Welcome to the second January edition of the Corrosionpedia News Roundup! The News Roundup is where we get a chance to provide our readers with a recap of everything relevant that has happened in the world of corrosion over the past few weeks. For this Roundup, we talk about the role corrosion played in a notorious wildfire, exciting new research in the corrosion inhibition space, nano coatings and more. Let's get started...

The Role of Wind and Corrosion on the PG&E Camp Fire

According to the NBC Bay Area team, engineers working for the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) warned the company that corrosion could be an issue just months before the Camp Fire broke out in 2018. The Camp Fire was the most destructive California wildfire to date and was reported to be started by an electric transmission line owned by PG&E. The NBC Bay Area team’s report says that corrosion and wear was found on steel hanger plates on several lines less than 200 miles (320 km) away from the origin site of the wildfire. The wear was most likely induced by wind, which caused the lines to rub on the plates. The engineers recommended further checks on steel hardware in areas subject to high winds following the discovery.

Royal Society of Chemistry Conference Fights Corrosion

Combating corrosion was one of the major topics at the Synergy conference recently held in the United Kingdom. The Royal Society of Chemistry puts together the event on an annual basis for chemistry professionals from academic and industry backgrounds. One discussion around corrosion was the substitution of non-metallic materials for traditional metal materials. The reasons driving the desire for this substitution are manifold, including the environmental impact of extracting ore and smelting metals and the greater useful life of certain nonmetallic materials versus metallic materials.

The conference highlighted several important areas needed to advance this agenda, including improved modeling of the relationship between materials and their environment, degradation data, recycling and several others.

New Nano Coating Provides Corrosion Resistance

Adolf Föhl GmbH, a die and injection molding company, has recently developed a new nano coating that prevents corrosion while still meeting European Union regulations. The recent ban of chromium VI coatings in Europe has created many issues for applications that require chromium VI galvanic coatings to protect parts from corrosion. To address this pain point, Adolf Föhl GmbH has developed a coating they are calling Föhlan. The Föhlan process involves coating zinc cast parts with a layer of chromium III through a technique called passivation. Passivation is performed by enabling chemical reactions on the surface of a material that leaves behind a passive oxide layer. Unlike the underlying base material, the passive material does not undergo corrosion. The chromium III layer meets EU regulations and still inhibits corrosion.

Superior Industrial Maintenance Company Acquires MICO

The Superior Industrial Maintenance Company, a coating application and corrosion repair company in North Carolina, has announced the purchase of the Maintenance Insulation Company (MICO). MICO is involved in insulation and corrosion-resistant coating application. The acquisition is intended to broaden Superior’s current service offerings. According to a press release by the private equity firm Warren Equity, the CEO of Superior believes the companies are a good cultural fit together. Superior also acquired Carolina Coatings in 2019 to enable it to be a leader in corrosion prevention services in the region.

Corrosion-Resistant Steel Trade Dumping in Canada

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal has found reason to believe that corrosion-resistant steel from Vietnam, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates has been “dumped” into the Canadian economy. Trade dumping occurs when foreign countries sell their products to another country at a price lower than what they would actually sell it for in their own country in order to gain market share. The Canadian International Trade Tribunal believes that there is enough evidence to open an investigation. Corrosion-resistant steel is an important product for Canada’s economy, and if dumping is occurring then it could threaten the ability of Canada’s domestic corrosion-resistant steel producers to be profitable.

New Corrosion Inhibitor Research Starting

At the James Cook University in Australia, research has begun to determine a more effective way to use corrosion inhibitors to protect steel. The research project has over 400,000 AUD in funding and will look into how rare earth elements can be used to inhibit corrosion, specifically in steel alloys. Many current corrosion inhibitors are harmful to the environment, so using rare earth elements has the potential to reduce this risk. If the use of rare earth elements as corrosion inhibitors proves to be successful it could be extremely beneficial for Australia’s economy because they have many mining operations where these materials can be extracted.