Materials.Business Weekly ⚙️

March 30, 2021

Quote of the week: “One of the worst things we can do is when this is over, we just go back to normal. If you don't learn from it, then history will repeat itself.” — Prof. Dale Fisher, Australian born. National University Hospital, Singapore. @profdalefisher.

From The Editor's Corner


Pre-Pandemic perspective

​For most of us is comprehensible that one year ago, the vision about focusing on the new efforts concerning the development of materials science and engineering in the coming decades would be something in agreement with the usual status quo at that time—big and traditional companies growing stable and new firms looking for a good positioning into the market. At that moment, the globalized world had been crossed by the emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and concerns about sustainability had become familiar press headlines. Environmental and energy issues are directly associated with this sustainability. In such a scenario, perspectives of expected answers to the societal materials requirements may be appreciated by looking at the information regarding efforts and goals of some of the entities involved with materials advance. For example, Materials Research Forum LLC aims to publish the most up-to-date knowledge of current research and information books valuable to our community of materials science and engineers. Its latest catalog included over 20 books published in 2020 about subjects like assets integrity (terotechnology), the energy transition (lithium and sodium-ion batteries, energy storage, and carbon-capture materials, perovskite solar cells, water splitting), green materials (bio-degradable composites), biomedical materials (Ti-based alloys), magnetic materials (magnetocaloric and magnetochemistry), NDT (neutron radiography), sensorics (graphene-based, THz and IR detectors, and photoactive), and additive manufacturing. Besides, an example of the research lines declared by the most recognized institutions worldwide are the subjects considered by the Institute for Materials Discovery and Design at the University of California San Diego, USA:

​● Energy materials:

o High-endurance solar cell, fuel cell, and battery materials and devices.

o Biofuels, solar fuels, and sustainable energy conversion materials.

o Membranes, electrocatalysts, and photocatalysts.

● Electronic materials:

o Quantum materials for quantum sensing, communication, and computation.

o Materials for 5G/6G communications and 3D integration.

o Lasers and next-generation optical and display materials.

● Bio-inspired materials:

o Therapeutic nanoparticles.

o Small molecules and proteins.

o Bio-inspired and bio-based materials.

o 3D-printed medical implants.

o Biomedical devices.

Furthermore, the same Institute has goals concerning data-driven materials research, nano-scale materials fabrication and characterization, and an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

​To get a better idea about the international priorities in the development of materials engineering planned before 2020, it is also interesting to know the research lines of a novel research center like the Norwegian Manufacturing Research Centre, established in 2017. The following is the list of its research topics:

● New business models: Product service systems, lifecycle perspective.

● Production Processes: Formative, substantive, additive, and compound.

● Digitalization of Production: Industry 4.0, SCADA/MES, wireless sensor network, flexible automation, artificial intelligence, large data amounts, information security.

● Modeling, simulation, and optimization: Multiscale modeling, learning/knowledge/analysis/decision support/optimization.

● Zero error production: Quality, variety, tolerances, risk management, surfaces.

● Technology management: Management, material flow, maintenance, organization, ICT.

● Material technology: New alloys, Multi-materials, bio-materials, high-entropy materials, composites, wood-based materials, core materials, coating technology.

● Product development: Lean product development, modeling & testing, optimization universal design.

● Circular economy, sustainability: Life Cycle Analysis/ Life Cycle Cost, remanufacturing, reverse logistics.

The year of the break

​Last December, the publishing company Elsevier launched a supplement of Materials Today journal, entitled “Materials in 2020 - What’s shaped this year’s materials world. Research in the time of covid-19”. This document is a good reference of what research issues were ready for publishing when the world was confined. Of course, the list of subjects is in agreement with the purposes above-mentioned. Besides, it is possible to recognize some flashes of change in research direction as a quick answer to the emerging challenges. The topics covered were lithium-ion batteries (electrodes, electrolytes, new technologies, and capacity), energy storage (new materials, super storage, flow batteries), solar energy (more efficient and cheaper perovskite solar cells), quantum materials (topological insulators and 2-D materials, and room-temperature superconductors), biomaterials (bio-mimetic fibers, cellulosic-based materials, printing bio-inks, implant materials), and SARS-CoV-2 tackling (Ni-foam killing filters for air conditioning systems, bio-mimetics of anti-body behavior). A specific review about the last point of the answer against covid-19 had been published last November. In this paper, the authors underlined the current contribution of materials science to the manufacturing of protective equipment and detection devices. Also, they mentioned the possibilities of assistance in synthetic materials platforms for organs-on-a-chip research, in drug delivery and vaccination, and for the production of medical equipment.

It is time for a great reset

A quotation as the header of this newsletter is aligned with some other calls by global leaders asking for a worldwide mindset switching. For instance, Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum – WEF - remembers that there is an opportunity in every crisis and that the post-Covid is the time for a great reset. In a podcast episode about the current situation, Schwab says that if we act quickly and jointly, resetting our economic and social foundations, we can come out from this crisis as a better world. The proposed sketch by the WEF about how to handle this reset includes seven pillars: Redesigning social contracts, skills, and jobs; shaping the economic recovery; revitalizing global cooperation; developing sustainable business models; strengthening regional development; restoring the health of the environment; and harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In summary, it is a global call to action in front of the concerns before the current crisis, adding the need for a more human, equalitarian, and collective perspective, taking advantage of technological development. A list of +50 issues related to such pillars is proposed. Some of these themes are directly linked to materials science and engineering but also materials protection and performance. For example, advanced manufacturing & production, 3D printing, plastics, batteries, inclusive design, Fourth Industrial Revolution, sustainable development, climate change, air pollution, the ocean, environmental security, circular economy, digital economy, robotics, drones, aviation, urbanization, leadership in the I-4.0, future of economic progress, workforce and employment, and mobility. Without any doubt, a clear call for a great mindset reset of all people involved with materials science and engineering, in particular corrosionists in charge of the materials and industrial assets integrity. A reset looking for our contribution to a more equal, more sustainable, and more resilient world, with a much better quality of life for all.

Let´s prepare the materials and assets protection for the post-globalization

We have to move to a new field for corrosion and anticorrosion management, attending the global and local needs. All of them are pressing problems about a healthy society, a healthy environment, and a higher way of life supported by current and coming knowledge developments. It is the expected situation, very different from the current one: the era of post-globalization or the society of the second half of the 21st century.

​Asking about how to proceed, three months ago, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine of the USA arranged a workshop entitled “Materials Science and Engineering in A Post-Pandemic World.” Invited speakers were materials specialists from universities, public and private research centers, and companies from the USA, Singapore, and Switzerland. Conclusions included negative and positive effects of the pandemic on materials and manufacturing. Furthermore, a list of advice about what to do:

​● More vital collaboration around the Triple Helix university-government-industry.

● Curricular changes: Digital literacy, multi-disciplinary, convergent manufacturing, etc.

● Improved infrastructures.

● Talent pipelines.

● A more diverse workforce.

● Transparency.

​Curiously, there are no technical issues in the mentioned list of conclusions. But it is easy to understand that urgencies are mainly societal and economic, transversal to technical ones or managerial.

​With the same purpose, the Henry Royce Institute, the UK national institute for advanced materials research and innovation, created in 2015, organized its annual conference 2021 last week. The event aimed to fit its goals into the post-pandemic and post-Brexit time and become a globally competitive sector. The summit was entitled “Developing Advanced Materials for a Sustainable Society.” Invited speakers were national and international experts from industry, academia, and national laboratories. The event was split into two branches, considering two main subjects of interest for the Institute and the country: cross-cutting themes (imaging & characterization, and materials modeling) and an agenda for sustainability (degradation in structural materials for net-zero, materials 4.0, materials for fusion, materials for the hydrogen economy, and sustainable packaging & plastics). Some of the sessions concerning materials protection and performance included presentations on:

​● Material systems for demanding environments: Discussed topics were corrosion wear, bio-corrosion, advanced coatings for high-temperature applications, degradation mechanisms within PEM fuel cells, hot corrosion and corrosion fatigue, environmental degradation of additive manufactured components, hydrogen embrittlement, and modeling associated with degrading systems.

Degradation in structural materials for net-zero: This session was devoted to presenting the advances of a review of the critical degradation issues in structural materials used to drive the UK towards the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Also, this session included presentations on current opportunities facing challenges about carbon capture & storage and hydrogen energy. Concerning the review, the Institute presented preliminary results about a survey between companies of five sectors: wind power generation, transportation, nuclear fission, carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen production and usage. Results show figures like challenges facing alloys in higher temperature applications. In order from higher to lower impact, the challenges are concerning with: fatigue, hydrogen embrittlement, new materials, corrosion, standards, lifting, irradiation damage, creep, creep-fatigue, corrosion-fatigue, CO₂ environment, manufacturing, additive manufacturing, inspection/monitoring, mechanistic modeling, test methods, long term tests, and in-situ testing.

​In conclusion, it is good to say that there are concerns about the future of materials caring for supporting human civilization in the coming decades. Some facts can be highlighted, like the increasing complexity of the challenges and the overlapping of disciplines. However, worries must be appropriated by the whole of our community worldwide. That means a general concern for each corrosionist, each enterprise, each country, and region. Sometimes, challenges are the same, sometimes not. On the other side, assessments as the above-referred are associated with well-developed countries and industries. Many of their conclusions are not easy to extrapolate to most countries, regions, and companies. Some other basic questions must also be answered, including the certainty of common consensus industry-academy about the challenges and the inclusion of societal challenges, such as the need for new and advanced materials for all. Actions to be developed into the frame of the Great Mindset Reset.

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

Prof. Carlos Arroyave, Ph.D. Editor.

Materials Biz News

We have lost a great Egyptian corrosionist woman

With great sadness, we have received the news mentioning that Prof. Venice Gouda has passed away some days before. She was a unique person, both for her personal and professional qualities. Venice received her B.Sc. degree from Ain Shams University and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Cairo University. Some of her responsibilities included a position as an associate professor at the Clarkson College of Technology, New York, Research Professor and Director of the Applied Inorganic Chemistry Division at the Egyptian National Research Center, and Egyptian Minister of State for Scientific Research from 1993 until 1997. Gouda was an active member of the International Corrosion Council. We had the opportunity to learn from her broad knowledge and experience on corrosion topics like inhibitors and rebar corrosion and international cooperation’s strategic planning. She was a leader in the community of Mediterranean women in science and technology. Thanks forever, Professor Venice Gouda.

Assets inspection and protection in the post-globalization era

Technological developments are precipitating for good. An example of the quick advance in this sense is Scout Drone Inspection’s announcement, a Norwegian company aimed to build drones to inspect industrial assets, about an investment round of USD $3.2 million Equinor Ventures and DNV. As a sign of the Company's expectancies, currently, there are nine existing shareholders and four new private investors. According to the shared information, ScoutDI creates specialized drones and associated cloud-based data analysis services for internal industrial inspection of ship tanks and similar confined space environments. The drones are equipped with advanced laser sensors that can create a 3D map of the surroundings and, at the same time, estimate the drone’s position in the 3D space. All inspection data is tagged with location information in the 3D model so that it is easy to understand where the findings need to be followed up through maintenance. Among the first customers is a large ship inspection company based in Singapore.

Corrosion and protection awareness is essential for the future

Most of us agree that corrosion and protection of materials have been losing importance as an economic issue. Evidence of this decline during the last decades are, for instance, the lower presence of the subject in curricula, and the growing economic impact of the corrosion problems, always encompassed with the GDP. Reasons are the lower interest in the STEM disciplines in favor of others, such as administrative ones. More recently, the competence with the ICT disciplines. There are mentioned wrong managerial practices around corrosion engineering and staff training and handling at the industrial level. Nevertheless, faced the current situation of huge concerns about sustainability and materials protection in developing systems as a Circular Economic. We have potent arguments for fighting such omission with a campaign, more vital as possible, seeking a deep social awareness about materials and industrial assets proper management. Some years ago, the 24th of April was declared as the “Corrosion Awareness Day,” and there are some invitations by companies as Envirorinse, entities as the Institute of Corrosion, and associations like the EFC and the Corrosion Institute of South Africa, to take part of a series of programmed activities. Materials.Business also invites all the corrosionists’ community to celebrate such a date and consider April as the “corrosion and anticorrosion month” and all our days as our maximum responsibility journeys.


Rocketing entrepreneurship in developing countries

The IEEE Innovation Nation program was founded in 2017 by Eddy Custovic, a Bosnian and Herzegovinian entrepreneur and philanthropist, and supported by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Entrepreneurship program. Such initiative seeks to create an inclusive global entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem by helping IEEE members and prospective entrepreneurs in low-income countries refine their initial ideas and develop a working prototype to launch a company. In the end, The IEEE New Initiatives committee provides funding for the first three years of each Innovation Nation project; after that, the project needs to sustain itself. Consequently, funding for the program is required, and new sponsors are very welcome.

Caring of chemical process equipment. Newark, USA.

Position: Senior Materials Engineer - High-Temperature Applications

Seeker: Chemours

The basic profile of the candidate:

● Education: Ph.D. in Materials Engineering or Materials Engineering with 5+ years of industrial experience.

● Experience: Corrosion and wear of metallic materials at high temperatures, selection and specification of metallic materials, and mechanical property testing, and the identification of the modes of mechanical failure of metals.

● Bonus: Expertise in characterization methods including SEM / EDS and XRD; experience with surface engineering of metals to produce enhanced functionality including erosion resistance, corrosion resistance, and fouling resistance; familiarity with other materials systems (plastics, ceramics, refractories); Six Sigma certification or training in statistical analysis.

Job description: Identify and implement new technologies that provide improved resistance to the highly erosive and corrosive environments found in the titanium dioxide manufacturing process (chloride process). Identify and implement materials upgrades to enhance thermal resistance and heat transfer capabilities in liquid, gas, and mixed-phase systems. Provide expertise on materials selection and use for reaction vessels, conveying systems, separation equipment, filtration technologies, burner systems, mixing equipment, grinding systems, packaging equipment, etc.

Ph.D. positions in the capitol of Europe. Brussels, Belgium.

The Electrochemical and Surface Engineering research group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is offering Ph.D. positions for developing research on the following topics:

- Detection and quantitative assessment of corrosion products release rate in liquid lead-bismuth eutectic – LBE.

- Quantitative assessment of corrosion products release rate in liquid LBE.

- Virtual open innovation platform for active protective coatings guided by modeling and optimization.

- Development of aluminum extrusion profiles made from 100% recycled aluminum.

Networking & Knowledge Exchange

To take care of boilers is a severe duty. Virtual

A new episode of the series about boilers, led by our colleague Carlos Lasarte, will be presented shortly. This series is hosted by the ASME Student Regional Team Caribbean & Latin America, and it is an extension of the magazine about boilers aimed at Spanish-speaking people. The first two episodes dealt with the** boiler's accident rate in Latin America** and the boilers' reliability. Interested colleagues can ask for the link to the next episode, to be held on April 3rd of 2021, at LinkedIn

​​One more innovation resulting from the Covid crisis. Virtual

A new partnership between the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, Gent University, Belgium, and Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, has been established. It is an initiative devoted to present a series of monthly free-of-charge lectures on advanced academic and industrial topics about metallic microstructures, MMELO (Metallic Microstructures: European Lectures Online). The first three lectures are planned for April 15th, May 20th, and June 17th, 2021. Junior and senior colleagues interested in being included in the mailing list of invitations can send a message to [email protected]

Sharing knowledge about new materials. Virtual

ICTEO, the International Core Technology Exchange Organization, is a group of publishers including IEEE Press, Springer, Academic Press, ASME, IOP, American Scientific Publishing, DEStech Publications, and Atlantic Press. Currently, ICTEO is organizing the online 4th International Conference on Materials Engineering and Nanotechnology (ICMEN 2021). According to the organizers, “the focus of the conference is to establish an effective platform for institutions and industries to share ideas, and to present the works of scientists, engineers, educators, and students from all over the world.” Keynote speakers will be professors Dr. Khandaker M. Anwar Hossain, Ryerson University, Canada; Dr. Omar Bataineh, Jordan University of Science and Technology; and Dr. Osman Adiguze, Firat University, Elazig, Turkey.

Dates: Saturday – Sunday, April 3rd – 4th, 2021.
Time: 14:00 -21:00 Kuala Lumpur Time (GMT + 8).

Photo by ZMorph All-in-One 3D Printers on Unsplash