Materials.Business Weekly ⚙️

October 20, 2020

Quote of the week: “Auro quaeque ianua panditur” – A golden key opens any door (Latin Quotation).

From The Editor's Corner


Life is water and good life is good water. Then, water availability has been a permanent concern for humankind, and specifically, one of the big challenges of engineering. It was at the beginning of the times, it is right now, and it will be in the coming times. Materials for handling water are essential, but water is "The Corrosive" by excellence. Corrosion and protection of materials handling drinking water are a big duty at every corner of the globe. Currently, water safety is a very serious concern in the Seoul Metropolitan area because of rusty water and larvae presence. The same in Busan and other Korean cities. It is a problem of national concern. Surely, there are such kinds of problems in many other places worldwide. Knowledge about materials to be used as part of the drinking water systems is basic. Also, a deep understanding of materials behavior under specific conditions and the development of new solutions are current and coming duties for corrosionists.

Materials with which drinking water is supplied

Further than ancient materials mentioned above as aqueduct constituents (pipes, valves, gauges, fittings, seals, etc.), there is a broad fan of options, including whole the big families: metallic, ceramic, polymeric, composite, complex, and mixtures of some of them. As usual, selection depends on technical (pressure, velocity, corrosiveness, etc.) and economy specifications, defined by designers in each case, at each time. Also, the selection depends on the requirements as the main piping subsystem, distribution, or service lines, finally supplying water to the consumers. Non-metallic materials employed for pipes include ceramic and polymeric options as stoneware, concrete, asbestos (currently forbidden), PVC, glass-fiber reinforced polyester (GRP). Usually, corrosion resistance is good. Technical limitations are mainly related to a poor combination of mechanical properties (mechanical resistance, and toughness). As an answer, metallic parts show good mechanical properties, but corrosion resistance is markedly lower. Some of the most common metallic materials employed in pipelines include:

Mild steel. An optimum from the mechanical perspective, but with extremely low corrosion resistance.

Gray iron. Commonly used in distribution networks during the first half of the 20th Century. Something special to highlight in it is that gray is prone to “graphitic corrosion”, a phenomenon in which the metallic matrix is dissolved by the corrosive effect, while a network of graphite flakes remains in its place, maintaining the form of the pipe, but with very low mechanical properties.

Ductile iron. In-between steel and gray iron. Both malleable and ductile iron are two kinds of ferrous materials with free nodules of graphite embedded in a matrix of steel. Consequently, corrosion behavior in drinking water systems is in-between, too. Four – five decades has been a usual life in service in urban distribution systems.

Reinforced concrete. As a mixed material, properties of the concrete matrix and the reinforcing steel rods are added. According to the operation conditions, the layer of concrete protects the steel against corrosion for a lapse of time. Usually, the advantages are empowered, and the disadvantages are diminished.

Galvanized steel. A material where the cathodic protection is given by Zn on steel and a usual low corrosion rate are exploited. Consequently, it was very common in service lines in the middle of the 20th Century, with a life expectation of 2-3 decades.
Stainless steel. Special pipe material for requirements such as pharmaceutical and food processing water supply. Also, it is often used for valves and fittings.

Copper. A noble metal and easy to work as a pipe. Therefore, widely used as a service piping material and for accessories, too.

Corrosion risk

The experience lived in Flint is a clear warning of the importance of a careful selection of materials, and anti-corrosive measurements, as part of the integral management of the drinking water networks. The risk will be depending on the material. Of course, asbestos is not being used anymore, but the rest of the above mentioned and others are being used. Depending on the operation conditions, products from the interaction between material and water remain on the surface of the pipe or leach downstream, opening the opportunity of affecting the organoleptic properties of the water to be consumed. Also, the remaining corrosion products would be a host of chemical and biological harmful species, potentially dissolved into the water, anytime.

Talking about metallic pipes, in the case of ferrous materials, common corrosion products founded on the surfaces are iron oxides and oxyhydroxides as magnetite, goethite, and lepidocrocite. In principle, leaching of iron ions into the downstream could disturb taste, color, and odor. Iron is an essential trace element in living organisms. Toxicity appears only at very high levels, wish are not common in aqueducts, and the taste and appearance of drinking water will usually be extremely affected below the health risky level.

Thinking about corrosion of the Zn layer on galvanized steel or any other situation with this element, it is known that its corrosion products and its ions specifically are relatively harmless, in comparison to several other metal species, and intoxication is a very scarce event. On the opposite side, speciation of metals as Cu, Ni, and Cr, pure and in alloys, is of more serious concern. They are important for life. Also, their anti-microbial properties are an advantage, for instance, preventing the biofilm appearance. Because of the same reason, in high concentrations, they are toxic to human beings. Drinking water is one of the important sources of copper, in addition to food. Of course, drinking water consumption from copper pipe systems can increase exposure. According to the World Health Organization, an upper limit, considering an ingestion of 2-3 L of water a day, must be 2 mg Cu/L. High concentrations must be avoided, not only because such amounts of dissolved Cu can change the organoleptic properties (blueish or blue-green color, and aftertaste), but also because of the health risk. Considering Ni, its health effects include dermatitis, headache, gastrointestinal issues, respiratory illness, cardiovascular dysfunctions, and epigenetic effects. However, prevailing doses of leaching from Ni alloys in normal conditions of operation inside drinking water pipelines are in the same order that amounts founded in a natural environment. Risk rises with the accumulation of the ions due to the operational conditions. A similar situation happens with Cr ions. In general, drinking-water intake is a minor source than food. Nevertheless, there is an increasing concern about situations where the presence of Cr(VI) can be promoted, apparently associated with the dissolution of Cr(0). -Source-

More adherent corrosion products can remain on the pipe surface. Besides, organic and inorganic species into the water can precipitate on the piping walls, independent of the nature of the material, metal, polymer, or ceramic. Deposits or concretions are formed, often tubercles. A typical composition of a surface deposit includes a mixture of corrosion products and others like calcite, aluminosilicates, silica, volatile solids, and organic matter -Source-. Usually, these layers on the inside walls of the pipelines are a proper ecosystem for bacterial growth.

Micro bacterial activity on the pipe walls gives rise to other phenomena. The opportunity of simultaneous chemical and biological effects on the metallic subtract of the pipe gives rise to the microbiologically induced corrosion – MIC, an additional mechanism of the attack on the whole infrastructure. As a result, the corrosive attack can be accelerated. Moreover, colonies of microorganisms can be established on the pipe walls, a biofilm, a surface deposit of organic and inorganic materials, including microorganisms, microbial products, and detritus, of slimy appearance. The stability, amount, and influence of this biofilm on the corrosive attack and the water quality depend on the physical, chemical, physicochemical, and hydraulic conditions of the transported water. One of the consequences of biofilm, reported in the “Flint’s crisis” killing the first nine people, is the “Legionnaires’ disease”. This effect is one of the most reported waterborne disease outbreaks in the USA today. The Legionella is a natural bacteria growing as biofilm in water. But at warm temperatures, it has accelerated development. Thus, special niches are systems and equipment in buildings that store hot water for relatively long times, as hotels, hospitals, residences, and others.

Corrosionists 4.0

Looking at the current situation of drinking water systems, both in the developed and undeveloped countries, is a paramount challenge for corrosionists and network managers. Current problems concerning the water are huge, and they are related to deleterious effects on the infrastructure, the age of many of the systems, the water treatment conditions, the quality of the liquid to be drunk, and many others. But, as it was said at the beginning, right now, potable water shrinkage is a reality. As a result, in the coming decades, corrosionists must face problems related to the water that we do not have. Probably, one of the challenges to attend will be the management of the integrity of infrastructure supporting water sources exploration on the Moon, Mars, and cosmic bodies.

Something more imminent concerns the Earth’s non-conventional potable sources. One of them, very promising, now in an early development stage, is the desalinization of seawater. The seafood had been an exceptional source of nutrition for humankind, along with history. Other businesses as transportation have been developed thanks to the oceans. Sporadically, aquaculture marine activities are being accomplished. The “Blue Economy'' is starting, and new opportunities are arriving, including new energy sources, new mineral depots, but also the option of freshwater besides. Desalinization is gaining momentum, its cost is high, corrosion prevention is one the main reasons, new materials are needed, cheaper plants, too. This is one of the new challenges, in addition to the traditional ones. Fortunately, there is starting a revolution in materials engineering. We, the professionals in charge of the asset integrity management are responsible for the soon arrival of a revolution in corrosion engineering, too. Remember: Protection of materials and equipment is good business!

Prof. Carlos Arroyave, Ph.D. Editor.

Materials Biz News

Searching for reinforced concrete for the Circular Economy

One of the fronts of development directed to fulfill the goals of the Circular Economy is about design criteria associated with much longer life structures. Here, there are examples of efforts about that, with interesting results:

POSCO, the South Korean steelmaker launched its new product SP-CIP Pile. Rebar is substituted by high strength steel pipe and then a pipe pile is manufactured by welding, before its installation at the groundwork place. As a result, lighter and stronger cast piles are been obtained. -Read More-

A research line led by Prof. Henk Jonkers ([email protected]) at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of the TU Delft University (The Netherlands), is related to self-healing bio-concrete, a form of concrete designed to self-repair its cracks. In 2015, The European Patent Office awarded Prof. Jonkers as one of the selected inventions associated with research -Watch Video-.

After that, some other Ph.D. investigations have been developed and still, others are underway, under the supervision of Prof. Jonkers.

The journal Resources, Conservation & Recycling has published the paper “Development of zero cement composite for the protection of concrete sewage pipes from corrosion and fatbergs” by R. Roychand et al. from RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia). According to the researchers, they have developed an eco-friendly zero-cement concrete able to withstand the corrosive environments found in sewer pipes, and, with further research, it could be extremally resistant to acid corrosion. -Read More-

Catalog of European atmospheric exposure sites

A project on the subject has been launched by Working Party 25 Atmospheric Corrosion of the European Federation of Corrosion (EFC). The main purpose of the initiative is to prepare a catalog of European atmospheric corrosion field exposure sites. The project leader and contact point is Dr. Tomáš Prošek, Head of Department of Metallic Construction Materials at Technopark Kralupy, University of Chemical Technology, Prague. A good example to be followed in other regions and continents. -Read More-

Entering the new wave

3D Printing Industry launched its new communication channel oriented to strengthen its interaction with people involved with additive manufacturing. Right now the company is promoting its new podcast channel named “Another dimension”. The first episode of this podcast deals with a discussion by Michael Petch, 3D Printing Editor-in-chief, about how carmakers have used 3D printing in the past, and how through manufacturing facility investments, collaborative projects, and battery research divisions, additive manufacturing is driving the autonomous electric vehicle revolution -Listen-.​

In the same way, CAST IRON, a podcast led by Eunan McEniry from the Department of Computational Materials Design here at the Max Planck Institute fuer Eisenforschung, is announcing a new episode devoted to the work about the development of hydrogen-resistant steel by Prof. Poulumi Dey, from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands** -Listen-​**


Manufacturing Shop Operations Team Manager - Jamestown, NY, USA

CUMMINS is seeking for a professional specialized in manufacturing to work at its Engine Plant at Jamestown (New York, USA). Main duties will be related to the supervision of the production activities, leading to improvement actions and to hold relationships with stakeholders. Candidates with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical, Quality, or Industrial Engineering are preferred.

Projects leader - Vienna, Austria

The Department of Nuclear Safety and Security of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna (Austria) is looking for candidates interested in a vacancy as “Project Manager”. Basic responsibilities include planning and coordination of projects about capacity building ( seismic qualification of systems and components) as part of the development of national competences on the issues handled by the IAEA. The expected background includes a Master’s Degree or equivalent in engineering or physical/nuclear science, and a minimum of seven years of experience in applying nuclear safety principles and state-of-the-art nuclear safety techniques to site evaluation.

Ph.D. student position - Madrid, Spain

The CIEMAT (Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas- offers a position for a Ph.D. student (3 + 1 years), for the development of research on multiscale modeling of irradiation damage in materials of interest for fusion. Required background includes

A Master’s Degree in Physics, Material Science, Computational Science, or Chemistry. Valuable skills include C++, Python, and CUDA (GPUs). Knowledge in materials science, irradiation process, and continuum mechanics will be a value-added. Contacts: Dr. Christophe Ortiz ([email protected]).

Stimulating internship for Ph.D. students - Laxenburg, Austria

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis - IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria, is asking for applications to the Young Scientists Summer Program. There are up to 50 fellowships, for doctoral students from around the world to develop a summer project (from 1st June to 31st August) at the IIASA. The Basic condition is to apply a systems approach in support of sustainability, and the specific subjects to be developed include issues as energy, water, and air quality and greenhouse gases.

Networking & Knowledge Exchange

III Colombian Summit on Oil and Gas - Virtual

Colombia, in the Northwest corner of South America, is one of the 30 stronger economies worldwide, with huge natural resources, both mineral and biological. By tradition, the country is one of the small players in the international market of O&G. But this sector is fundamental for the domestic economy. According to that, some Colombian organizations, including the Colombian Association of Engineers, are inviting to attend the III Colombian Summit on Oil and Gas, which will be held from November 18th to 20th 2020. Planned activities include technical lectures, business roundtable, live chat, and simultaneous translation.

Corrosion management for the Blue Economy - Virtual

NACE International invites to attend a short course on “Marine Biofouling Management”, scheduled on November 9th (self-paced presentations released), and November 12th (Live Q&A Session), 2020. Highlighted issues to be considered include economic and environmental impacts, regulations, mitigation, and protective coatings.

Going deeper into corrosion understanding

The Corrosion Institute of Southern Africa is organizing a “Corrosion Engineering Course” that will take place from November 2 to 6, 2020. The scope of the event is to train people in the industry on the principles of corrosion science and engineering. Topics to be considered include fundamentals of the phenomenon, forms of attack, corrosives, and prevention and control measures.

For registration and information: [email protected].

Future leaders in materials science and engineering speak - Virtual

Professors from the Universities of Pennsylvania State, Case Western Reserve, Tennessee Knoxville, Central Florida, and Colorado School of Mines are the organizers of the North American Colloquium Series - Fall 2020. The event includes a cycle of webinars, presented by senior graduate students and post-doctoral scholars in the field of materials science and engineering from 35 universities in Canada and the USA. Interested people can attend both live talks and pre-recorded ones. The series started on September 10th and will be finishing on December 18th.

Among the topics already covered and recorded are:

-“Manufacturing of Advanced Materials for the 21st Century”.

-“The Subsurface Structure of Abraded Al Alloys and its Influences on Corrosion”.

Among the topics to still be discussed, the following are underlined:

-“Liquid Metal Embrittlement Susceptibility of Zn-Coated Advanced High Strength Steels”.

-“Four-Dimensional (4D) Microstructural and Electrochemical Characterization of Corrosion in High-Performance Light Metal Alloys”.

-“Nonequilibrium Deformation and Engineering of Materials”.

A meeting point for suppliers and manufacturers of the coatings industry - Virtual

Virtual and face-to-face. The 25th edition of the annual “China International Exhibition for Coatings, Printing Inks and Adhesives” will be held in Guangzhou, P. R. China from 8th to 10th of December 2020. In this opportunity, the fair will be distributed in five exhibition zones concerning raw materials, powder coatings technology, UV/EB technology, Chinese machinery, and international machinery. Due to the current situation by the COVID-19, the organizers are offering the option of virtual attendance to the scheduled activities, including commercial exhibitions, technical seminars and webinars, and opportunities for business interaction.

Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash