This is in contrast to the solid mechanics research community, which has participated thoroughly in developing advanced design approaches to minimize brittle fracture and fatigue failure. The success of mechanics modeling in alleviating mechanical degradation at the design stage has led to it being given a prominent place in the curriculum for many engineering disciplines—for example, aerospace, civil, and mechanical engineering. Success in modeling corrosion could bring important advances in combating corrosion through design and might result in greater emphasis on corrosion engineering in engineering curricula.

The motivation for this study, which focuses on the education of the workforce, current and future, is that knowledge-based and skills-based education is critical to preventing and mitigating corrosion at all stages in the life cycle of a product. The FHWA and NACE International study Corrosion Costs made recommendations for preventing or mitigating corrosion.12 Education is the key to carrying out these recommendations:

  • Preventive strategies in nontechnical areas:

    • Increase awareness of the significant corrosion costs and the potential savings.

    • Change the misconception that nothing can be done about corrosion.

    • Change policies, regulations, standards, and management practices to increase cost-savings through sound corrosion management.

    • Improve education and training of staff in the recognition and control of corrosion.

  • Preventive strategies in technical areas:

    • Advance design practices for better corrosion management.

    • Advance life prediction and performance assessment methods.

    • Advance corrosion technology through research, development, and implementation.

One key challenge is the decline in student interest in corrosion and in the production of engineers who possess a working knowledge of corrosion. Such a decline threatens to take the field below the “visibility horizon” of both engineering colleges and potential employers of engineering graduates. Corrosion as a subject taught in our tertiary education system is at risk because it is practically nonexistent. The well-documented cost of corrosion to the nation only bolsters the argument that an assessment of corrosion engineering education today is timely and will ensure that the nation not only recovers some of the cost of corrosion but also can rely on the readiness and safety of its critical systems.

Role of Corrosion Research

In line with its charge, the committee has emphasized education, and although it was not specifically charged with examining corrosion research, the committee recog-

12

The study is summarized in Appendix A of this report. For a copy of the report, see http://www.corrosioncost.com/pdf/main.pdf. Accessed April 2008.



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