Materials.Business Weekly ⚙️

January 05, 2021

Quote of the week: “The alchemists in their search for gold discovered many other things of greater value.” — Arthur Schopenhauer, German – Philosopher, 1788 – 1860.

From The Editor's Corner


Tricky for the heart and pocket

Corrosionists love rust, but not in our car. Inherent to the passenger car culture that characterized the 20th Century, it is common to find that its own car's condition is a severe concern for most men. Unfortunately, corrosion has been an omnipresent threat. However, Materials and Corrosion Engineers have been solving many of the problems. As always, solutions have encompassed challenges. For instance, corrosion of exhaust systems was a matter of significant concern over several decades. The situation is easy to understand because a bundle of middle steel pipes and parts were exposed to the hot, highly polluted emission gases. As a result, every two years, on average, the exhaust system should be changed. This is why estimations showed how the cost of corrosion in the cars' exhaust systems in the USA in 1966 was about USD 4000* million, including USD 1000* million for tailpipes and USD 3000* million for mufflers. The last amount is almost one-third of the Panama Canal cost (USD 375 million of 1914 or USD 9.760 million in 2020). But due to intensive research in the 1980s and 1990s, solutions appeared, and aluminized steel was one of the more successful. Now, with less polluted combustion gases, and better exhaust materials, the problem is not usual.

​Similarly, the fuel system suffered a corrosive attack, mainly due to the fuel's water content. As the starting point, fuel tanks should be repaired frequently because of pitting corrosion. The problem was then solved by a Terne (Pb-Sn alloy) coating on the carbon steel plate. Of course, the rest of the fuel system was exposed to a corrosive fuel. Other systems and parts also suffered internal attacks due to a used fluid or the entire car’s environment. It was estimated that the yearly cost of corrosion in the USA in 1975 was USD 29.000* million, associated with 106.7 million vehicles registered. Estimations in 1999, including a depreciation cost by corrosion, led to a yearly corrosion cost in the automotive industry of USD 36.500* million. Extrapolating such an amount globally, the cost of car corrosion worldwide was about USD 156.000* million. The individual average cost of car corrosion for owners in 1975 was estimated as USD 200* per year. In Sweden, in the 1980s, the annual cost of cars was estimated at USD 2.600* million, corresponding to about USD 900* per car per year. Furthermore, NACE estimated that the resale value of a three years old, rust-proofed car exposed to salt roads was USD 160* to USD 235* higher than an untreated vehicle.

​Figures concerning the vehicle fleet's current situation show that the estimated worldwide yearly production in 2017 and 2018 was about 97 million motor vehicles (73 million passenger cars). In 2019 there was a drop to 92 million in 2019, and an even steeper decline until 62 million is expected in 2020—examples of the revenues produced to give an idea of the business's size. In 2019, Volkswagen’s revenue was USD 275.000 million, while that of Toyota was USD 290.000 million with 10.7 million vehicles. Besides, according to the historic trends, the number of cars registered globally in 2017 was something like 1.371 million, 74 percent passenger cars, and 26 percent trucks and buses.

​The improvement in the corrosion behavior during the last fourth decades has been considerable. Nevertheless, unexpected problems arise. For example, in 2010, Ford Motor Company was forced to recall 575.000 vans of one of its models in the USA and Canada because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating corrosion and breaking rear axles.

An outstanding evolution

Factors such as the business's size and the consequent market driving, energy considerations, environmental restrictions, disruptive innovations, demand changes in the industry, and new challenges arise. According to all those drivers, it is possible to approach the several corrosion risks from the challenges' point of view. Sometimes, direct effects, some others indirect ones.

​​The oil crisis

Petrol and cars are an indissoluble couple symbolizing the Second Industrial Revolution. When the world faced the oil crisis in the 1970s, answers included exploring other fuels and less consumption per km. Research about alternative fuels was focused mainly on methanol and ethanol. Besides, biodiesel was researched, too. Brazil was the champion of ethanol, and the PROALCOOL program brought a broad opportunity for the Brazilian fleet and many other countries that took such an option. The integrity of materials of the fuel system was a matter of great concern. Dissolution of deposits previously formed by gasoline, pitting corrosion of fuel tanks that were not terne plate, dissolution of polymeric tubing and other plastic parts, accelerated corrosion of the carburetor were big problems. Most of those problems were solved through a gripping collaborative Triple Helix action. Finally, solutions like the development of a Ni alloy for the carburetor allowed the implantation of ethanol, pure or as a mixture, as car fuel. The first recent car working with 100 percent ethanol was the Fiat 147, a three-door hatchback compact car that was the Brazilian variant of the Fiat 127

Lightweight cars

Until the oil crisis, cars were heavy. Passenger cars were three, four, or more tons, and their consumption usually was a gallon (3.8 L) per 10 - 15 km. Further than new combustion systems, efficiency has been sought through lighter bodies, trying to move to thinner gauge materials, reducing some millimeter thickness in the 1960s to one or less today. But new problems came up, including the need for high strength steels more prone to corrosion or more expensive materials such as Al alloys, titanium alloys, composite materials, and nanoscopic materials. A vast development of automotive paints is part of the associated actions, looking for better anticorrosive properties and better finishes.

​Manufacturing processes changed according to the new requirements, including anticorrosive systems like galvanizing and paint schemes when the environment was aggressive. Consequently, cars' models useful in less polluted regions could be mediated with unique treatments to be commercialized in other areas. The visible corrosion associated with the body car is atmospheric corrosion. Anticorrosive paint is a good measure. Moreover, there are many issues concerning design because galvanic pairs, crevice, accumulation of moisture, and dirt are weak points prone to corrosive attack. Famous was the corrosion spot in the driver door of the Fiat 147 too. A study developed by the formerly Swedish corrosion Institute (P. Uhlbäck, V. Kucera, L. Kjell, and A. Fogelström. “Rust damage to passenger cars – analysis of extent and causes.” SCI, Stockholm, 1984) divided the body car into 17 sections. It concluded that there are two main reasons for visible corrosion, including damage of the coat of paint due to mechanical action or defects in the coat or perforation of the sheeting from inside and directly related to design features. The parts that rust most in the average car are the rear mudguards' edges, the front mudguards, the side sill boxes, and the upper back part of the front mudguards. According to the Mercedes 200-series, BMW, and VW Golf models were better than the average, and Renault 4, Citroen GS, and Fiat 147 were worse.

​During the last fourth decades, with the emergence of the Third Industrial Revolution and computer technology (CAD-CAM), there was a considerable shift in body car design. Many of those problems have disappeared. A situation related to the excellent management practices assumed earlier by the car manufacturers. According to NACE's IMPACT study, such transformation in corrosion management strategy led by the highest levels of the automotive industry organizations allowed a reduction from 52 to 44 percent on corrosion-related manufacturing and vehicle operation costs from 1975 to 1999. A global cost saving of about $64.500* million USD. Also, the average age of vehicles increased by 49 percent in the same period (a generous contribution to the Circular Economy expectations). Besides, the evolution of the rest of the cars has been minimal. Nowadays, a conventional vehicle is an ensemble of 25.000 different parts, hundreds of materials, thousands of joints and other intricate points, and several spots of corrosion risks.

​Ahead than innovations on new materials, improved designs, and much better anti-corrosive coatings, there are other complementary useful changes. Proper and adequate maintenance practices by owners, less polluting fuels, better urban environmental conditions, corrosion inhibitors to fluids (such as coolants, oils, and waxes) are some of the other current reasons for reducing the incidence of corrosion on cars.

​​What is coming?

The disruption brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The electric car. Many innovations are supported on new materials, design by artificial intelligence, sustainability drivers, etc. 145.000 Tesla Q3 produced in 2020 is an example of the shift today as a sign of the boom electromobility this year -Source-. There are radical changes concerning the car's architecture, but other aspects are the same. Cars are moving from more than 20.000 parts to some hundreds. The main difference is in the engine or motor working mechanism. It is a change from nearly 2.000 moving parts in the internal combustion engine to around 20 moving parts in the electric one. Conventional and electric cars are similar in the suspension system, bodywork, interior stuff (seating and so on), air conditioning system, and hydraulic braking system. More than the traction motor, differences include a traction battery pack, controllers, chargers, inverters, etc. In conclusion, some of the corrosion challenges remain. Some others have been surpassed, and new and important ones arise, mainly related to corrosion of electro-electronics and severe problems with batteries.

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

​* Inflation-adjusted value to 2020

Prof. Carlos Arroyave, Ph.D. Editor.

Materials Biz News

One more South American country producing oil for the world

Guyana, a Caribbean country on the North cornice of South America, is turning a year as an oil producer. Since the 1940s, many multinational companies were exploring the countryside. In 2015, Esso, an affiliated of Exxon Mobil, announced the world-class Liza deep-water oilfield’s discovery, about 200 km off the shoreline. Daily production last month was 120.000 BPD. A production of 750.000 BPD is expected until 2025. Currently, the estimated reserves are 8.000 million barrels of oil. According to experts, more oil could be discovered closer to the coast in the coming years. GuyEnergy (, a corporation aimed to develop Guyana's oil & gas sector, has announced its intention to build the first refinery in the country.

-Read More-

Showing the right way to the next generation of corrosionists

Our colleague Dr. David Bastidas is an associate professor in the Chemical, Biomolecular and Corrosion Engineering program of The University of Akron, Ohio – USA. Professor Bastidas is one of the corrosion experts of the National Center for Education and Research on Corrosion and Materials Performance – NCERCAMP. This Center was created for supporting the first baccalaureate degree in corrosion engineering offered in the Country and endowed by the U.S. Department of Defense. Recently, the NCERCAMP has inaugurated the Michale Baach Award of Excellence. Dr. Bastidas has been honored for his role as an educator and for his research to develop corrosion inhibitors for concrete and steel structures. Congratulations to The University of Akron for its leading initiative in educating the corrosionists of the future and Professor Bastidas for been a champion advisor.


​​Fossil fuels have a future

A Triple Helix partnership between IndianOil Corp. Ltd, the Indian Government, and LanzaTech, a USA-based company devoted to exploring opportunities of carbon capture, utilization, and storage – CCUS, announced the scaling to a commercial level of previous lab results. The consortium has developed research along since 2014 in the DBT-IOC Center for Advanced Bio-Energy Research in Faridabad, Delhi - India, searching for the production of secondary raw materials for the energy, the chemical, and the food industries, from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Right now, they are speaking about a technology able to convert directly CO2 into new useful products like biodiesel and omega-3 fatty acids.

-Learn More-


Maintenance engineer for the manufacture of new materials Guangzhou, China.

CORNING, the global leader in glass, ceramics, and optical physics, is seeking for its location in Guangzhou, China, a Mechanical Engineer or other engineering related, maintenance skills (knowledge of lubrication, pneumatics, PLC, PC control, LM guide, and motors), and at least three years of experience including LCD panel’s automated storage, RGV transport conveyor systems, and automobile assembly factory. Some of the responsibilities are equipment downtime analysis and improvement, perform the weekly and quarterly preventive maintenance system within the prescribed guidelines and maintain appropriate records, perform spare parts management and in-coming quality control work, conduct the technician cross-training and the new-comer technician training, and performing preventive maintenance on electrical and mechanical equipment under standardized procedures.

A professor of chemical engineering for a vibrant University Singapore

The Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) is a research-intensive public university, with 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and Graduate colleges. NTU has been named the world’s top young university for the past seven years. NTU's School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering (SCBE) invites chemical engineers or related, with a Ph.D. degree to apply for a tenure-track faculty position at the Assistant Professor level. The primary responsibilities will be biological catalysis, biopharmaceutical manufacturing, continuous manufacturing, and digital factory for pharmaceuticals, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Moving from the lab to your own company

Entrepreneurship is a valuable option when scholars are leaving academia. Knowledge is money, and many times exploitation of research by the own company is paramount. Some of the characteristics of a good researcher are the same as that of a good entrepreneur. Some others are different or even opposite. This great option is why the importance of advice about how to be successful with a spin-off company. Recommendations from experienced people are vital. Barbara Domayne-Hayman, an entrepreneur in residence at the Francis Crick Institute in London, says that there are four pillars of success, including:

- A market needs to be fulfilled.

- An attractive technology for investors.

- The right team and good leadership.

- To understand and properly handle the fundraising market.

Networking & Knowledge Exchange

Conversations with women in engineering Virtual

Nowadays, one of the issues that must be assumed as part of the management duties is diversity. This issue means, among other things, fostering higher women integration to engineering activities concerning corrosion, anticorrosion, and asset integrity. Design World Magazine, devoted to serving as a resource of information about technology trends and product releases, is inviting to attend a series of three one-hour virtual panels on the subject. Starting interviews with recognized women engineers followed by an open discussion are scheduled at 14:00 (USA EST). Dates, moderators, and engineers to interview are:

- January 27th, 2021. Aimee Kalnoskas of EE World (moderator) with Lauren West of M3 Design Inc. and Elise Moss of Laney College.

- February 24th, 2021. Mary Gannon of Design World (moderator) with April Butterfield of Jabil and Elyse Cocco of Henderson Engineers.

- March 31st, 2021. Lisa Eitel of Design World (moderator) with Lauren Wickert of Vesco Medical and Anoosheh Oskouain of Ship & Shore Environmental.

Surface science and engineering for better products Virtual

LUCIDEON is a UK-based company aimed to support the whole lifecycle of materials development and commercialization (materials & process development, testing, and characterization) of the healthcare sectors (orthopedic, dental, vascular, pharmaceutical, and wound & tissue repair materials). The company is the host of an online free seminar on the 21st of January, 2021, 15:00 – 15:45 (UK time) on “Using Surface Science to Improve Consumer Products.” This event will explore surface science applications on the improvement of product development through product insight, troubleshooting, and claims support. Specific themes to address are:

- Key surface science techniques

- When to prefer surface techniques over bulk ones

- Case studies

Industrial Corrosion Control & Management for a new year Virtual

The second ICCM will be held on January 29th, 2021, from 09:30 to 17:00 (Indian ST). Some of the tentative technical sessions include control technologies, protective coatings, cathodic protection, software & predictive modeling, and display of new technologies. Options of participation are as a speaker, delegate, or exhibitor. Important Deadlines are:

- Abstract Submission: January 10th, 2021.

- Presentation Submission: January 25th, 2021.

Photo by Aurelien Romain on Unsplash