Corrosion and environmental degradation is responsible for financial losses of approximately 4% of Australia's GDP every year (~ $54 billion in 2012).
Engineering systems and infrastructures need to be protected to prevent against environmental degradation that results in loss of capacity, product and in some cases loss of life.
The University of Adelaide is involved in various aspects of corrosion:
Through EngTest, consultancy services are available to provide advice regarding corrosion prevention, environmental degradation, failure investigation services and assessing materials performance.
A full subject is offered every year to engineering students to educate tomorrow's engineers about the mechanisms responsible for corrosion, and how to avoid them.
Engagement With The Community
The University is closely involved with the Australasian Corrosion Association, working to educate the public and industry about corrosion and its prevention.
Research tends to concentrate in the area of Stress Corrosion Cracking (SCC), a phenomenon that is difficult to detect and has caused catastrophic failures in nuclear power plants, gas pipelines and chemical processes. Australia experienced a failure in one of its pipelines in 1982, after the pipe was commissioned less than seven years previoulsy. Although no one was hurt in that incidence, the potential remains for damage to personnel and property.
Current SCC research is being carried out under the Energy Pipelines CRC, investigating how SCC affects Australia's existing gas pipelines. These investigations are aimed at preventing from SCC affecting new pipelines, as well as determining how to halt the further propagation of SCC in existing pipelines.
Other areas of research include X-ray tomography, where complex interacting SCC cracks are imaged so as to study their growth mechanisms.
If you are interested in the area of corrosion or would like to talk to an expert about environmental degradation issues, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
L - R: SCC research team: Dr Olivier Lavigne, Mr Anthony Roccisano, Dr Erwin Gamboa and Mr James Griggs