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Module One of CCE 281 Corrosion: Impact, Principles, and Practical Solutions

Corrosion, why Bother?

In a modern business environment, successful enterprises cannot tolerate major corrosion failures, especially those involving personal injuries, fatalities, unscheduled shutdowns and environmental contamination. For this reason considerable efforts are generally expended in corrosion control at the design stage and in the operational phase.

Corrosion can lead to failures in plant infrastructure and machines which are usually costly to repair, costly in terms of lost or contaminated product, in terms of environmental damage, and possibly costly in terms of human safety. Decisions regarding the future integrity of a structure or its components depend upon an accurate assessment of the conditions affecting its corrosion and rate of deterioration. With this information an informed decision can be made as to the type, cost and urgency of possible remedial measures.

Required levels of maintenance can vary greatly depending on the severity of the operating environments. While some of the infrastructure equipment might only require regular repainting and occasional inspection of electrical and plumbing lines, some chemical processing plants, power generation plants, aircraft and marine equipment, are operated with extensive maintenance schedules.

Example problem 1.1

Describe a corrosion problem encountered in your immediate surroundings and discuss its relative importance.

Even the best design cannot be expected to anticipate all conditions that may arise during the life of a system. Corrosion inspection and monitoring are used to determine the condition of a system and to determine how well corrosion control and maintenance programs are performing. Traditional corrosion inspection practices typically require planned periodic shutdowns or service interruptions to allow the inspection process. These scheduled interruptions may be costly in terms of productivity losses, restart energy, equipment availability, and material costs. However, accidental interruptions or shutdowns are potentially much more disruptive and expensive.

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