Welcome to the mid-July 2020 Corrosionpedia news roundup. Corrosionpedia releases a fresh news roundup every other week to provide a summary of the most important headlines in the world of corrosion prevention, monitoring and materials science. This edition takes a look at potential changes in US pipeline corrosion monitoring regulations from PHMSA. Other highlights in this edition include a corrosion-induced fire risk that resulted in an automobile recall, virtual coating consultations and a local state of emergency caused by corrosion.

Pipeline Regulator to Potentially Reduce Corrosion Monitoring Requirements

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a pipeline regulatory entity run by the United States Department of Transportation, has released a notice of proposed changes to regulatory requirements, citing potential reductions in regulations. Included in the notice were changes to corrosion monitoring rules for gas pipelines. One item proposed for change is an alteration to the current requirement that all gas pipelines exposed to the atmosphere be inspected for corrosion at least every three years. The proposed change would make that inspection interval at least every five years so long as no corrosion was found during the previous inspection. There is also a proposal that wording of current regulations include verbiage that provides further affirmation that gas pipelines can be inspected for corrosion remotely as well as onsite. The deregulation measures are meant to reduce costs and help gas pipeline operators with administrative tasks.

Corrosion-Induced Fire Risk Causes Automotive Recall

Several models of the Pacifica hybrid minivan are being recalled by the automobile manufacturer Fiat Chrysler. The recall was issued due to a fire suspected to be caused by corrosion that can occur on a connector for the vehicle's 12-volt battery. Corrosion can cause problems in the vehicle's electrical systems because the resistance of certain parts of the circuit can spike, which then causes overheating and a potential fire. At this time it appears that only hybrid models of the Pacifica are affected. Over 20,000 of the 2017 through 2020 model years of the vehicle have been listed in the recall.

Virtual Coating Consultations Offered by PPG

PPG, a world-leading coatings solutions provider out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has recently announced that it will be providing virtual consultations for customers of its Protective and Marine Coatings business group during the era of COVID-19 health concerns. These consultations will be hosted through an online platform PPG is calling VirtualTECH. VirtualTECH sessions will provide a dedicated PPG technical service representative to discuss many different topics across the spectrum of customer applications. An appointment can be scheduled in advance through the VirtualTECH platform in order to avoid long hold wait time on telephone calls.

Enbridge Fined for Lack of Action Regarding Pipeline Corrosion

Enbridge, the multi-billion dollar Canadian energy delivery firm known mostly for its pipelines, has been fined over $6 million for not reacting quickly enough to corrosion on some of its assets. The fine comes from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to fulfill some of its obligations from a consent decree issued in 2017. Enbridge maintains that it met the requirements of the decree and could not make the repairs to the corrosion any sooner than it did. Enbridge made note that the pipelines were operating safely and that extra steps had been taken to further reduce risks such as the addition of corrosion inhibitors into the pipeline system.

Corrosion Causes Mayor to Issue State of Emergency

Corrosion found on a bridge in Florida has caused the mayor of Stuart, Florida to declare a local state of emergency. Excessive corrosion was found on the steel tendons of the Roosevelt Bridge in mid-June. The corrosion was detected after large pieces of concrete fell from the bridge, prompting further investigation. Underneath where the dismembered pieces of concrete originated were the exposed steel tendons covered in rust. Marine traffic underneath the bridge is still allowed to continue as the mayor said that a risk of collapse is not an immediate concern. Along with the state of emergency came an order to shut down the entire bridge. A timeline for repairing the corroded areas and reopening the bridge has not yet been determined.

University Research Team Receives Funds for Marine Corrosion Modeling Project

A team of researchers at the University of Newcastle in Australia recently was awarded 650,000 AUD to develop a computer model that can replicate the degradation of marine vessels and structures that is caused by corrosion. The team will join together with several other partners, including industry companies and the Australian government. The computer modelling software is intended to be able to predict the remaining usable life of many different marine assets by taking into account its material type and dimensions, and the environments into which they were deployed. To create the model, the team will mine for available data of existing marine vessels and structures and the rate at which they corroded. The project is intended to improve the safety and longevity of Australia’s marine assets in corrosive environments.