Materials.Business Weekly ⚙️

November 17, 2020

Quote of the week: “Successful engineering is all about understanding how things break or fail.” Prof. Henry Petroski (USA, 1942. Duke University, Specialist in failure analysis).​

From The Editor's Corner


An accelerated history that must be managed with knowledge.

Life is changing exponentially. The reasons are powerful. Natural, anthropogenic, and biological are the ones we are facing right now. Climate change, the corona pandemic, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution are more than enough to think about a new coming panorama. Life changes and challenges, too. The best answers are supported on knowledge; knowledge is power. Such a premise was demonstrated by Robert Solow, the Nobel Prize in Economy in 1959, who showed that one of the main factors of rich generation in modern times, in addition to the traditional (capital, land, and labor) is knowledge. Quickly, the relevance of this factor has been increased, and now, with the emergence of the 4th Industrial Revolution, characterized by the integration of the physical and digital worlds, its importance has been exponentially growing, minimizing the relevance of the other factors.

Gen Z asks for new knowledge in a new way

People involved with materials nursing is in front of such kind of challenges. Besides, some other facts must be considered. The last decades were marked by a generation of materials and corrosion engineers and technicians with a physical, highly empirical, more heuristic approach to the nature of the phenomena. But according to the perspectives, the coming generation will be very different. Expected technicians will be more digital minded, more scientific-based, more supported on modeling, simulation, and other design rules. In principle, such a break is generating a disruption, and one of the biggest current concerns is about the loss of interest by the young people about subjects like corrosion and protection of materials. We are talking about the “Generation Z”, at the end of the alphabet soup but note the last one, Gen Z or iGen (Internet Generation), born between 1995 and 2012. Nowadays, Gen Zers or Zoomers are asking for education and skills and starting to enter into the labor market. Yearly, they are more than 200 million students enrolling in university education worldwide. It is the first human generation fully growing up in the smartphone and the digital era. They are prepared to spend their time online, super-connected in more virtual life, and experts on the new technology usage (gaming, e-books, e-shopping, e-learning, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, coding, visual tools, and so on). These Gen Zers are asking for learning options, and the corrosion community (academy and enterprises), is called to recruit and guide our youth through good choices, in agreement with their expectations. Answers also in line with current big challenges in corrosion and protection: Sustainability, new mineral sources, novel materials, long-life design, etc. It is not possible to think about the conventional subjects, neither the ancient masters nor the obsolete pedagogical models. Radical changes must be implemented to achieve new learning pathways. Learning characterized by:

∙ Education for employability in the Digital Age.

∙ A context for the integration of conceptual and experiential catching up.

∙ Higher levels of scientific fundamentals.

∙ Going deeper into diversity and equity, by gender, race, class, age, culture, or any other categorization.

∙ Including the social justice mindset as pivotal.

∙ Bearing in mind sustainability as a new field on how humans work and live affects the knowledge and skills required for the future workforce. Design, implementation, and leading change toward a sustainable world.

∙ Guiding how to prevent, handle, and manage a huge humanitarian crisis and extreme times like pandemics. Both social and technical issues about such exceptional situations: Empathy, civics, ethics, leadership, management, and so on.

∙ More important now than ever, lifelong and self-learning skills.

The school will still be in force

New knowledge means learning. To get skills or to be re-skilled. The current pandemic has accelerated the future of employment, including automation, mechanizing, remote work, and digitalization. According to the Confederation of British Industry, 9 in 10 people will need to develop new skills to support the global economy. Until now, and far more than 2000 years, one of the main sources of learning is the school. The traditional or the new one. Face to face or online. But the preparation of the next generation of corrosion engineers must be taken up by the school as the first choice as a certifier, yet. Responsibilities of this school would include education in the frame of the mega challenges above mentioned. For instance, education for inclusion and resilience (the noteworthy metallurgical concept, fashionable today) in front of global difficulties. But also entrepreneurship for facing the huge arriving problems, needs, and opportunities. Collective well-being and sustainability, for climate change handling. Also, a very strong education on the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) for the better scientific background required by the coming times. Soft and hard skills to be learned at school, probably most of them far from the specific problems of materials protection and asset integrity, but concerning with the fundamentals of a good corrosion and protection engineer in the middles of the 21st century (surely, not more than few decades, before the next industrial disruption).

Shared responsibilities

What to learn at the school about materials and equipment integrity must be a shared decision in the frame of the Triple Helix Academy-Enterprise-Government collaboration - TH. Specific skilling or reskilling includes the knowledge to face old problems (the corrosion cost of about 3.5 percent of the yearly global Gross Domestic Product - GDP is a huge example of such ones). Besides, the new challenges concerning a physical/digital world, the need for a circular economy model of economic growth, and the urgency of attending the climate change are bringing new problems in front of the alternative energies, processes at higher temperature and pressure, scarce raw materials, decarbonization of the industry, lighter vehicles, green & blue economy, miniaturization of electronics, space colonization, and so on. In general, developments based on the pleiad of emerging technologies is leading the new industrial revolution, in a post-pandemic world, with big social, economic, and environmental challenges. Such specific knowledge to learn curricular and extracurricular, at the school, at the factory, and by themselves. What, when, where, and how must be answered by the TH members together, in fact, a stakeholder’s collaborative duty. Materials.Business is a proper space for a dialogue between TH members, seeking answers to the above-mentioned questions.

Preparing the corrosionists for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Ahead of specific skills as the future corrosion and anti-corrosion workers, there is a group of basic engineering knowledge required for successful attention to the affairs of the coming times. Thinking about these transversal, multidisciplinary technical skills, it is important to take into account, for instance, that computational materials science as a subject of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and a tool for a better understanding of materials behavior, uses techniques as density functional theory, molecular dynamics, phase-field method, and finite element analysis for the expected simulations and modelings. Powerful reasons to understand recent recommendations by McKinsey & Co., talking about technical skills for Zenners -Source-. This document considers seven technical skills covering from the planning and design to the operation, that must be considered, and a series of skills included in each one. Areas and some of the highlighted skills include:

∙ DevOps: Coding, testing, packaging, monitoring.

∙ Customer experience: predictive analytics, design thinking, prototyping.

∙ Cloud: Multi-cloud, hybrid cloud, security, edge computing

∙ Automation: Cognitive AI, robotic process automation technologies, automation, machine learning, quantum computing.

∙ Platforms and products: Life-cycle management, Industrial Internet of things.

∙ Data management: Synthetic data, automated machine learning.

∙ Cybersecurity and privacy: Automated testing, zero-trust security, data protection law, and practice.

What employers are looking for

Taking a glance at just a few recent job opportunities published, in addition to a proper background, we can find that concerns about candidates' profile are mainly related to soft skills like:

∙ Ability to multitask projects

∙ Capability to work under pressure

∙ Leadership

∙ Strong written and interpersonal communication skills

∙ Strong client orientation

∙ Deep specific knowledge in an area and breadth across multiple cross-cutting ones

∙ Capacity to work in a fast-paced and highly competitive environment

∙ Personality and drive to execute in a scrappy entrepreneurial environment that operates under tight timelines and aggressive schedules

In any sense, transversal, generalistic, soft skills are at least as important as the technical ones in the current and coming curricula. From a systematic point of view, the World Economic Forum has published a list of the top ten skills of 2025, categorized into four types, one about the technology use and development mentioned above -Source-. The other three types include:

- Problem-solving

* Analytical thinking and innovation

* Complex problem-solving

* Critical thinking and analysis

* Creativity, originality, and initiative

* Reasoning, problem-solving, and ideation

- Self-management

* Active learning and learning strategies

* Resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility

- Leadership and social influence

In summary, preparing the Zonners for coming challenges in corrosion, protection, and asset management is a hard duty that must be faced in a systematic way, including a very special list of soft skills, a broad list of technical new ones, a strong formation on STEM and, also, some specific subjects as part the whole curriculum, defined together by academy and industry. Certainly, such effort pays. Education on corrosion, protection, and asset integrity pays. Remember: Protection of materials and equipment is good business!

Prof. Carlos Arroyave, Ph.D. Editor.

Materials Biz News

Fighting hypersaline water with corrosion-resistant system

Researchers Qilin Li and Kuichang Zuo at the Rice University in Houston (Texas, USA) have developed a desalination device that is more affordable and demands less infrastructure than traditional desalination technologies. The system, that uses boron nitride coating as its key component, could have a significant impact on regions that suffer from lack of fresh water but have access to seawater or salty groundwater. -Read More-

Corrosion, a headache for automakers

Ford is recalling around 350,000 Ford Explorer SUVs due to a corrosion-related issue in multiple North American locations. The company announced the recall based on 13 accident reports pointing at corrosion as the main reason for a potential fracture in the rear suspension. -Read More-

Asset integrity Management Market on the rise

A market research report released by MarketsandMarkets™ projects that the Asset Integrity Management Market will grow at an annual rate of 4.5% in the next five years, reaching USD 24.2 billion in 2025 from USD 19.4 billion in 2020. Climatic conditions and aging assets are some of the main drivers of increasing demand for asset integrity management. -Read More-


Associate Professor – 2D Materials - Rapid City (SD), USA

The 2D-Best center (South Dakota 2-Dimensional Materials for Biofilm Engineering, Science and Technology) at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is looking for an Associate or Assistant Professor with the opportunity to work with several South Dakota institutions of higher education.

Materials and Corrosion - Discipline Engineers - Lagos, Nigeria

ELPER Oilfield Engineering Nigeria Ltd is offering a permanent position in their Lagos headquarters office. The ideal candidate should have a minimum of 10 years experience in the design office for projects in (ultra)deepwater operation to over 1.500m, like FPSO.

Corrosion Supervisor - Winnie (TX), USA

DCP Midstream Partners, an important player in the North American natural gas industry, is looking for someone to manage their enterprise Corrosion Control Programs. The ideal candidate should have at least 10 years of experience in corrosion control and hold multiple NACE certifications, among other qualifications.

Networking & Knowledge Exchange

Carbon Steel Metallurgy for Design Engineers - Virtual

Presented by Michael Pfeifer, Ph.D., P.E., this webinar aims to elaborate on the consequences of steel alloy composition and steel microstructure when modified to obtain a particular degree of strength and hardness. It will take place on Wednesday, November 18th , 2020, at 13:00, central time (UTC -6).

25th International Conference on Advanced Materials & Nanotechnology- Virtual

Taking place on November 23rd - 24th, 2020, the conference will be around the topic "Exchange of Technological Advances in the field of Advanced Materials & Nanotechnology". Papers submission is still possible for different types of presentations, like speakers, posters, videos or corporate presentations.

Corrosion Testing Innovation Webinar - Virtual

This webinar by LBBC Baskerville, will be presented by Dr Danny Burkle and Dr Richard Barker, on November 26th, 2020, 10:00 UTC.

Topics to be discussed are:

-Corrosion testing methods

-Limitations of current corrosion testing methods

-Corrosion testing innovation: Linking lab to field

Photo by NASA on Unsplash