Materials.Business Weekly ⚙️

January 12, 2021

Quote of the week: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” — Arthur C. Clarke, English science fiction writer, 1917 – 2008.​

From The Editor's Corner


Face a utopia

When discussing the integrity of materials, it is necessary to consider that most of the engineering materials are thermodynamically metastable. In such a condition, materials must be able to hold up against several kinds of forces or conditions without losing their integrity.

Currently, a shortening, depreciation, or decrease in the assets' value is an increasing matter of concern. The eventual replacement of parts and equipment because “aging” or obsolescence is both understandable and inevitable as part of the object’s life cycle. Nevertheless, depreciation because of deterioration of the material must be treated as an undesirable situation. Here, we are talking about the failure by overloads, fatigue, tribological loading, or corrosion, among others.

Aggressive agents can be physical, biological, chemical, or a mixture, and so an ideal material would be one that resists every situation. Unfortunately, the perfect balance only exists in utopia. For example, in steel, the choice material of engineering by excellence, there is a metal alloy with a favorable balance due to its mechanical properties (i.e., good mechanical resistance with good toughness and resilience), but it has weak corrosion resistance. Therefore, one of the permanent challenges for any engineer is to combine the best attributes of materials, thus striving for balance between properties. The development and selection of tough materials that can withstand stress, friction, wear, and corrosion; in other words looking for the best performance possible is a never-ending task for surface scientists and engineers.

Synergy is powerful

From the thermodynamical point of view, mechanical and corrosion resistance are quite the opposite. One of the essential mechanical properties is hardness, which is associated with abrasion or rather wear resistance. It is a mechanical property usually related to harness in a monotonous way. Hard materials are resistant to wear and tear, but generally for the same material, as better mechanical properties mean lower corrosion resistance. But the real world is not as simple, as everyday situations include mechanical and corrosive efforts simultaneously. This is the reason why the mechanisms of materials deterioration have mechanic/chemical effects simultaneously. Conditions where friction is generating wear and tear and corrosion is synergistically dissolving the material are every day. The result is “corrosive wear” or “tribo-corrosion”. Corrosion products are leached continuously, without any protection option, allowing clean surfaces to forever interact with each other and being exposed to a corrosive environment.

​Wear is the result of the abrasive movement of one part rubbing against another. This phenomenon often happens unexpectedly, even in the deterioration of electro-electronic equipment. For example, the mechanical vibration causes friction between the connectors' female and male parts, thus damaging the contact and increasing resistance followed by raising the temperature, which increases wear between the two parts iteratively. In addition to the electronic sector, there are other scenarios in which wear is an issue for consideration. Of course, mobile assets and moving parts of stationary equipment and machinery, such as engine parts, are exposed to severe abrasion risks and wear. The economic impact of friction and wear is enormous in economic sectors like agriculture, O&G, sewage systems, mining, ceramics, and transportation.

​​How significant is the impact of friction and wear?

Direct costs

Wear and corrosion are surface phenomena. They are relatives, and many times it is not possible to separate them. In 1950, Herberth H. Uhlig, the author of the first study about the cost of corrosion in the USA, talked about corrosion-related wear of internal car engines and estimated that around 30% of the wear cases found might be attributable to corrosion. In 1971. M.W. Padman published a paper showing that the yearly cost of wear for the Australasian industry was AUD $14 million (about USD $ 120 million in 2019). Then in the study developed in 1978 by the Battelle Columbus Laboratories for the National Bureau of Standards/U.S. Department of Commerce, the cost of corrosion in the USA, estimated that 75 % of the maintenance costs in the O&G sector were related to corrosion (40%) and wear (35%).

​Other “unsustainable” costs

Nowadays, considering the Circular Economic principles and the need for more sustainable development, another significant impact of wear concerns higher energy consumption and the consequent higher CO2 emissions. A study about this, published in 2017, considered transportation (trains, ships, airplanes, and road vehicles), manufacturing, paper machines, mining industry, power generation, and residential uses. They concluded that about 20% of the total energy consumption worldwide is energy loss because it’s used to overcome friction forces (103 exajoules). Furthermore, they discovered that 3% (16 exajoules) is spent remanufacturing parts and spare equipment because of wear and wear-related failures. A fair estimation from such amounts of energy generated led to say that the corresponding greenhouse gas emissions during the year, associated with friction and wear, were 7.042 and 1.078 million tons of CO2, respectively. Additionally, estimates about the potential reduction of energy losses by implementing current and emerging tribological solutions (new materials and coatings, improved microstructures, proper surface finishes, better lubricants, different designs, sensing of the phenomena, etc.) could lead to a reduction of 18% in the short term (8 years), and by 40% in the long run (15 years). Consequently, global annual energy savings could be roughly 8.7% of the total energy consumption and 1.4 percent of the worldwide GDP. Concerning emissions, estimated reductions are 1.460 million tons of CO2 in the short term and 3.140 million tons in the long term. The monetary savings would be USD $553.000 million and USD $1.192.000 million, respectively. Many times, materials hard to wear and tear are essential. Most of the time, materials hard to corrode are necessary. Always, materials hard to deteriorate are indispensable.

Remember: Protection of materials and equipment is a profitable business!Prof. Carlos Arroyave, Ph.D. Editor.

Materials Biz News

An experienced oil country search for more

Since 1886, Egypt has been an oil producer due to the Nile Delta's first deposits. Currently, the country is the Third African O&G producer behind Nigeria and Algeria. But its proven reserves were felling during the last decades. Simultaneously, a slowdown in exploration activity happened. Besides, some of the country's geographic advantages include more than 2.900 km of coastline, 1050 km along the Mediterranean Sea, and the Red Sea. Recently, government efforts have been oriented to search for offshore deposits in both seas. As a consequence, last week was announced a partnership between Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Kuwait Foreign Exploration Co., and Egypt’s Tharwa for explorations in the North Ras Kanayis offshore block in the Mediterranean Sea, k located in the Herodotus Basin, covering an area of 4,550 km2, with water depths up to 3.200 meters. Furthermore, other 11 agreements are being prepared, looking for drilling 23 wells across both seas.


Fostering the Triple Helix around the development of advanced materials

Registrations for MaterialNEXT 2.0 will be accepted until January 25th, 2021. It is an open innovation event hosted by the Tata Steel Advanced Materials Research Centers and the Entrepreneurship Division of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. The competition aims to increase the richness factor of the innovative ideas in the advanced materials domain. Proposals concerning research (Ph.D. students & research scholars from academia/research centers) or entrepreneurial initiatives (incubated start-ups in seed) are accepted. The first edition, in 2019, received 32 registrations, and the winner was a project about a graphene oxide-based flexible sweat sensor.

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Be aware of fire

The National Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology – NIST, USA, has launched a new fire calorimeter database to answer several questions about burning situations. The database contains heat and combustion data for fires from 50 to 20.000 kW (small fires to multistory building fires), obtained through experiments concerning single-burning items, fully furnished rooms, controlled burners, and fuels. Fire size and growth rate for the design of fire protection systems and regulation of flammable materials hazards are applications. Indeed, approaches to industrial processes where burning is included could be made by using this useful tool.
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Looking for Ph.D. candidates Germany

MARIE is the Mobile Material Characterization and Localization by Electromagnetic Sensing collaborative research center, integrated by a consortium of universities and research centers, founded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG (Germany Research Foundation). Currently, MARIE is offering 14 positions for Ph.D. students in the following projects:

- Components for High-Frequency Electronics

- Electromagnetic Field Theory / Antenna Technology

- Photonic THz Systems, Spectroscopy, Classification Algorithms

- Photonic THz Systems, Spectroscopy, Classification Algorithms

- Material Characterization

- Radar Imaging, Material Characterization

- Computational Electromagnetics / Electromagnetic Metamaterials

- Radar Imaging, Material Characterization

- Convex Optimization, Machine Learning, Pytorch

- Computational Electromagnetics / Electromagnetic Metamaterials / Antenna Arrays / Reflect arrays / MIMO, Radar Signal Processing

- Radiolocation, Signal Processing

- Real-Time Material Map

A manager for advanced materials production Gwangju, South Korea

3M seeks a candidate for a vacancy as a process engineer for display materials in its Naju factory, Gwangju Metropolitan City, South Korea. Minimum required qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical/Mechanical/Industrial engineering or any equivalences, proficiency in MS Office, and fluency in written and spoken English. Some of the position’s critical duties will be to maintain & improve manufacturing processes quality, initiate process & quality improvement projects for operational excellence & customer satisfaction, and manage manufacturing processes for manufacturing operation.

Caring assets in Romania Bucharest, Romania.

ORION Group, a Scotian-based headhunter, is looking for a corrosion engineer to work in Bucharest. Minimum required background is five years’ experience in in-process and utilities of petroleum refineries, chemical process plants, or E&P operating areas environment, including inspection techniques and corrosion monitoring and control. The incumbent will be responsible for implementing the corrosion management framework requirements, in agreement with an appropriate corrosion management plan, in all upstream assets facilities and pipelines, subject to new construction, upgrading, modification, improvement, and repair projects.

Networking & Knowledge Exchange

​​Taking advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Virtual

Endress+Hauser is a global company aimed to support industrial processes (chemical, food & beverage, life sciences, power & energy, primaries & metal, oil & gas, and water & wastewater) with instrumentation for measurement, analytics, recording, and digital communication of parameters like flow, level, pressure, and temperature. The Company is inviting to attend the so-called “Digital Acceleration Forum 2021”, an event-oriented to improving efficiency, process safety, and compliance by digitalizing the chemical and water & wastewater industries. Registration closes on January 25th, 2021, and the live program will be offered on January 26th and 27th, at 9:00 (CET) and 16:00 (CET).

To learn about a family of superb alloys. Virtual

ASM International will be hosting a course on Ti and its alloys to be offered from 9:30 to 17:00 (USA EST) on January 25th-26th & February 2nd-3rd, 2021. Objectives of the event include applications, mechanical and corrosion characteristics, and processing methods. Some of the specific subjects are phase diagrams, heat treatment, mechanical properties, metallography, casting & powder metallurgy, joining, corrosion, and applications. The target audience is aerospace engineers, quality assurance managers, designers, technicians, metallurgists, and chemical and petroleum industry specialists.

Cathodic protection of marine structures. Virtual

A free 1-hour speech about “Safety and Design Considerations for CP of Marine Structures” will be hosted by the Marine Corrosion Forum and offered by Patrick Lydon, Director of IACS Corrosion Engineering Limited. The event is scheduled for January 19th, 2021. At 12:00 (GMT). The Marine corrosion Forum is an organization intended to promote the advancement of the practical, technical, and scientific understanding of marine corrosion by arranging presentations by leading experts and disseminating information.

Photo by Ludomił Sawicki on Unsplash