A case has been made that engineering students, particularly those in design-intensive disciplines such as mechanical, civil, and aerospace engineering, need a better understanding of corrosion and how it can be mitigated through design and other prevention measures. These remarks will focus on mechanical engineering, where the speaker has been teaching design courses for the past 10 years.
ABET requires that all undergraduate engineering students take a capstone design course before graduating. The course should teach students to use the concepts of engineering science and the growing body of knowledge in systematic design to create a design that addresses a need of society. In addition, many engineering students take a design course in their first year. Also, most mechanical engineering programs devote two semesters to a design course, often back to back in the senior year or as a preliminary course in the junior year and a capstone project in the senior year.
Essentially all engineering students take a course in the fundamentals of materials science. All textbooks include a chapter on corrosion, typically 30 to 40 pages, but devote very little space to the design aspects of corrosion. Mechanical engineering texts that deal with the design process ignore corrosion, as they do most other aspects of materials and manufacturing. A few texts on the design of machine components (machine design) have a few pages on corrosion but say little about design against corrosion. It is clear that the designers need information on corrosion that is not readily available to them.
More than half the bachelor’s degrees in engineering in the United States are granted by the 50 or so engineering schools that have sponsored research expenditures of more than $50 million a year and where research-related issues generally prevail over educational/curricular issues. This has a number of consequences:
Deciding who to hire is usually based on the research skills a candidate would bring to the department.
Estimates of a candidate’s potential to attract funding in his or her area of research are a strong factor in deciding who to hire.
Industry experience is discounted.
New hires negotiate for the lowest possible teaching load.
Often the most qualified faculty are the busiest and cannot be persuaded to develop a new course outside their direct area of research interest.
There are a number of courses in undergraduate engineering curricula that could include a focus on design-for-corrosion:
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Proceedings of the Materials Forum 2007: Corrosion Education for the 21st Century Session III: Implementation GEORGE E. DIETER UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND A case has been made that engineering students, particularly those in design-intensive disciplines such as mechanical, civil, and aerospace engineering, need a better understanding of corrosion and how it can be mitigated through design and other prevention measures. These remarks will focus on mechanical engineering, where the speaker has been teaching design courses for the past 10 years. ABET requires that all undergraduate engineering students take a capstone design course before graduating. The course should teach students to use the concepts of engineering science and the growing body of knowledge in systematic design to create a design that addresses a need of society. In addition, many engineering students take a design course in their first year. Also, most mechanical engineering programs devote two semesters to a design course, often back to back in the senior year or as a preliminary course in the junior year and a capstone project in the senior year. Essentially all engineering students take a course in the fundamentals of materials science. All textbooks include a chapter on corrosion, typically 30 to 40 pages, but devote very little space to the design aspects of corrosion. Mechanical engineering texts that deal with the design process ignore corrosion, as they do most other aspects of materials and manufacturing. A few texts on the design of machine components (machine design) have a few pages on corrosion but say little about design against corrosion. It is clear that the designers need information on corrosion that is not readily available to them. Are Research-Intensive Engineering Schools Able to Do the Job? More than half the bachelor’s degrees in engineering in the United States are granted by the 50 or so engineering schools that have sponsored research expenditures of more than $50 million a year and where research-related issues generally prevail over educational/curricular issues. This has a number of consequences: Deciding who to hire is usually based on the research skills a candidate would bring to the department. Estimates of a candidate’s potential to attract funding in his or her area of research are a strong factor in deciding who to hire. Industry experience is discounted. New hires negotiate for the lowest possible teaching load. Often the most qualified faculty are the busiest and cannot be persuaded to develop a new course outside their direct area of research interest. Venues for Teaching Design for Corrosion to Undergraduates There are a number of courses in undergraduate engineering curricula that could include a focus on design-for-corrosion:
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Proceedings of the Materials Forum 2007: Corrosion Education for the 21st Century Fundamentals of materials. In a one-semester course, most instructors devote no more than 2 hours to corrosion. This might be doubled to 4 hours if design emphasis is added. Since the course is usually taken in the sophomore year or the first half of the junior year, it would often be before the student had taken a real design course or had enough experience to appreciate the corrosion problem. Moreover, mechanical engineering students typically dislike chemistry (that is why they are mechanical engineering students). Design. All engineering disciplines require design courses, usually taught late in the junior and senior years. Mechanical engineering has developed a generalized approach to design, with emphasis on a stylized design process consisting of conceptual design, embodiment design, and detail design. The emphasis is on teaching methods to define a problem—such as quality function deployment—concept generation methods, and decision making and evaluation techniques. Rarely is anything about materials, failure, or manufacturing taught in these courses, because these topics are assumed to have been covered elsewhere in the curriculum. Because so many other topics are already neglected, it is unlikely that instructors in these courses would give priority to teaching design for corrosion. Design of machine components (machine design). Not all mechanical engineering departments require the traditional machine design course, which typically comes after the students have completed the mechanics of materials. Other mechanical engineering departments offer this as an elective. A machine design course extends the analysis of stress and strain to more complex component geometries, such as gears and bearings, and types of loading, such as fatigue and brittle fracture. However, fewer than half of the machine design texts examined by this speaker even mention the word “corrosion,” yet alone talk about how to design for its prevention. The range of traditional topics covered in this field is so large that I think it would be difficult to get instructors to introduce even a modicum of design for corrosion. Technical electives. Most engineering departments offer their students the opportunity to take from three to eight technical electives. Often they encourage their students to build a minor by the proper selection of elective courses. This would seem to be the ideal place in a curriculum to offer an in-depth exposure to corrosion and design. The problem, as discussed above, would be finding faculty with the proper background, or even the motivation, to teach this course. It would be the rare mechanical engineering department, or maybe even the rare materials science and engineering department, that would already have such a person on the faculty. The difficulty of hiring new faculty to teach this course is outlined above. Recruiting a qualified part-time instructor from industry or government would seem to be the best way to initiate such a course. Incentives and Possible Solutions A number of possible incentives and solutions might improve the coverage of corrosion in engineering curricula: Make a really compelling case for the need that clearly shows that it is not just another scientific/technical lobbying effort. Prepare compelling instructional materials that are easy to use and dramatic in their application. Train engineering faculty who want to teach a technical elective course in design for corrosion, possibly at summer institutes. Develop a directory of qualified corrosion engineers who want to teach an elective course in design for corrosion.
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Proceedings of the Materials Forum 2007: Corrosion Education for the 21st Century ROBERT H. DODDS, JR.UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN Civil engineers have primary responsibility for our nation’s built infrastructure, including our critically important transportation system. Valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars, bridges remain particularly susceptible to damage by corrosion. In their 2003 study, Yunovich and Thompson1 provided a conservative estimate of $6.5 billion per year just to maintain the existing 500,000 steel and concrete bridges, to replace failed and closed structures, and to replace concrete decks on otherwise functional superstructures. These estimates represent direct costs attributable primarily to corrosion and do not reflect economic losses caused by out-of-service structures. Undergraduate engineering students at Illinois receive minimal exposure to the causes, effects, and prevention of corrosion. The Department of Materials Science and Engineering offers a full-semester course on corrosion of metals to about 20 upper-division undergraduate and graduate students. In the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, we offer a course on the properties of materials every semester to about 110 students per year. The 4-credit-hour course has 45 lecture hours and 12 physical laboratory sessions. This course is required for undergraduate students electing to focus on structural engineering or construction materials. One lecture hour of this course is devoted to the fundamentals of corrosion. The elective undergraduate/graduate course on properties of concrete devotes two lectures to corrosion effects in concrete. This course is taught once a year and typically draws 30 students. Corrosion is not discussed (formally) in our senior undergraduate or M.S.-level design courses for the structural engineering program, which has more than 200 undergraduate students and more than 75 master’s candidates. The invitation to participate in this forum prompted several discussions in our department about the coverage of corrosion in our civil and environmental engineering curriculum. An undergraduate or (M.S.-level) graduate course on corrosion does not appear likely. The 133-credit-hour requirement of our undergraduate program already exceeds the national average and challenges many students to finish in 4 years. We have processes in place to reduce the 133-hour program and to broaden the undergraduate experience to reflect developments in American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Policy 465. Our M.S. program requires nine courses (36 credit hours) for the nonthesis option. We are now considering adding a laboratory experience on corrosion to our properties and materials course since a significant portion of the course focuses on structural metals. At the M.S. level we teach a series of elective special topics on the durability of materials. With our new campuswide efforts on environmental sustainability, our department expects renewed interest in formalizing a crossdisciplinary course on sustainability at the M.S. level in the next year or so. The durability of construction materials, including the impacts of corrosion and its prevention, will certainly be included in the course. Other opportunities to teach corrosion prevention exist in our structural design courses—we simply need to make this is a new point of emphasis and help the structural engineering professors in those courses to become more aware of corrosion themselves. Although these observations derive from our civil and environmental engineering program at Illinois, we expect they hold generally in other such programs across the nation. NOTE: Presentation prepared with John S. Popovics, also at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 1 M. Yunovich and N. Thompson, “Corrosion of highway bridges—Economic impacts and concrete methodologies,” Concrete International 25 (1), 2003.
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Proceedings of the Materials Forum 2007: Corrosion Education for the 21st Century DAVID J. DUQUETTE RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE To stimulate undergraduate programs in corrosion science, universities must have active faculty who are qualified and willing to develop courses, laboratory experiences, and support undergraduate research activities. Those faculty will come from the graduate programs at research universities. However, the driving force behind hiring faculty who are both capable of training future academics and qualified to teach corrosion is the ability to attract research funding, either from government or industry. In the present research climate, corrosion science and engineering, and metallurgy in general, are not hot-button items, and few new faculty are being hired to replace the aging cadre of faculty who have recently retired or will be retiring soon. The number of active corrosion research programs at universities has decreased considerably over the last decade, a trend that will not be reversed soon. Funding from the agencies that have traditionally supported fundamental corrosion research—for example, DoD and DOE—is either decreasing or has been diverted to short-term problem-solving programs. This workshop should serve as a wake-up call for the nation. If minimizing the corrosion of the country’s infrastructure, transportation systems, and defense armament is to be an economic and technical priority, substantial government and industry funds for fundamental corrosion research will have to be provided. It will not be sufficient to simply dictate that undergraduate engineering programs whether in materials science and engineering, or in the broader context of engineering education, should include some modicum of education in corrosion science and technology, including mitigation and control measures. The core faculty who are capable of providing those educational resources must be regenerated, and the only way to accomplish this is through the support of graduate education.
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Proceedings of the Materials Forum 2007: Corrosion Education for the 21st Century MARK R. PLICHTA MICHIGAN TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY Michigan Tech has managed to keep corrosion education as an element of the materials science and engineering curriculum, although not at the same level as was once possible. There are several reasons for this, including (1) a general university-wide reduction in credits (that is, courses available), as mandated by the university leadership; (2) fewer courses, required or elective, as a consequence of the academic calendar changing from quarters to semesters; and (3) less faculty expertise in the area of corrosion and corrosion engineering. At present the topic of corrosion is included in at least three required undergraduate courses, but there is no single required course devoted to the topic. Basic concepts of corrosion are introduced in the second semester of the chemistry curriculum and also near the end of the introductory course on materials science and engineering. Subsequently, the junior-level course on thermodynamics has a 2- or 3-week segment devoted to corrosion concepts. Finally, there is a senior-level elective course, “Corrosion and Environmental Effects on Materials Performance,” which is presently attended by approximately half of the graduating bachelor-level students. At present, there are no plans to strengthen the offerings on this topic. One reason is a shortage of the resources needed to support strong research and instruction on corrosion. Consider the first limitation, that is, reduced availability of credits. As part of the curricular revisions needed to convert the former quarters system to a semester system, the Provost at that time mandated that no degree would require more than 128 student credit hours. At that time (AY2000) this upper credit limit translated into a ~7 percent decrease in credits required under the quarter system. Although the impact is small, it does limit the range of technical topics that can be offered in support of the bachelor’s degree. The second limitation is related to the first. In general, curricula designed for the semester system have fewer courses than curricula for the quarter system. The advantage of semester courses is that the material can be covered in much more depth and students have a longer time to digest and hopefully master the topics covered in the class. That being said, a natural consequence of this benefit is the forced reduction in the number of courses that students take to complete the degree. The final limitation, faculty expertise, is probably the most critical and is being faced by most, if not all, materials-related programs in the nation. Faculty are hired so that strong research programs can be established. A consequence of this is that faculty expertise tends to follow those areas of research that attract the most funding. Research achievements, graduate studies, and scholarly activities are the main criteria in promotion and tenure. This, of course, has a snowball effect, since fewer faculty working in corrosion will produce fewer Ph.D.s in the discipline. In the worst case, and if no corrective action is taken, the nation would have no significant experience in this field. As a department chair, I believe this is the most critical issue. The first two limitations could probably be offset by designing the curriculum in clever ways. However, not having faculty expertise in the area of corrosion will have a more devastating and longer-lasting impact. At the moment, Michigan Tech has an advocate for corrosion education and we can keep the topic alive for awhile. With the right support from university leaders, perhaps we could even rejuvenate the program.
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Proceedings of the Materials Forum 2007: Corrosion Education for the 21st Century LEE SAPERSTEIN UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI–ROLLA (RETIRED) In the past several decades, ABET’s approach to accrediting university programs has evolved.2 It once focused on minimum standards and judged programs by a set of primarily process criteria. It now encourages a continuous assessment of and improvement in a program’s objectives. It looks at how well a program meets or exceeds its programmatic objectives by assessing the outcomes the program has set for the program’s graduates to achieve. ABET also asks to see the process by which these objectives and desired outcomes are renewed. It is now much more performance based. With this in mind, this workshop should go beyond the question of whether or not corrosion education is needed, to ask what elements of understanding and practice should be expected of a graduate who is deemed to be knowledgeable in corrosion science and engineering. Accreditation is based on a disinterested review and comparison of educational offerings—in this case, engineering degree programs—against a set of published criteria. ABET, Inc. (www.abet.org), the agency enabled by the professional societies to perform specialized accreditation of engineering programs, has a published set of general criteria that are applied to all engineering programs and separate sets of individual program criteria that are applied to programs bearing a specific identifier or designation. The seven categories in the general criteria are students, program educational objectives, program outcomes and assessment, the professional component, faculty, facilities, and institutional support and financial resources. The second and third criteria require input from external advisory groups, with the objectives meant to define a program’s individual characteristics and reflect the character of graduates some years after graduation and the outcomes meant to relate more to the abilities of a graduate upon graduation. The outcomes must include 11 traits defined in the general criteria but may include additional traits defined by an individual program and imposed on all graduates in a specific discipline. To assist programs in their quest for accreditation of corrosion engineering offerings, ABET may choose to provide them with desired subject-matter or even set trial program criteria that will allow each program to decide if it wants (1) an introduction to corrosion in existing courses and curricula, (2) an emphasis within a set sequence of courses, (3) a corrosion engineering option, or (4) a corrosion engineering degree. The first two can be done without requesting accreditation, but the second two will require, eventually, an accreditation review. The choice should be that of the program and its various advisory boards or groups, consistent with its stated programmatic objectives. If corrosion educational programs desire accreditation, the involved community can draft program criteria specific to corrosion education, along with learning objectives for individual courses. It is my intent to help the workshop participants and the members of the Committee on Assessing Corrosion Education flesh out these choices. 2 ABET is the accreditor for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. It is a federation of 28 professional and technical societies representing these fields. Lee Saperstein is a past president of ABET.
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Proceedings of the Materials Forum 2007: Corrosion Education for the 21st Century MARK D. SOUCEK UNIVERSITY OF AKRON In response to demands from industry and DoD, the University of Akron is undertaking an initiative to establish the first comprehensive educational program in the field of corrosion engineering and science. Our innovative approach seeks to develop a corrosion engineering degree and goes beyond the piecemeal approach of integrating corrosion topics into a pre-existing engineering discipline. The goal is to train an engineer to incorporate corrosion as a key criterion from the initial structural design, through the material selection process to, ultimately, the entire life-cycle of the structure or product. This project aims to create corrosion-specific, ABET-accredited engineering degrees at the associate and baccalaureate levels as well as to offer the workforce industry-accredited certification courses. While the certification courses and the associate degree program will be delivered from the University of Akron’s new Medina County University Center, the B.Sc. will be housed on the Akron campus. It is our plan to have an ISO-certified laboratory that will not only support laboratory-based courses for the degree programs but will also be made available to industry partners for carrying out their R&D activities.
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