Materials.Business Weekly ⚙️

January 19, 2021

Quote of the week: “You cannot manage risk before managing corrosion.” — Patrick J. Teevens, CD, P.Eng., FNACE, MCIC, President Broadsword Corrosion Engineering Ltd.

From The Editor's Corner


The vastness of the engineering materials business

The current value of the global in-use engineering materials is USD $127.019.690.000.000. Yes, you read that correctly; just over one-hundred-and-twenty-seven TRILLION US dollars is the value of the engineering materials used right now, world-wide. It is the result of our first approach when we began to consider the conclusions of the study developed by Prof. Krausmann’s research group on sustainable resource use at the Institute of Social Ecology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences - BOKU, Vienna, by applying a model (Economy-wide material flow accounting or ew-MFA).

​The concerns about the amount of human-made materials are growing exponentially because of the current sustainability problems associated with climate change and other enormous environmental difficulties. A paper published last month shows that in 2020, the anthropogenic mass or, somewhat, the global in-use stocks exceeded Earth’s total living biomass, which is about 1.1 Tera ton. In fact, according to the model proposed by Krausmann’s group, global in-use engineering materials in 1900 were 35.48 G tons, which was just 3% of Earth’s total biomass at that time, but by 2014, the anthropogenic mass increased 26-fold, where engineering materials were estimated as 927.65 x 109 tons.

​The above figures are just evidence for the coming decades’ proclamation that now more than ever, is the time for engineers in charge of materials protection and asset integrity. Mineral resources are depleting, so the anthropogenic intervention of nature has crossed unexpected limits concerning our planet’s stability. The different ways that we use materials have to be explored to ensure our planet’s existence for generations to come. This responsibility is on the people’s shoulders related to the management and handling of anticorrosive measurements and asset integrity.

An approach to the current value of global engineering materials

The estimations supported on the ew-MFA model include human-made material stocks accumulation in buildings, infrastructure, machinery, equipment, and so on. The specific materials considered were: solid wood, paper, polymers, iron & steel, aluminum, copper, other metals/minerals (mainly, Zn, Sn, Ni, Pb, Cr, Ag, Pt, and Au), concrete, asphalt, bricks, aggregate, and glass (flat and container). Value calculations were done considering just the cost of materials extracted from internationally recognized firms (i.e., Grand View Research for the plastic market). That means that all the other added values (tangible and intangible) from the processing, transforming, conforming, designing, etc., to all the pieces, parts, equipment, machinery, structures, and so on, are omitted. Furthermore, in all cases, costs were estimated for the USA to use as a base for comparison. In Addition, projections until 2020 were made by extrapolating the curve’s observed trend for the in-use stock generated in the mentioned model. In other words, materials supporting new key technologies like solar, wind power, and energy storage (i.e., Co, In, Mo, Li, Mn, Ti, V, and W) were not included.

​The final result was that the engineering materials’ value in use worldwide is around the astronomical amount of USD $ 127 x 1012.

​By any means, this is the cost of the anthropogenic exploitation of nature underpinning humankind civilization currently. To take care of such assets is to guarantee the future of our species on the earth. But its value also justifies all the efforts in the corrosionist’s hands worldwide.

The size of the caring efforts

Regarding metallic materials’ value, estimations are roughly USD $ 30.5 T, where almost 65% of it is steel. This percentage value is equal to the 36.78 Gt of steel that is in use today. As a point of comparison, as was mentioned in a previous article before, in 2019, the production of steel was 1.9 GT with a cost of about USD $1 T.

​It is important to remember the figures reported by the IMPACT study by NACE where the global cost of metallic corrosion was estimated as USD $2.5 T, which was equivalent to 3.4% of the total richness generated in the world in 2013. Applying that same percentage to the in 2019, the international cost of corrosion in 2019 was about USD $4.8 T. A fraction of this amount corresponds to the cost of steel that had to be replaced due to corrosion problems. This fraction is usually estimated as about 10% of the total produced steel or, in monetary terms: USD $100 B. Furthermore, since Hoar’s study about the cost of corrosion in the UK, it is estimated that savings of between 15 and 35% of the cost of corrosion could have been realized, i.e., between USD $724 B and 1.7 T could have been saved in 2019.

​To summarize all the figures from the two sides, we can conclude that:

- The current value of human-made materials is c.a. USD $127 T.

- The value of the portion concerning metallic materials is USD $30.5 T.

- The total amount of steel in use is 36.78 GT, and the associated value is about USD $20 T.

- The total cost of corrosion in 2019 was about 25% of the steel’s value in use.

- Expenses for the substitution of corroded steel in 2019 were 0.5 % of the exposed steel’s value.

- Savings applying existing knowledge could be between 3.6 and 8.5% of the value of steel.

In conclusion, it is necessary to say that the current efforts and available knowledge are not enough to protect materials and assets in a world craving sustainability. Without a doubt, measures must be redoubled to maximize savings. It is imperative to minimizing corrosion by adequately using the existing knowledge and going deeper into research about old and new unsolved problems.

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

Materials Biz News

Supporting your technology needs

N&U Equipment Supply is an analytical service firm providing companies, scientists, and engineers with the exact techniques necessary to meet the requirements of their material analysis. N&U offers a wide variety of testing services through our network of strategic partner laboratories located throughout the Continental U.S.A. Additionally, N&U has strategic agreements with instrument manufacturers, allowing us to offer analyses that are not otherwise commercially available. No matter your analysis needs, N&U can assist you with the appropriate solutions.

The materials that we will have to take care of shortly

In the age of empowered knowledge, patents have become a more coveted asset than ever. Information on the pace of patents is a topic of growing general interest. The following are some attractive figures on patent applications received by the US Patent Office - USPTO - in 2020. Over the past year, the total number of patent applications was 413,176. As part of the top ten fast-growing technologies, there were some directly related to software inventions, which also require materials that are not mentioned. Besides, other fast-growing technologies were directly related to materials engineering and, consequently, materials care. These technologies were biomimetic computing, electrical smoking devices, quantum computers, displays, and additive manufacturing. Also, it is interesting to mention some other data about applications in:

- Greenhouse gas emissions mitigation: 7.268

- Renewable energy sources: 3.386

- Metalworking: 943

- Metal processing: 835

- Water and solid wastes management: 812

- Non-fossil fuels: 436

- Electric systems: 434

- Fluid handling: 288

- O&G: 143

- Nanotechnology: 100


The corrosion inhibitors market

A recent Freedonia Focus Report presented a study about the demand trends on the corrosion inhibitors to 2024. The estimations were founded on the historical behavior during the last decade. The industrial segments considered were O&G, chemicals manufacturing, municipal water treatment, petroleum refining, fuel & lubricant additives, metals, power generation, pulp & paper, and others (cement & concrete, food & beverage, and textiles). In conclusion, the USA's demand is forecast to increase 1.2% yearly in volume terms through 2024. According to the report, rising natural gas prices will support natural gas production and related demand for corrosion inhibitors. Faster gains will be prevented by oil prices, which are expected to remain relatively low. Evolving water usage trends, environmental regulations, and power generation technology will continue to increase demand for higher-performing products that better balance corrosion emergence and anticorrosion efforts.

-Learn More-​


Energy Engineer Calgary, Canada

BGIS is a leading international provider of integrated real estate management services, including facilities management, project management, energy & sustainability services, strategic workplace consulting, real estate services, and capital planning. The Company is asking for applications for a position as Energy Engineer at its branch in Calgary, Canada. Some of the requirements are a university degree in either Mechanical or Electrical Engineering and Professional Engineer Designation with a minimum of five years’ experience in energy management, with a thorough background in utility markets, building optimization/controls, building systems, building operations, and conservation. Primary responsibilities include energy audits, management of programs on energy efficiency, related staff training, and energy management in general.

Manage assets for years to come Saudi Arabia

Saudi Aramco seeks a Process Improvement Engineer based in Saudi Arabia. Candidates must hold a Bachelor’s degree of Science in Engineering and at least nine years of experience in O&G. A certificate as PMP is a bonus. Duties are to lead improvement solutions concerning existing and coming assets, systems, and processes; support projects planning and management activities, and other issues about strengthening the Company’s projection.

A great academic opportunity Cali, Colombia

The University of Valle, Cali, Colombia, has opened a call for academic staff positions. Required specialties include Electric Engineering or similar (power systems), Food Engineering (processes), Natural Resources and Environment (hydraulics), Mechanical Engineering (thermofluids), Mechatronics, and Chemical Engineering. Standard requirements include a Ph.D. degree with an emphasis on the mentioned specialty, one or more years of teaching experience, publications in internationally renowned journals and conferences, and proof of good English skills.

Networking & Knowledge Exchange

Sharing practical results about marine corrosion Virtual

In partnering with TWI, the Marine Corrosion Forum will be hosting a free talk about “Exposure of various polymer lined carbon steel pipe sections to a sour hydrocarbon fluid at a maximum service temperature: Methodology and Observations.” The speaker will be Maria-Eleni Mitzithra, Senior Project Leader- in the Surface, Corrosion and Interface (SCI) Section, TWI. The 1-h presentation will begin at 12:00 (GMT + 00:00), on January 21st, 2021.

Looking for answers to the challenges that have come Virtual

On January 27th-28th, Vonlanthen, a firm devoted to organizing events, will hold the “Open Innovation 4.0: Circular Economic and Sustainability” online summit. According to the organizer, this meeting will focus on assessing the current situation and suggestions from the open innovation guidelines for successful entrepreneurial performance in a World where sustainability issues are converging simultaneously with the integration of virtual/real and an unprecedented socioeconomic crisis.

Protection of cast-iron pipes Virtual

On-demand. Episode 165 of the Carboline podcast series is devoted to “Coating Ductile Iron.” Speakers are Paul Atzemis, Director of Technical Service and co-host of the Carboline Tech Service Podcast, and Jack Walker, Content Strategist at the same Company. The speeches address a group of items oriented to show the differences with steel coating: Surface preparation requirements, risks handling, coatings, and linings.

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash