National Physical Laboratory


Spring corrosion
Spring corrosion

Corrosion is an all-pervasive phenomenon and failures due to corrosion impact on health and safety, the environment, and the economy in every nation. Corrosion affects every sector of industry as well as the infrastructure and the general population as a whole. We are all in daily contact with products and materials that are subject to corrosion effects. When failures occur they can be catastrophic, resulting in injury and loss of life, contamination of the environment by the release of chemicals and other toxic substances, and economic penalties resulting from damage to plant and loss of production.

With the increased demand for sustainability and life extension, the avoidance and control of corrosion are of the utmost importance. Great progress has been made in controlling general corrosion through coating technology and inhibition but localised attack and, in particular, environment assisted cracking remain challenges and have been a primary focus for research because of the often catastrophic nature of failure and the difficulty in detection. That research has led to improved materials selection and design supported now by a suite of testing protocols, most notably the series of ISO standards on environment assisted cracking.

Such developments have eliminated the more obvious failure processes but analysis of failures has highlighted that we still face challenges; for example in predicting the impact of transients (temperature, environment or stress), the behaviour in condensing and evaporating conditions, the integrity of welds, and accounting for localised corrosion. In addition, deployment of materials in increasingly harsh environments is a major concern, e.g. for the energy sector (nuclear, power, oil and gas), and presents new challenges in lifetime prediction.

For more information, please contact Alan Turnbull


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