Impact area: protection

Partners: Manchester, Cambridge, Imperial and Illinois

Image on the left shows capsule-based self-protection and damage detection in coatings and corrosion test results showing control. The image on the right shows a sample coated with self-healing coating.

The challenge: Globally, it is estimated that the annual costs related to corrosion are more than $2 trillion. Despite this large impact, the fundamental corrosion processes are poorly understood and industry relies on field experience for its management of corrosion.

Understanding the interplay between materials, feed-stocks and the associated corrosion processes will enable better choice of materials.

It will also enable early detection of problems and more effective management strategies based on better understanding of corrosion initiation and propagation mechanisms.

Our objective: Understanding the mechanism of corrosion inhibitors will lead to management strategies and development of new more active inhibitors.  Additionally, understanding the of growth corrosion scales could result in reduced inhibitor use.

The ICAM portfolio of ‘protection’projects are aimed at:

  • A fundamental mechanistic understanding of corrosion inhibitor action.
  • Extending life of metal infrastructure ensuring safety, integrity and reliability.
  • Developing strategies for corrosion prediction, prevention and mitigation.
  • Developing real-time indication or protection for corrosion and other damage processes.

Research solution: Our approach is to understand corrosion/scaling/fouling nucleation processes which will in turn enable the development of improved inhibitors and coatings. 

This is underpinned by:

  • Synthesis and testing of novel anti-corrosion, scaling and fouling inhibitors and coatings.
  • An in-depth mechanistic and modelling capability. 

Underpinning science - corrosion: Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) are two of the primary reagents leading to internal corrosion in steel oilfield equipment.  Both dissolve in water forming acidic solutions which stimulate corrosion through cathodic (evolution of H2) or anodic (dissolution of iron) processes.

We are working to understand the fundamental processes which initiate corrosion.  This will lead to the development of better strategies to prevent corrosion, better inhibitors and systems with self-healing  and protecting properties.