Materials.Business Weekly ⚙️

October 27, 2020

Quote of the week: “In engineering, where there is a problem, there is a solution.” Professor Abdul-Ghani, Qatar University. -Link-

From The Editor's Corner


One planet only

Green is the color of sustainability. Green is the placard of Goal 13 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 2030 concerning Climate Action. Green must be a universal obsession in front of the climate change that is threatening our planet right now, something fully evident with the increase of temperature around the globe, and many other consequences that are happening: polar ice and mountain snows are disappearing, wind, sea waves, and rain regimes are changing, droughts and floods are increasing accelerated. Life is becoming harder. One of the main factors on this warming, since the mid-20th century, has been the greenhouse gases because anthropogenic emissions have been increasing exponentially since that. Almost 80 percent of these gases are carbon dioxide, and the global CO2 emission in 2019 were estimated at 34,000 million tons.

The air we breathe and the steel we use and produce

Most of the other UN Goals are also directly related to atmospheric pollution. Reasons for this concern are related to figures and estimations of 2017, regarding greenhouse gases, particulate matter, and ozone. According to that, air pollution contributed to close to 5 million deaths globally (nearly 10 percent of the total deaths). Furthermore, air pollution reduced life expectancy by 1.7 years on average worldwide. At the same time, UNG 12 ask for “Responsible Consumption and Production”. Here arises the problem (a challenge) because about seven percent of the CO2 emitted to the atmosphere comes from the steelmaking process. Moreover, according to several estimations, about ten percent of the steel produced worldwide is allocated for substitution of parts and equipment that has been corroded. In conclusion, of the order of 240 million tons of CO2 were emitted to the atmosphere due to the corrosion of materials. But a vicious cycle is well established because of the total annual global cost of corrosion. About US $2.500.000.000, 30 to 50 percent is due to atmospheric corrosion, and one of the main factors of this phenomenon is pollution.

Green steel is a commitment

Taking into account the above picture, nowadays it is an obligation to look for new ways of steel production. As an answer, there are known several initiatives searching for less pollutant steelmaking processes. Examples of these attempts include efforts oriented to the production of carbon-neutral (or even negative) steel, minimizing the carbon and coke used in the raw materials by applying new technologies based on hydrogen as reducer and fuel in the blast furnace, and other steps of the production chain -Source-. In the same way, in 2016, the corporations SSAB, LKAB, and Vattenfall started the initiative HYBRIT seeking for the substitution of coke and coal by fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. Recently, the consortium has started up the world’s first pilot plant for the production of fossil-free sponge iron, near to Luleå. The full project includes using natural gas and hydrogen to reduce iron ore, hydrogen production by electrolyzing water with fossil-free electricity, hydrogen store studies, and bio-oil to replace fossil oil in palletization manufacturing. The final scope includes the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 7 percent in Sweden and 10 percent in Finland -Source-.

Beyond the decarbonization of steelmaking, other serious environmental issues must be taken care of urgently. These other challenges are associated with the need for raw materials reduction as iron ore (3332 million tons were produced in 2017), lime, fuels, water, additives, and so on. Also, millions of cubic meters of polluted water and millions of tons of solid waste are generated. Here, it is necessary to think about strategies as proposed in the frame of the Circular Economy principles. That means that it is necessary to take measures about product usage and the extension of their life (design for a longer lifetime), in addition to the manufacturing ones. More corrosion-resistant steels, “green steels”.

A centenary solution: self-protective steels

Corrosion engineers had been found valuable answers several decades ago. One of these solutions is weathering steel – WS. With the effervescent of the Second Industrial Revolution, more than 100 years ago, with a huge need for more proper materials, D.M. Buck proposed for the first time, the addition of Cu to the steel, looking for better corrosion resistance. Problems arose, including hardening for processing, weldability, higher fabrication cost, and a consequently higher total cost (around 30 percent over mild or carbon steel - CS). The basic difference with CS is the small amounts of some alloying elements, usually less than one percent of each one, and not more than 3 percent in total. Added elements are Cu, Cr, Ni, Nb, and V, and because of the improvement of the mechanical properties, they are known as high-strength low alloy steels – HSLA. A typical composition, in agreement with the most widely used, the ASTM Standard A 588, is 0.103%C, 0.393%Si, 1.251%Mn, 0.007%S, 0.018%P, 0.039%Ni, 0.595%Cr, 0.001%M0, 0.028%Al, 0.352%Cu, 0.014%Pb, 0.001%Sn, 0.001%V, 0.02%Zr.

The United States Steel Corporation began its use in 1933 on wagons to transport minerals and patented as COR-TEN® steel. Due to its good anti-corrosive behavior, after some years of exposure required for the formation of the protective rust layer, usually 3 to 5 years, attention on WS grew. So, some years later, J. B. Horton presented a Master thesis and then a paper during the 4th International Corrosion Congress, in Amsterdam, 1969, talking about the distribution of the alloying elements in the rust layer of WS. According to these studies, the rust layer on the WS shows similar constituents than carbon steel but also acts as a sink or concentrator of alloying elements like Cu, Cr, and P.

Here is important to give a bird´s eye view of what rust is. In essence, it is the product of the corrosion phenomena on iron and steel according to a reaction between Fe, O2, and H2O. Products include hydrated ferric oxides, or oxyhydroxides like goethite, akagenite, and lepidocrocite, with variables levels of crystallinity. Also, iron oxides (magnetite, hematite, and maghemite), silica, alumina, Ca, Na, and others. Substances formed in the corrosion reaction or coming from the substrate or the environment. Proportions will be depending on the substrate composition and the environment, too. Also, climatological factors, time of exposure, and so on. All of them, including the effects of the rust processes formation (charge transference, direct adsorption, diffusion in solution, roughness formation, etc.), finally led to a very complex process of rust formation.

In the seventies, L.R.M. Miranda found basic and stable sulfates remaining in the rust. Also, the dual nature of the rust layer or stratification in an outer rust sublayer, less protective, mainly lepidocrocite (reddish), and formed at the beginning of the exposure. Also, an inner sublayer develops later. This one is rich in alloying elements (Cu, Cr, and P), where their presence inhibits the formation of less protective constituents like magnetite. Instead, the alloying elements migrated to the rust, foster the formation of goethite (greyish) and ferrihydrite, and, as a result, a dense, adherent, and protective inner sublayer, responsible for the final good behavior of WS in certain circumstances.

Going deeper, T. Fukushima et al., in 1982, showed that alloying elements also inhibit the non-metallic inclusions dissolution, contributing to the reduction of the corrosive attack. Also, it announced the effect of Cu on the reduction of the size of the colloidal particles, accelerating the amorphous constituents’ formation and the inhibition of spinels like magnetite and maghemite. I. Suzuki reinforced the idea of the higher flocculant force of the colloidal particles, giving, as a result, a higher mechanical resistance of the rust layer and the inhibition of spinel formation, with a consequent less electrical conductivity. Later on, I. V. Aoki demonstrated that the conductivity drop is mainly associated with the effect of Cr on the decrease of the electronic density of the rust constituents.

Keeping in mind that the behavior of WS was not good in marine atmospheres, the Editor showed some years ago that atmospheric sulfates have a positive influence as catalyzers of the effect of the alloying elements, including the inhibition of the magnetite formation, through electrochemical mechanisms. Nevertheless, such a positive effect disappears in the presence of chlorides. These results have been confirmed several times, showing that at low chloride concentrations, WS can be passivated by the rust layer. Besides, at higher concentrations, passivation is not possible, and rust constituents change considerably from different points of view, including the relevant presence of akagenite, and a thicker, disordered, cracked, porous, exfoliated, and less adherent, a non-protective layer of corrosion products. As a result of the developments until then, it was possible to say that using WS pays for the environment, but also save money for countries, corporations, and people. Remember: Protection of materials and equipment is good business!

Prof. Carlos Arroyave, Ph.D. Editor.

Materials Biz News

Self-healing steel

New developments, new challenges. Nowadays, in front of the energy transition, other exposure conditions ask for different resistant materials. So, ArcelorMittal is promoting some new steels developed to withstand novel conditions as wind and solar farms for energy production. In this sense, the Company has announced that in a partnership with EDF Energie Nouvelles, is searching for solar panel materials that can support extreme conditions of temperature, moisture, and salt. As a result, they have found that Magnelis®, a zinc coating with 3.5 percent Al, and 3 percent Mg, is protecting the steel substrate even when it becomes exposed on edges, welds, perforations, and scratches. Such behavior is associated with the formation of a very dense zinc-base protected film over the area that has been exposed previously. -Read More-

Battery recycling

On the same line of a greener energy transition, a research group at the School of Materials Science and Engineering of the Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore, has published a paper announcing a new hydrometallurgical process for Li-ion batteries recycling. According to the authors, orange peel powder is used as a reductant of the battery scraps, reaching a leaching efficiency of 80-99 percent of Ni, Mn, Co, and Li. Then, new LiCoO2 batteries were manufactured using these recovered raw materials, showing the commercial expected performance. -Read More-

“The end of the molds”

It is a great disruption on materials engineering, explicitly proclaimed by XtreeE, a company based in France. A consortium including XtreeE has been awarded a contract for the design and built of a pedestrian footbridge made by additive manufacturing structural concrete. The construction will be located in Seine Saint Denis, Greater Paris, as one of the monuments for the celebration of the 2024 Olympic Games. The printing material will be furnished by LafargeHolcim, and according to the responsible, the combination of prestressed techniques and 3D printing will allow a saving of 60 percent of the concrete required for conventional construction. -Read More-

Towards new manufacturing options

TAV Vacuum Furnaces, a company dedicated to high vacuum furnaces, based in Italy, is offering the option of downloading, free-of-charge, a guidebook entitled “Vacuum Sintering”. Content includes the explanation of the process, sintering options, troubleshooting solving, and tailorable furnace options. -Read More-


Specialist, Engineering, Maintenance & Utilities - West Point, Pennsylvania, USA

Merck (MSD), the global biopharmaceutical corporation, is seeking for candidates with a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Science, or a four-year Engineering Technology Degree, plus three or more years of experience in manufacturing, and a good knowledge of engineering standards. Duties to assume include a leading position regarding a maintenance program, operation improvements, quality and safety standards handling, projects management, and team-working skills.

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Chief Engineering Expert - Moscow, Russia

MPH Vostok, is a specialized headhunter for the oil and gas, petrochemical, nuclear, energy, mining industries, as well as the industrial construction and production of equipment and materials. Right now, MPH Vostok is seeking candidates with experience on LNG projects, to work for a large engineering, procurement, and construction company in Moscow, dealing as a consultant providing support to the project team on the development of the project. Experience in HVAC for LNG projects and spoken English are mandatory. Contact Here

Post-doctorate -Galway, Ireland

The SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing in Ireland, at the National University of Ireland, Galway is seeking for candidates to develop postdoctoral research as part of a project in collaboration with the IMDEA (Madrid), oriented to the development of multi-physics, multi-scale models of metal laser-based powder bed fusion processing and post-process heat treatments. Essential candidates’ background must include a Ph.D. in solid mechanics, materials modeling, computational physics, or a closely related, and knowledge of metallurgical processes for metals, such as Ti6Al4V, modeling of metallurgical processes, development of phase-field modeling code for metallic materials applied to manufacture processes like additive manufacturing or welding, material modeling and code development, and finite element modeling. Contact: Prof. Seán Leen.

Promoting the next generation of corrosionists

NACE East Asia and Pacific Area Young Scholar Award. The NACE Foundation, on behalf of the Chinese Society for Corrosion and Protection, will award up to three scholarships. As basic conditions, applicants must be enrolled full-time in a graduate program in NACE East Asia and Pacific Area boundaries or Chinese students studying in other countries, and demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in the area of Corrosion Science and Engineering.

Networking & Knowledge Exchange

International Fair for Paints and Industrial Coatings – FIPREC - Virtual

INFOCORROSION is co-organizing the First Virtual Fair in Spanish in the frame of EXPO-Peru 2020. This event will be held from 4th to 6th of November, 2020. According to the organizers, the fair will be open 24/7, and corporations and individuals are expected to participate from around the world. Full options of virtual live networking meetings between visitors and expositors are been arranged. Virtual stands are still available.

Learning from failures and mistakes - Virtual

The Energy Institute, Middle East branch, invites to attend a free webinar devote to listen about “100 Largest Losses in the Hydrocarbon Industry & Process Safety Management”. A healthy perspective on a series of accidents and failures at the O&G industry along the last twenty-five years, and the picked-up lessons useful to avoid their occurrence, again. The webinar will be held on the 3rd of November 2020, from 11:00 to 12:00 GMT.

Materials design for a better future - Virtual

As part of its cycle of Thursday seminars, the R&D100 journal is calling to attend a webinar on the 19th of November 2020, from 14:00 to 15:00 EST (USA), entitled “Green Chemistry: The Missing Element”. The speech will be oriented to talk about green chemistry and the opportunities for the next generation of materials designers to create a safer and more sustainable future. The invited speaker is John C. Warner, a distinguished research fellow at the Zymergen Corp. He is the inventor of more than 300 patents about the subject of the presentation, and a Distinguished Professor of Green Chemistry at Monash University in Australia.

O&G meeting point in South Africa

African Petrochemicals, in partnership with the Corrosion Institute of Southern Africa, is organizing the “Secunda Petrochemicals IPP & Renewables Roadshow”, to be held at the Sasol Recreation Club, Nelson Mandela Drive, Secunda, Mpumalanga, on 6th of November 2020, from 9:30 to 16:00. According to the announcement, this event includes high-end instrumentation, health safety and environmental, mechanical as well as plant optimization solutions that cater specifically for the industry’s needs, and gives the opportunity of strong networking interaction between end-users and suppliers. These Roadshows include.

Taking care of infrastructure for water handling - Virtual

The NACE Water/Wastewater Council is inviting to attend a live webinar on “Tools and Techniques for Managing Corrosion at Water and Wastewater Utilities, to be held on 3rd of November 2020, from 14:00 to 15:00 (EST (USA). The invited speaker is John W. Norton, Jr., Ph.D., PE, Director of Energy, Research, and Innovation at Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), Southeast Michigan (USA). Subjects to be considered include:

-Basics of chemical, biological, and galvanic sources of corrosion found within water infrastructure;

-Types of corrosion commonly found within water sector infrastructure;

-Methods for assessing corrosion in water/wastewater infrastructure;

-Methods to resolve corrosion in water/wastewater infrastructure;

-Recommendations for utilities who wish to improve their corrosion management programs, based on lessons learned from the GLWA.

Photo by Milo Miloezger on Unsplash