Member Spotlight – Breakthroughs in Corrosion

Eric Schindelholz of Sandia National Laboratory will be awarded the ECS Corrosion Division Morris Cohen Graduate Student Award at the upcoming 228th ECS Meeting for his contributions to methods for the study of atmospheric corrosion and his insights into the fundamentals and the factors controlling surface wetness and the carrion of steel.

In light of receiving the award, Schindelholz was able to sit down with local news station KOAT to talk about his work on such projects as the preservation of the Statue of Liberty and historic Pearl Harbor ships.

Learn more about his research at the 228th ECS Meeting and take a look at his scheduled talk, “Impact of Salt Deliquescence on the Humidity-Dependence of Atmospheric Corrosion.”

Solving the Beach Explosion Mystery

hydrogenRecently, a small explosion occurred underneath the sand at a Rhode Island beach. When state police and a bomb squad couldn’t figure out what caused the blast, researchers from the University of Rhode Island decided to make an attempt at solving the mystery.

The school’s oceanography interdisciplinary team—made up of researchers with expertise in everything from geology to chemistry—was able to pinpoint an unlikely culprit in the beach explosion: hydrogen.

An Unlikely Investigation

The researchers first began to suspect hydrogen when they discovered an underground uncorroded copper cable at the site, which could create hydrogen though an electrochemical process.

“The copper was like a shiny new penny, and the steel was silvery, even though it had been in seawater for many years,” said Professor Arthur Spivack of the University of Rhode Island. “That told me that it was consistent with there being a slight negative voltage in that end of the cable, which protects it from corroding but also could produce hydrogen.”


Sensors Allow Structures to Communicate

The sensors contain innovative distributive mechanisms, which enable online situation awareness and adaptive learning based on artificial intelligence.Image: GENESI

The sensors contain innovative distributive mechanisms, which enable online situation awareness and adaptive learning based on artificial intelligence.

If these walls could talk… actually, they can. A new project that goes by the acronym GENESI (Green sEnsor Networks for Structural monItoring) is working to give infrastructure the ability to tell us how it feels.

GENESI researchers are creating various sensor that fit inside buildings, tunnels, and bridges. This novel generation of green wireless sensor networks’ main aim is to allow structures to communicate their status.

The sensor device itself combines a low power node platform with a multi-source energy harvester, a small factor fuel cell, and an energy efficient radio. Each sensor has the ability to monitor vibrating strain, displacement, temperature, and soil moisture.


Modeling Corrosion, Atom by Atom

corrosion_atom_by_atomAn article by Christopher D. Taylor in the latest issue of Interface.

In the late 20th century, computer programs emerged that could solve the fundamental quantum mechanical equations that control the interactions of atoms that give rise to bonding. These tools, first applied to molecules and bulk solid materials, then began to be applied to surfaces and, in the early 21st century, to electrochemical environments. Commercial and open-source programs are now readily available and can be used on both desktop and high-performance computing platforms to solve for the electronic structure of a given configuration of atomic centers (nuclei) and, in so doing, provide the basis for determining a whole host of properties, including electronic and vibrational spectra, electrical moments such as the system dipole, and, most importantly, the energy and forces on the atoms. Other derived properties include the extent to which each atom is charged and bond-orders, although to compute these latter properties one of a variety of methods for dividing up and quantifying the electron density associated with each atom must be selected.

The physics behind these codes is complex, and, challengingly, has no rigorous analytical solution that can be obtained within a finite allotment of time. Thus, the computer programs themselves take advantage of approximations that allow for a feasible solution but, at the same time, constrain the accuracy of the result. Nonetheless, solutions can usually be reliably obtained for model systems representing materials, interfaces, or molecules that do not exceed thousands, and, more realistically, hundreds of atoms. Given that system sizes of hundreds or thousands of atoms amount to no more than the smallest nanoparticle of a substance, the question arises: What can atomistic simulations teach us about corrosion?

Read the rest.

corrosion_blogAn article by C. Liu and R.G. Kelly in the latest issue of Interface.

Localized corrosion is characterized by intense dissolution at discrete sites on the surface of a metal or alloy, while the remainder of the surface corrodes at a much lower rate. The ratio of the two rates is on the order of 10. Typical forms of localized corrosion include crevice corrosion, pitting, stress corrosion cracking, and intergranular corrosion. Localized corrosion represents the primary corrosion failure mode for passive/corrosion resistant materials.

There has been extensive experimental characterization of the dependence of the susceptibility to corrosion on alloy and solution composition, temperature, and other variables. Computational modeling can play an important role in improving the understanding of localized corrosion processes, in particular when it is coupled with experimental research that accurately quantifies the important characteristics that control corrosion rate and resultant morphology. There are many modeling methods that can be applied, with the choice of method driven by the goal of the modeling exercise.


corrosion_blog_interfaceAn article by Kenji Amaya, Naoki Yoneya, and Yuki Onishi published in the latest issue of Interface.

Protecting structures from corrosion is one of the most important challenges in engineering. Cathodic protection using sacrificial anodes or impressing current from electrodes is applied to many marine structures. Prediction of the corrosion rates of structures and the design of cathodic protection systems have been traditionally based on past experience with a limited number of empirical formulae.

Recently, application of numerical methods such as the boundary element method (BEM) or finite element method (FEM) to corrosion problems has been studied intensively, and these methods have become powerful tools in the study of corrosion problems.

With the progress in numerical simulations, “Inverse Problems” have received a great deal of attention. The “Inverse Problem” is a research methodology pertaining to identifying unknown information from external or indirect observation utilizing a model of the system.

Read the rest.

computer_simulation2An article by N.J. Laycock, D.P. Krouse, S.C. Hendy, and D.E. Williams published in the latest issue of Interface.

Stainless steels and other corrosion resistant alloys are generally protected from the environment by ultra-thin layers of surface oxides, also called passive films. Unfortunately, these films are not perfect and their Achilles’ heel is a propensity to catastrophic local breakdown, which leads to rapid corrosion of the metallic substructure. Aside from the safety and environmental hazards associated with these events, the economic impact is enormous.

In the oil and gas and petrochemical industries, it is of course usually possible to select from experience a corrosion-resistant alloy that will perform acceptably in a given service environment. This knowledge is to a large extent captured in industry or company-specific standards, such as Norsok M1.

However, these selections are typically very conservative because the limits tend to be driven by particular incidents or test results, rather than by fundamental understanding. Decision-making can be very challenging, especially in today’s mega-facilities, where the cost of production downtime is often staggeringly large. Thus significant practical benefits could be gained from reliable quantitative models for pitting corrosion of stainless steels. There have been several attempts to develop purely stochastic models of pitting corrosion.

Read the rest.

Tech Highlights

Check out what’s trending in electrochemical and solid state technology! Read some of the most exciting and innovative papers that have been recently published in ECS’s journals.

The articles highlighted below are Open Access! Follow the links to get the full-text version.

“Modeling Volume Change due to Intercalation into Porous Electrodes”
Published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society
Lithium-ion batteries are electrochemical devices whose performance is influenced by transport processes, electrochemical phenomena, mechanical stresses, and structural deformations. Many mathematical models already describe the electrochemical performance of these devices. Some models go further and account for changes in porosity of the composite electrode. Read the rest.


As Larry Faulkner said, “Norman Hackerman has been one of those rare and valued great citizens who helps a large and complex society move from past to future."

As Larry Faulkner said, “Norman Hackerman has been one of those rare and valued great citizens who helps a large and complex society move from past to future.”

An article by Robert P. Frankenthal in the Summer 2008 issue of Interface.

Norman Hackerman, who died last year at the age of 95, was a giant among giants: a world renowned scientist, an outstanding educator, a highly successful administrator, and a champion for basic research. He was member of ECS for more than 60 years. His research focused on the electrochemistry of corrosion, its mechanism and the processes to prevent or inhibit corrosion. During the more than 50 years he served as an administrator, he continued as a research scientist and an educator, maintaining an active research group and teaching freshman classes. At the same time he served the government, ECS, and other technical societies in numerous capacities.

Marye Anne Fox, chancellor and distinguished professor of chemistry at the University of California, San Diego, summed up his contributions to the nation, as reported in Chemical & Engineering News, “More than any other American, Norman Hackerman’s strong support for investment in basic research was the dominant factor in American science policy over the past 50 years, including the years he served as chairman of the National Science Board.” She further states that as a leader, “his voice was a strong one for the highest ethical principles, imbued with rationality, even when this involved great personal cost.”

Read the rest.

Through our Honors and Awards and Program, ECS recognizes outstanding technical achievements in electrochemistry and solid-state science and technology

Through our Honors and Awards and Program, ECS recognizes outstanding technical achievements in electrochemistry and solid-state science and technology

Nomination deadlines are fast approaching for Society awards.

Olin Palladium Award
Deadline: October 1, 2014

This important award was established in 1950 for distinguished contributions to the field of electrochemical or corrosion science.

The recipient shall be distinguished for contributions to the field of electrochemical or corrosion science. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the fundamental understanding of all types of electrochemical and corrosion phenomena and processes. The recipient does not need to be a member of The Electrochemical Society. There shall be no restrictions or reservations regarding age, sex, race, citizenship, or place of origin or residence.

The award shall consist of a Palladium medal and a plaque that contains a bronze replica thereof, both bearing the recipient’s name, the sum of $7,500, complimentary meeting registration for award recipient and companion, a dinner held in recipient’s honor during the designated meeting, and Life Membership in The Society.

Nominate a colleague here by October 1, 2014

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