Welcome to the early March Corrosionpedia News Roundup. The News Roundup is your biweekly digest to learn about important events and developments with regard to corrosion in a clear, concise way. This edition highlights the status of a corroded bridge in England, exciting developments for robotic corrosion inspection and pipeline inspection methods. Also featured is the latest on a voluntary recall by Tesla due to corrosion concerns and a new method that turns carbon waste into graphene.

Corroded Bridge Closed to Traffic

The Clifton Bridge in Nottingham, England was recently discovered to have severe amounts of corrosion on parts of its support structure that were exposed to water. The water in contact with the steel accelerated the oxidation process to the point of concern. While a portion of the bridge is still usable, some of it has been closed to traffic. As a result of the corrosion and the subsequent partial closure, traffic jams have become more prevalent in the area. The local government is working to repair the bridge and restore it to its original service capabilities.

Startup to Provide Inspections for Subsea Applications

Square Robot, a startup based out of Boston, Massachusetts has set its sights on developing a robot for subsea oil and gas inspection. The aim is for the robot to detect corrosion as well as other discontinuities and defects. Subsea oil and gas equipment and infrastructure are at a high risk of corrosion due to the saltwater environment in which they are used. (Take a deep dive into subsea operations in the article Industry Experts Discuss Subsea Pipeline Corrosion Management.) Generally, subsea inspection jobs can be quite dangerous for humans to perform. By sending a robot instead of a human, many of the risks associated with the job, such as drowning and decompression sickness, can be eliminated. In previous years Square Robot successfully developed robots for other dangerous applications such as in-tank corrosion inspection.

New Pipeline Corrosion Monitoring Process Developed

Researchers at Lancaster University, the National Physical Laboratory, and Hybrid Instruments Ltd in the United Kingdom have innovated a new way to monitor the corrosion levels of pipelines. With traditional inspection methods, difficulties can arise when the pipeline is covered in insulation or a special type of coating. The new method developed by the researchers uses gamma radiation and fast neutrons, which works well even when the pipeline is coated or insulated. The gamma radiation and the fast neutrons each provide unique feedback to monitoring equipment that, once analyzed by specialized computers, can then be used to determine the thickness levels of the pipeline. This in turn allows technicians to determine the degree of corrosion that has occurred on the pipeline being inspected.

New Inspection Conference Held

The American Welding Society (AWS) recently held its first ever Inspection Conference, which took place in Houston, Texas. The conference had a variety of technical seminars regarding inspection, coatings and corrosion. Applications varied from the inspection of pipelines to the structural evaluation of amusement rides. While the event had plenty of welding-related topics, it also highlighted other inspection topics such as fastener evaluations and drone inspection. Leaders in the inspection industry from the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE), the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT), and the American Institute of Steel Construction helped the AWS during the event by providing their expertise.

Tesla Recall Issued Due to Corrosion

Tesla, an electric vehicle manufacturer based in California, has recently issued a recall for some of its Model X electric SUVs. The reason for the recall is a potential corrosion risk on the vehicles’ steering system. The specific components in question are the bolts that hold the steering assist motor in place. The concern is limited to certain geographies as well, particularly those where large amounts of road salt and other deicing agents are used on the roads. These substances can accelerate the corrosion of the steering motor bolts. According to Reuters, about 15,000 Model X’s have been recalled. The recall is a voluntary one, and the effort by Tesla is meant to be proactive maintenance to prevent the problem before one ever occurs.

Scientists Develop Method to Turn Carbon Waste into Graphene

A team at Rice University in Houston, TX has found a way to make graphene out of any type of carbon refuse. Graphene is a relatively new material that has extremely desirable physical, mechanical and electrical properties for a wide variety of applications, including corrosion prevention. The method that the researchers invented involves the use of a power source that emits light and heat at a very high intensity towards a carbon-containing material. The energy elevates the temperature of the material to over 3,000°C (5,432°F). The innovation is potentially quite important for two reasons. First, graphene is expensive to produce, and the researchers noted that this new method appears to be quite cost-effective at first glance. The other significance of this discovery is its ability to help prevent environmental damage caused by discarded waste such as plastics, food and rubber tires. The team has recently received a grant from the United States Department of Energy to develop the method further.