The U.S. industrial complex and its associated infrastructure are essential to the nation's quality of life, its industrial productivity, international competitiveness, and security. Each component of the infrastructure—such as highways, airports, water supply, waste treatment, energy supply, and power generation—represents a complex system requiring significant investment. Within that infrastructure both the private and government sectors have equipment and facilities that are subject to degradation by corrosion, which significantly reduces the lifetime, reliability, and functionality of structures and equipment, while also threatening human safety. The direct costs of corrosion to the U.S. economy represent 3.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), and the total costs to society can be twice that or greater. Opportunities for savings through improved corrosion control exist in every economic sector.
The workshop, Corrosion Education for the 21st Century, brought together corrosion specialists, leaders in materials and engineering education, government officials, and other interested parties. The workshop was also attended by members of NRC's Committee on Assessing Corrosion Education, who are carrying out a study on this topic. The workshop panelists and speakers were asked to give their personal perspectives on whether corrosion abatement is adequately addressed in our nation's engineering curricula and, if not, what issues need to be addressed to develop a comprehensive corrosion curriculum in undergraduate engineering. This proceedings consists of extended abstracts from the workshop's speakers that reflect their personal views as presented to the meeting. Proceedings of the Materials Forum 2007: Corrosion Education for the 21st Century summarizes this form.