis for nuclear waste management, data science and automation to accelerate materials development and discovery, materials for extreme conditions, and advanced materials for additive manufacturing.

Learning and reviewing lessons on anti-corrosive paints and coatings - Virtual

CARBOLINE is developing a series of weekly free webinars, at 15:00 CDT (USA), oriented to present expert considerations about common subjects related to materials protection by paints and coatings. The coming talks are:

12.11.2020. “Testing of coatings”

17.11.2020. “Inspection”

19.11.2020. “Making coating recommendations”

03.12.2020: “Common coating problems”

Preceding webinars are available on-demand, too.

Chemical engineers summit - Virtual

AIChE, “The Global Home of Chemical Engineers” (formerly the American Institute of Chemical Engineers), is inviting to attend its next annual conference to be held virtually from November 16th to 20th 2020. Invited speakers from academic and industrial backgrounds have been announced. The program includes lectures, technical sessions, commercial exhibition, networking opportunities, and the annual student conference.

Passionate about technology - Virtual

The R&D 100 Conference and Awards is organizing some free webinars concerning hot topics on engineering and technology. One of them is related to “The rapidly advancing field of batteries for electric vehicles”, to be held on Thursday, November 12th, 2020, from 14:00 to 15:00 EST (USA). The second speech is scheduled on Thursday, November 19th, 2020, from 14:00 to 15:00 EST (USA), and it is entitled “Green Chemistry: The Missing Element”.

Addressing the management gap - Virtual

The NACE International, Calgary Section, invites to participate in a speech entitled "Overview of Management Systems and Technical Processes used in Engineering Assessments". Speakers will be Arti Bhatia and Burke Delanty of DNV-GL. The webinar will run on Friday, November 13th, 2020, from 14:00 to 15:00 MST (CA) or GMT – 5.

Photo by Jarrett Mills on Unsplash