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Assessment of Corrosion Education 2 An Assessment of Corrosion Education Corrosion impacts virtually every infrastructure system and manufacturing process and product. The fields of corrosion science and corrosion engineering try to respond to the desire for safe, reliable, economical, and design-lifetime-long performance of industrial and consumer equipment exposed to service environments. The workforce responsible for addressing the corrosion problems faced by both the government and private industry possesses various levels and types of corrosion engineering education. Corrosion technologists are needed to perform repeated crucial functions, such as those of paint inspectors and specifiers, cathodic protection designers, and installers. Well-established practices, such as those developed by the standardization communities, are often put to use in performing these functions. Both practicing and newly minted engineers, who do most of the design work, must possess some degree of corrosion awareness. Sometimes they also need to know enough about materials and corrosion to take corrosion into account in the design process. Corrosion specialists devoted to the selection and implementation of corrosion protection methods or to selecting materials that can withstand corrosive environments are also needed. Finally, there is also a need for a lesser number of experts specialized enough in corrosion fundamentals to investigate new and unexpected corrosion problems, make decisions about them, and act to mitigate the problems. These experts would primarily address novel challenges that cannot be handled with off-the-shelf knowledge or practices, such as the need for a new environment-friendly, corrosion-resistant coating to replace an existing hazardous coating or the need to extend corrosion-limited lifetimes. While they are not needed often, experts are an important part of the corrosion workforce because without
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Assessment of Corrosion Education BOX 2-1 Knowledge-Based Education and Skills-Based Training Training, or skills-based education, is focused on imparting a defined set of skills and responses to be applied in a generally known set of conditions. Training generally does not provide a fundamental understanding of the field but teaches how to recognize a condition or situation to select the best solution. Skills-based training is distinct from knowledge-based education in that it does not ultimately give an individual the depth of understanding required to apply a body of knowledge to a situation that has not been previously encountered. During the course of this study, the committee weighed the value of both skills-based training and knowledge-based education. them the challenges would not be overcome. Moreover, those experts who are also educators are the ones responsible for teaching our future corrosion experts. Two types of education typically go into the formation of this workforce. One is training or skills-based education and the other is knowledge-based education (see Box 2-1). The industry and government panels invited for discussion during the course of this study believe that there is an important role for both training and knowledge-based corrosion education, depending on the job function and desired outcomes. Many corrosion-related functions can be performed by trained corrosion technologists. The corrosion workforce pyramid shown in Figure 2-1 captures the concept that a relatively large number of technologists are needed to support the U.S. infrastructure, including all the sophisticated equipment associated with the country’s large industrialized economy. For instance, there are thousands of bridges and thousands of miles of buried pipelines in the United States that require cathodic protection and coatings. In contrast, only one or two engineers specialized in corrosion (identified as “experts” and “specialists” in the pyramid) may be needed for every 100 or more other kinds of engineers in a large company or organization. In the United States, corrosion technologists are often trained by supervising their performance of repeated and predictable corrosion tasks (on-the-job training) or in conjunction with short courses or associate degrees offered by a limited number of community colleges. This education focuses on a defined set of skills and responses to a generally known set of conditions that are often repeated over and over again. A corrosion technologist often implements standardized practices because his or her education generally did not impart the fundamental understanding required to apply a body of knowledge to a situation that has not been encountered before. Such a situation calls for a knowledge-based education. Knowledge and understanding enable an individual to analyze a new problem and to devise new solutions that go beyond the catalog of known responses to
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Assessment of Corrosion Education FIGURE 2-1 Corrosion workforce pyramid. The pyramid shows the various categories of corrosion professionals and the knowledge they need—from the large numbers of technologists and other professionals in engineering and related disciplines who would be aware of and knowledgeable about corrosion and its mitigation, the engineers who would be considered corrosion specialists, and a small number of corrosion scientists and corrosion engineers who are experts. The column on the right shows the education paths they typically follow. Broadly speaking, the workforce can be characterized as follows: Technologists, such as paint inspectors and specifiers, and cathodic protection designers and installers perform repeated crucial functions; undergraduate engineering students in materials science and engineering (MSE), who upon graduation should be knowledgeable in materials selection; undergraduate engineering students in other design disciplines, such as mechanical, civil, chemical, industrial, and aeronautical engineering; and MSE graduate students, who should be very knowledgeable in materials selection and in some cases will go on to be experts in the field of corrosion. SOURCE: Adapted from John R. Scully, presented at 16th International Corrosion Conference, Beijing, China, September 2005. known problems. Therefore, at l east some of those responsible for design, manufacture, and product lifetime must be knowledgeable in corrosion and materials fundamentals, so that they are equipped to address corrosion issues arising from the ongoing introduction of new materials and designs. Knowledge-based education is typically delivered through short courses and university-level education. Practicing engineers who focus on the design, manufacture, and processing of components and equipment usually come from one of the traditional engineering fields, such
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Assessment of Corrosion Education as chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering. They must be aware of the potential problems due to corrosion and be able to recognize when they need to call in a corrosion expert. Such engineers benefit from elective courses in corrosion, short courses, and distance learning in both materials engineering and corrosion science and engineering. Many corrosion specialists learn at the graduate level and carry out their thesis or dissertation research in a university setting; others learn through a lifetime of on-the-job experience and short courses. In summary, the corrosion workforce is educated by means that span a broad educational spectrum: Bachelor’s and associate’s degrees awarded to corrosion-aware and corrosion-knowledgeable engineers and corrosion specialists. Graduate education to produce corrosion experts. On-the-job training, continuing education through distance learning, and short courses to produce corrosion technologists, corrosion-aware engineers, as well as corrosion specialists and experts, depending on the course and the starting knowledge of the student. UNDERGRADUATE CORROSION EDUCATION At workshops convened to gather information, the committee heard from panelists representing various industrial and governmental sectors that their respective employee pools displayed very different levels of corrosion awareness. This is hardly surprising; given the vast body of engineering knowledge necessary to operate modern industries and agencies, not all engineers should be expected to have a mastery of corrosion. In general, however, employers expect engineers holding a baccalaureate with a major in materials science and engineering or metallurgical engineering to have a deep enough understanding of corrosion at a sufficiently fundamental level that they can avoid obvious pitfalls in materials selection and know when to consult corrosion specialists or experts. In contrast, engineers holding a baccalaureate in a nonmaterials field would not be expected to have much understanding of corrosion but could at least be expected to be aware of corrosion. The committee was told that the skill sets of many (although certainly not all) practicing engineers fell short of these basic expectations. This deficiency might reflect inadequate exposure to corrosion in the undergraduate curriculum, ineffective instruction, or even the failure on the part of engineers to remember what they had been taught. It was apparent at the workshops that the majority of participants thought of corrosion principally in terms of metallic corrosion, occurring by electrochemical mechanisms. Many corrosion classes also focus on metallic corrosion. This chapter, although it, too, focuses on metallic corrosion, touches on nonmetallic corrosion (see, for instance, the discussion in Box 2-2). Two questions arise when assessing
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Assessment of Corrosion Education BOX 2-2 Education in the Degradation of Nonmetals Most contemporary MSE undergraduates will have had some exposure to the properties of organic materials. However, few MSE curricula in this country provide comprehensive instruction in polymeric and composite materials. Historically, the most comprehensive education in polymers and composites is offered by a relatively small number of specialized departments, many outside of engineering colleges. Some of them offer both undergraduate and graduate programs, while others focus solely on graduate education. Even in such comprehensive programs, polymer degradation and failure are rarely primary academic topics nowadays. In the past, the mitigation of polymer degradation and failure by compounding resins with appropriate additives was of great interest in both teaching and research. Paralleling the situation in metallic corrosion, however, funding for research on degradation and related topics has shrunk significantly, leading to decreased faculty interest and diminished treatment of this topic in polymer- and composite-focused curricula. The overall result is that few current engineering graduates will have had any significant exposure to the subject of polymer or composite degradation. While graduate engineers will therefore be very capable of monitoring the change in properties of a polymer in service, they will have no familiarity with or understanding of the interactions in a particular environment/polymer system, and they are unlikely to be able to select a polymer/additive compound or a composite. Ideally, engineers engaged in such a selection, which often involves the substitution of a polymer or composite for a metal, should be familiar with the advantages and shortcomings of both classes of material. It is regrettable in terms of societal costs and public safety that the present educational system rarely, if ever, imparts such comprehensive expertise. corrosion education from the supply side. First, which types of courses expose students to corrosion, and how comprehensive is that treatment? Second, who takes those courses? At the undergraduate level, corrosion is typically taught in three broad categories of courses. The Dedicated Corrosion Course The first and most comprehensive of these is the dedicated corrosion course, typically involving about 40-45 hours of classroom instruction that may also be taken by starting graduate students. A typical modern class covers the fundamental thermodynamics and kinetics of corrosion, the eight forms of metallic corrosion (uniform, galvanic, crevice, pitting, intergranular, selective leaching, erosion corrosion, and stress corrosion), the environmental degradation of nonmetals, and corrosion protection strategies such as coatings, inhibitors, and cathodic protection. The coverage is primarily theoretical, grounded in the theory of corrosion and the principles of electrochemistry. A hypothetical syllabus for such a course is shown in Box 2-3. Another style of dedicated corrosion class is more deeply rooted
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Assessment of Corrosion Education BOX 2-3 Hypothetical Syllabus for an Undergraduate Course on Corrosion Introduction Importance of corrosion Forms of corrosion Basic electrochemistry: pH, balancing electrochemical equations Anodic, cathodic half-cell reactions Faraday’s law Ions in solution, ion transport, current flow Structure of electrochemical interface, potential The four requirements for a corrosion cell Thermodynamics Review of free energy, activity Electrochemical free energy Standard potential Electromotive force series Simple electrochemical cells, cell potential, reaction direction, spontaneous reactions versus forced Nernst equation Effect of concentration on electrochemical cells Reference electrodes Pourbaix diagrams Oxygen reduction and evolution Water, proton, hydronium reduction, evolution, stable region of water Metal: passivity, immunity, corrosion Effect of other oxidizers: chlorine, peroxide, nitric acid Sample diagrams: Fe, Al, Cu, Cr diagrams Use of Pourbaix diagrams Estimated effect of alloying Kinetics Driven and driving systems, electrode polarity Exchange current density Activation polarization, Butler Volmer equation Tafel equation Mixed potential theory: redox reaction, coupled reactions—a corrosion cell, corrosion potential, and current density Simple Evans diagram Effect of added oxidizing agent Concentration polarization in learning practical skills, treats the eight forms of corrosion more descriptively, works with case studies, and teaches some design issues and corrosion remediation strategies. Other courses dedicated to corrosion might link it to batteries and fuel cells, where corrosion is providing electrical power. A comprehensive electrochemical engineering approach might cover the same fundamental principles
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Assessment of Corrosion Education Transport limitation of cathodic reactant, effect of flow or stirring Effect of oxygen transport limitation Transport limitation of anodic reaction Measurement of Corrosion Rate Mass loss, mass loss rate, penetration rate Measured polarization curve and underlying Evans diagram Potentiodynamic polarization, Tafel extrapolation, fit to equation Linear polarization, Rp Experimental considerations: sample, cell, electrolyte, RE, CE, etc. Atmospheric corrosion tests Corrosion Phenomenology Uniform (examples of Fe, Al compared with pH, NaCl, etc.) Galvanic corrosion (using Evans diagrams to explain) Erosion corrosion and fretting Passivity, stainless steel alloying (other brief examples) Pitting Crevice corrosion Intergranular corrosion Dealloying Environmentally assisted cracking Stress corrosion cracking Hydrogen effects Corrosion fatigue Corrosion Prevention Materials selection, alloy corrosion characteristics Coatings Inhibitors Cathodic protection, sacrificial and impressed current Anodic protection Special Materials/Environments Polymer corrosion/degradation Atmospheric corrosion Oxidation Underground corrosion Rebar in concrete Microbial effects of corrosion along with other electrochemical applications, such as chloroalkali synthesis, electrodeposition, and electrowinning. After taking one of these courses, an engineer should have a strong enough foundation that, after on-the-job training, he or she will be able to avoid design blunders and recognize when his or her knowledge limitations necessitate calling in a specialist or expert.
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Assessment of Corrosion Education Survey Course That Includes Corrosion Few undergraduate materials science and engineering (MSE) programs in the United States and even fewer nonmaterials engineering programs offer (much less require) such a dedicated course. Many programs provide the second category of course—that is, an overview of corrosion in classes required for all students. One approach in this category is an introductory, survey-type course offered early in an undergraduate curriculum. Typically this would be an introductory materials science course taken by all materials majors or by students in mechanical, civil, and other engineering fields.1 Other schools might cover corrosion in a course on the mechanical behavior of materials. Most textbooks for this type of course present corrosion at the back of the book, adding some elementary electrochemistry to build on a foundation of thermodynamics and physical metallurgy gained earlier. Typically, a single lecture is devoted to corrosion, although, unfortunately, some instructors might not make it all the way through the textbook. Assuming that the student did attend the lecture, he or she is likely to know that corrosion requires an anode, a cathode, electrical contact, and ionic contact. For dissimilar metal couples, the engineer may be able to consult a handbook on the galvanic series and identify which metal would act as the anode in service and which as the cathode. To give an idea of the expectations for engineers, the only such material covered in the engineering license fundamentals of engineering (FE) exam for professional engineers offered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineers (NCEES) is the electromotive force series. A graduating engineer might also have access to a corrosion report prepared by an expert that would allow him or her to make decisions or reach conclusions. She or he is unlikely to be able to proactively address specific corrosion problems in design or independently analyze corrosion failures encountered on the job. Senior Design Course The third kind of course where a student might gain some corrosion awareness is the senior capstone or design course; here students are expected to synthesize the knowledge acquired in many different courses to tackle a particular design problem.2 For instance, such a course for a materials engineer would focus on the selection of materials appropriate for specific applications, so the student engineer would have to consider the impact of corrosion, along with other factors, on the 1 Although the focus of this report is engineering education, the committee notes that often some electrochemistry and corrosion are taught in freshman chemistry classes. 2 A capstone course is a course offered in the final semester of a student’s major. It ties together the key topics that faculty expect the student to have learned during the major, interdisciplinary program, or interdepartmental major.
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Assessment of Corrosion Education functional success of the project. If that student has had little or no exposure to corrosion, a course whose objective is to help the student synthesize knowledge already mastered is unlikely to teach anything else than that corrosion could take place and degrade system performance. Discussion Unfortunately, while these three categories of corrosion education are available in some schools, many students, particularly those in fields of engineering other than materials, are likely to graduate with no formal exposure to corrosion science or engineering. This situation explains the limited corrosion-related skill sets that students are bringing to the workforce. Given the enormous financial and strategic importance of corrosion, as discussed in Chapter 1, how is it that most U.S. engineers can graduate with so little grasp of corrosion? In the committee’s opinion, the answer lies in the growing number of competing topics that the graduates must master. As engineering becomes increasingly complex and interdisciplinary, there is constant pressure to keep adding fresh material to the curriculum, including courses on new tools that lead to a deeper understanding of all materials while keeping the course load to a total of 120-128 credits. (Examples are computational tools for modeling and visualizing everything from bonding to structure formation to macroscopic processes.) This pressure comes from various stakeholders: students, who want to be competitive for employment or admission to graduate schools; faculty members, who sincerely believe that every well-educated student should know a reasonable amount about his or her own research specialty; and also employers, who want new graduates to be conversant in the latest findings. Most engineering educators recognize that curricula are already saturated and accept that if new topics are to be added, old ones must be subtracted or diluted. Corrosion education tends not to fare well in the face of these pressures. Despite its importance, corrosion is not new, and few consider corrosion science and engineering to be at the cutting edge. The very thought of corrosion can be off-putting to students,3 who feel that they should be learning about new technologies with the potential to change the world. Few engineering educators and students grasp the wealth of strategies that are available to prevent corrosion and would rather spend class time on topics that they perceive as more useful. Results from a questionnaire circulated to engineering educators in conjunction with the present study tend to support this view (see Box 2-4 for a discussion 3 A couple of panelists thought that corrosion would be taken more seriously if the name were changed. The corollary cited was the term “tribology,” which has come to be used in place of “wear.”
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Assessment of Corrosion Education BOX 2-4 Data on U.S. Corrosion Education1 Engineering schools in the United States were asked to complete an online questionnaire so that the committee could obtain a clearer picture of the status of undergraduate corrosion education. Questionnaires were sent to 83 educational institutions that included, but were not limited to, all ABET-accredited MSE programs and the top 20 engineering schools in terms of numbers of bachelor’s-level graduates produced annually. Thirty-one responses were received (37 percent response rate); 19 of them were from MSE programs and 12 were from other programs (chemical, civil, mechanical, environmental, or general engineering). Three of the respondents followed a quarter system; the remaining 28 a semester system. The committee recognizes that there is likely to be a strong bias in this exercise, since schools participating in corrosion education would be more likely to respond than schools that did not. Accordingly, the results should be viewed as giving the best case for corrosion offerings rather than a truly accurate picture. Nineteen of the respondents offered a course or courses specifically on corrosion, identifying a total of 26 courses altogether, 16 of which are offered every year. Of these, only 6 undergraduate courses were identified as “required.” The remaining 20 courses comprised 6 elective undergraduate courses, 7 elective graduate-level courses, and 7 elective courses aimed at a mixed audience of undergraduates and graduate students. Although 6 courses were identified as “required,” only one program indicated that it required a corrosion class, along with two specializations within programs. Reasons cited for offering corrosion courses included student interest; the belief that it was essential for materials/metallurgical scientists and engineers to know about corrosion and important for many different careers; and employer demand. Eleven respondents offering corrosion courses indicated that students from other departments took the corrosion course; these students had a wide range of engineering backgrounds. All of the corrosion courses taught the electrochemical fundamentals of corrosion and ways to minimize corrosion by design. Some focused on metallic corrosion, while others covered the degradation of a broad spectrum of engineering materials, including metals, ceramics, polymers, wood, biomaterials, and biodegradable materials in many different service environments. At some schools the content of corrosion courses had changed significantly in the last 10 years: Many reported broadening the range of materials covered, others had increased their emphasis on electrochemical mechanisms in metallic corrosion, and a few emphasized the role of corrosion in fracture mechanics. The questionnaire process identified only three laboratory-based corrosion courses and three corrosion courses offered as distance courses. It is likely that of the questionnaire). More than half of the respondents (19 of the 37) said that their institution offered a specialized course in corrosion.4 However, it is essential 4 Survey recipients were asked about corrosion education at their institution, but the survey did not specify whether corrosion referred exclusively to metallic materials, to the low-temperature degradation of metallic materials, or to general materials degradation. The majority of responses confirmed the committee’s expectation that most individuals consider corrosion to be the degradation of metallic materials.
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Assessment of Corrosion Education these trends reflected the individual strengths of instructors; the survey revealed that corrosion courses were taught by instructors with a wide range of expertise and experience, from corrosion specialists with active research programs in corrosion science and engineering through those with related expertise in electrochemistry and applied chemistry, to those with no formal training in corrosion. Twelve respondents did not offer a specialist course in corrosion. Of the schools that did not offer a specific course, three indicated that other topics had higher priority, four indicated that they had no one to teach such a course, and five said that corrosion was covered in other courses. Seventy-nine percent of all respondents indicated that corrosion was covered in other courses. These other courses were most commonly an introductory materials course required of students in materials science and engineering. Corrosion was also treated in some thermodynamics, design, chemistry, processing, and mechanical behavior courses. Five schools required mechanical engineering undergraduates to take a course that included corrosion, and one or two schools required students in industrial engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, manufacturing, and general engineering to take such a course. Students taking classes in which corrosion was covered along with other topics represented a range of engineering majors, along with students studying physics and dentistry. Because the lack of qualified instructors had been widely cited at workshops as a reason for not offering corrosion courses, the questionnaire asked whether the responding school would consider hiring a faculty member whose technical focus was corrosion. Fifty-eight percent of respondents replied that they would consider making such an appointment, while 42 percent would not. Of those that would consider such an appointment, about half would appoint someone to replace a retiring faculty member. Most of the remainder would consider such an individual provided that they were competitive with candidates across a broad range of other technical areas and had broader expertise. Of those schools that would not consider appointing a corrosion expert, 91 percent believed that other topics had a higher priority and 9 percent believed the availability of research funding was limited. Respondents were asked to identify where graduates from their undergraduate programs eventually found employment. Averaged across all responses, 24 percent ended up working in design, 41 percent in manufacturing, 23 percent in research or academia, and 12 percent in other areas. 1Summary of the results of the questionnaire, which are reported fully in Appendix B. to note that personnel at institutions participating in corrosion education might be more likely to respond to the questionnaire, so that the results should be viewed as probably overstating the real situation.5 Some schools also required the corrosion course for those majoring in disciplines such as materials science, materials science/mechanical engineering joint degree, metallurgy, and chemical engineering, 5 According to data presented to the committee, a DOD survey of schools found that of the 72 institutions surveyed, 31 offered a corrosion course.
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Assessment of Corrosion Education materials and chemicals. This situation somewhat resembles the undergraduate scene described earlier. Information on the number of university faculty who consider themselves corrosion specialists can be found on the Web site of NACE International (originally the National Association of Corrosion Engineers). The list there includes about 81 faculty members (excluding retired faculty) who teach graduate-level corrosion in their department. One estimate is that 48 of them are active in research and that each produces 0.5 to 0.75 corrosion experts with advanced degrees every year, or 24-37 individuals. Of this number, it is estimated that only about 75 percent are employed in corrosion-related jobs, with the remainder finding other engineering or technical jobs. Many universities can also identify between 5 and 9 other faculty spread throughout departments such as MSE, chemical engineering, and chemistry who work in areas closely related to corrosion whose graduates possess the fundamental knowledge that would allow them to be quickly converted into corrosion experts. The committee estimates that a small percent of the graduate students advised by such faculty end up with careers as corrosion specialists. There are approximately 120 chemical engineering programs with graduate programs. Within these chemical engineering departments it is estimated that anywhere from 1 out of 7 to 1 out of 10 professors teach and or conduct research in areas closely related to electrochemistry or other subject matter related to corrosion. A typical graduate chemical engineering department has between 8 and 15 faculty members, 75 percent of whom carry out research. Assuming that each of these “research-active” professors specializing in a corrosion-related area produces 0.5-0.75 graduate student per year and that 10-25 percent of them find work as corrosion specialists, the annual supply of corrosion specialists from this route is 14. Similarly, the 160 graduate mechanical engineering departments average 10-20 faculty members, with about 75 percent of them being active in research. In the best case, 1 in 20 of those professors in a mechanical engineering department might specialize in a field involving time-dependent materials properties, such as environmental degradation. Therefore, this country has about 60 mechanical engineering faculty capable of producing corrosion specialists. If each of these 60 professors graduates 0.5-0.75 student per year and 10 percent find jobs as corrosion specialists, 5 more people can be added to the supply of corrosion specialists. Similar estimates could be made for civil or nuclear engineering, but probably not for electrical, computer science, and systems engineering. Therefore, the total annual production of specialists and experts in corrosion is about 24-37 from programs emphasizing corrosion and another 20 or so from other engineering programs. During the course of this study the committee learned that many people believe the number of corrosion faculty in the United States is declining. Among the 31 universities responding to the committee’s questionnaire, 15 of the 26 answering
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Assessment of Corrosion Education the question said they would consider hiring a faculty member whose technical focus is corrosion. Of the remaining departments, only 2 (of 26) cited insufficient research funds as the deciding factor in not hiring such a faculty member; the rest said that other topics had higher priority. However, only 12.5 percent of those who would consider hiring new corrosion faculty would fill a newly created slot with requisite facilities set aside for the hiring of a corrosion specialist professor. Other answers were these: We would consider such a candidate if the candidate is competitive with candidates from other specialties. We do not have a specific position set aside for corrosion studies. Candidate must have strong materials expertise, not just corrosion. They will be considered if their work also involves applications of electrochemistry to energy production. Of those who would not consider hiring such a faculty member, 91 percent said that other topics have higher priority and 9 percent said that limited availability of research funds was the reason this area would not be considered. Other evidence of this trend came from a panel of university MSE department chairs interviewed by the committee. Most revealed that retiring faculty specializing in corrosion probably would not be replaced by younger colleagues. The committee’s consensus was that grants for corrosion-related research were on the decline at these leading engineering universities. In addition, the universities recognize that more funding is available for novel and cutting-edge research. Acquiring such funding would allow them to compete for the best students and would satisfy the faculty desire to conduct research in new areas where important advances can be made. The committee does not know how many corrosion specialists who retire in the next 10 years will be replaced. There was anecdotal evidence that faculty in corrosion are sometimes not replaced when a position is vacated. However, sometimes the replacement was a new person with competence in related areas such as electrochemical materials synthesis or fuel cells. The second piece of evidence for this perceived decline in faculty numbers is the shrinking number of journal articles on corrosion by authors at U.S. universities. Figure 2-7 shows data on the U.S. share of papers on corrosion and Figure 2-8 shows the U.S. share in two leading materials journals (more detail on the corrosion authorship data is available in Appendix C). Figure 2-9 shows a decrease in the number of Defense Technical Information Center reports on corrosion over the last few decades. Assuming that the mean authorship rate did not change with time, the number of faculty authors is decreasing with time. DSB’s report on corrosion control10 points out that there is some fragmentation in corrosion funding with 1- and 2-year award periods. As a result of this fragmented funding, there is not enough continuity or stability to sustain gradu- 10 Defense Science Board, Report on Corrosion Control. Available at http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA428767. Accessed March 2008. Summarized in Appendix A.
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Assessment of Corrosion Education FIGURE 2-7 Upper: Articles published in Corrosion and Corrosion Science from 1985 to 2007. The chart indicates a gradual overall decline in the percentage of articles written by authors at U.S. institutions. Lower: Number of articles in the journals Corrosion and Corrosion Science written by authors at U.S. universities vs. by authors at U.S. institutions other than academic, tracked every other year between 1985 and 2007. Articles on property degradation in nonmetals invariably appear in specialized journals in polymer science, composites, ceramics, and so on.
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Assessment of Corrosion Education FIGURE 2-8 Share of papers from the Journal of Materials Research and Journal of Materials Science written by authors with U.S. affiliations. FIGURE 2-9 Number of documents on corrosion entered into the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) database. SOURCE: Advanced Materials and Processes Technology Information Analysis Center (AMPTIAC).
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Assessment of Corrosion Education ate education over the 2- to 5-year time frame necessary for students to earn their degrees. These funding trends will also lead to a decline in the supply of corrosion specialists as well as in the number of papers on research in corrosion. Since graduate schooling is the leading way to educate corrosion specialists and since graduate work is funded by research grants, it is reasonable to suppose that the supply of corrosion specialists is almost directly proportional to the number of grants and the total dollar value just as it is dependent on the number of faculty conducting corrosion research. To attract graduate students who eventually become corrosion specialists, university engineering programs offer graduate research assistantships (GRAs). Universities must have the financial resources to offer a GRA, which involves a research stipend, tuition, and health insurance, not to mention indirect costs of roughly 50 percent. R&D programs at universities and the funding of GRAs rely heavily on research grants and/or contracts. Much of this funding comes from the federal government and various state government agencies; some comes from industry and private foundations. Partial funding has recently been offered by technical societies. How much does it cost to produce a corrosion expert through graduate education? The national average for funding a faculty member specializing in corrosion is $200,000, with wide variation. This amount supports between two and four graduate students or two postdoctoral research associates, assuming annual costs of $50,000 per student plus associated experimental and equipment costs as well as faculty time, raising the yearly costs to $80,000 to $100,000 per student. A master’s-level student takes 2 years to complete the program, while a Ph.D. student takes 4-5 years. Overhead costs are about a third of the total. So the costs of educating a corrosion specialist are about $200,000 for a master’s-level corrosion expert ($80,000 to $100,000 per year for 2 years) and $320,000 to $500,000 for a Ph.D.-level corrosion expert ($80,000 to $100,000 per year for 4-5 years). These numbers can be used to estimate how many new corrosion experts can be created for a given increment of research funding. CONTINUING CORROSION EDUCATION Those engineers in the upper part of the corrosion workforce pyramid (Figure 2-1), specialists who hold M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in corrosion, typically do not need to undertake continuing education except perhaps to learn a new technique or refresh their knowledge in it or an area they do not typically use, such as when moving to a new employer in a different technical area. Engineers in the midsections of the pyramid—that is, those with a baccalaureate in engineering but without significant corrosion knowledge—can learn about corrosion in the workplace by means of employer-sponsored short courses that teach technical skills or basic knowledge. Few employers hire corrosion experts.
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Assessment of Corrosion Education Rather, when they face complex corrosion problems they contract with technology consultants, who in turn employ corrosion specialists. This trend occurs with even greater frequency in smaller or medium-sized organizations, where employees are valued for their ability to perform many multidisciplinary tasks. Such employers often hire capable bachelor’s-level engineers who can gain further competence through on-the-job training in corrosion design, mitigation, prevention, and control, supplemented by continuing education as time and resources permit. This approach can help a company or government organization produce its own cadre of corrosion-knowledgeable engineers (and in some instances with further and more extensive knowledge-based education can even produce corrosion specialists). Another approach to enhancing corrosion knowledge could involve extramural or internal short courses. The former would involve additional living and travel expenses for someone attending classes at remote sites. Internal learning opportunities offered in nominally 1- or 2-hour segments during the normal workweek can include in-house distance or online learning, with employees still fulfilling most of their job functions. It would make sense to tap employees who seem predisposed, by virtue of their technical background (in, for example, chemistry), competence, or general technical promise, to be able to acquire corrosion expertise (see Box 2-6). The continuing education in this instance would typically include from 3 to 10 years of experiential training combined with short courses and, possibly, stays at universities. One downside of this approach is that although these employees would emerge with good skills, they would probably have some gaps in fundamental knowledge compared to traditionally educated university graduates. This approach nonetheless would be superior to leaving the organization with no corrosion expertise. Clearly the duration of the on-the-job training cycle depends primarily on the BOX 2-6 Cost of Producing a Corrosion Expert by Means of Continuing Education It would be useful to estimate an organization’s total cost for producing a corrosion expert in this way. It can take from 3 to 5 years for a new, B.S.-level engineer to be fully productive, with much of this time needed for learning operating processes and applications. While most new employees will require additional formal education, all must receive on-the-job training. Assuming that (1) the typical burdened annual labor cost for an engineer is $200,000 per year and (2) the process of learning about corrosion requires up to 50 percent of that engineer’s time over 5 years on the job before that engineer can be declared a corrosion specialist, the prorated cost to that organization would be $600,000 per expert (50 percent × $200,000 per year × 5 yr = $500,000, with another $100,000 for tuition and off-site travel = $600,000).
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Assessment of Corrosion Education individual’s capability and the availability of experienced, qualified mentors as well as the scientific or technical complexity of the job assignments. An organization might consider sponsoring an employee as a full- or part-time student to earn an advanced academic degree. The corrosion workforce pyramid (Figure 2-1) shows that the foundation of the ideal corrosion workforce is a team of corrosion-aware and corrosion-knowledgeable technologists. This segment of the workforce includes maintainers, technologists, and some procurement, production, and maintenance officials who require only minimal corrosion knowledge. For this segment, continuing education in the form of informal on-the-job training and formal short courses is a cost-effective way to develop more productive and competent employees. In particular it can be useful for workers who perform routine and repetitive duties. Another reason for offering courses to technologists is for their qualification and certification. A certificate from a knowledgeable, independent third party proves that a worker is qualified to perform a particular procedure (e.g., surface preparation, application of coatings and/or linings, cathodic protection) or to inspect systems or components for the integrity of painted, coated, or lined systems, for example. Job performance in this sector of the workforce can be enhanced when these employees have a better understanding of corrosion’s impact. They will be able to identify corrosion and proactively prevent it from degrading the performance and durability of the particular system or piece of equipment they are maintaining. Because short courses are an essential element of continuing education, the committee carried out a search for such courses. Appendix D provides an overview of the short courses that the committee is aware of (there may be others of which the committee is not aware). Short courses cost from $100 to $3,800 depending on their length, the means of instruction, and the organization providing the instruction. Table 2-1 summarizes the material in Appendix D organized roughly according to the categories in the corrosion workforce pyramid. TABLE 2-1 Courses Organized into Basic or Advanced Generic Corrosion, System- or Technology-Specific Groupings Plus Additional Certification or Training Courses Category Course Provider Structure Focus Advanced (post-B.S.) courses on generic corrosion Penn State Short course, with lab General North Dakota State Short course, with lab General ASM Short course, without lab General Society of Automotive Engineers Short course, without lab General/automotive Ohio State University Distance learning General
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Assessment of Corrosion Education Category Course Provider Structure Focus Introductory (undergraduate) courses on generic corrosion NACE Short course, with lab General Corrosion College Short course, with lab General Technology Training, Inc. Short course without lab General Western States Corrosion Seminar Short course without lab General Applied courses on platform- or system-specific corrosion University of Kansas Short course with lab Aircraft NACE Short course with lab Pipeline Short course with lab Refining industry Short course with lab Offshore Short course with lab Shipboard Oklahoma State University Short course without lab Pipeline Short course without lab Internal Appalachian Underground Short course without lab Pipeline (basic) Short course without lab Pipeline (advanced) Short course without lab Water and wastewater Short course without lab Coatings Corrosion Clinic Short course without lab Defense industry Short course without lab Automotive industry Center for Professional Advancement Short course without lab Oil and gas industry Corrosion Courses Short course without lab Oil and gas industry PetroSkills, LLC Short course without lab Oil and gas industry Courses on applied technology-specific corrosion Oklahoma State University Short course without lab External Purdue Underground Short Course Short course without lab Cathodic protection (basic) Short course without lab Cathodic protection (advanced) Short course without lab Coatings Technology Training, Inc. Short course without lab Corrosion control techniques Western States Corrosion Seminar Short course without lab Corrosion fundamentals Short course without lab Intermediate-level corrosion Short course without lab Advanced-level corrosion Supplemental corrosion awareness Defense Acquisition University Online Corrosion prevention and control Army Corrosion Training (CTC) Online Basic corrosion control course Training to obtain a certificate or license NACE Short course with lab Coatings Inspector (1) Short course with lab Coatings Inspector (2) Short course with lab Cathodic protection NOTE: ASM, American Society for Materials International; CTC, Concurrent Technologies Corporation.
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Assessment of Corrosion Education Short courses are primarily taught by three types of organizations: professional societies, postsecondary institutions, and private companies. Appendix D lists the organizations that are now regularly offering extramural corrosion training and education, along with some of the courses and administrative and course content details. Topics range from the basic and fundamental—as might be expected, a course entitled Corrosion Basics—to the focused and specific, such as one entitled Corrosion in Microelectronics. Corrosion is also covered in some short courses in the context of overall component design—for example, the ASME course Mechanical Insulation Design. All the courses cover the following: Introductory courses giving an overview of corrosion and its importance for society; The mechanisms of corrosion, including electrochemical, pitting, and cracking and its thermodynamic and kinetic aspects; Materials-specific classes covering both materials selection and how corrosion mechanisms vary between materials; Corrosion control by cathodic and anodic means and by coatings; The detection of corrosion; and Sector-specific courses in sectors such the military, pipelines, the automotive industry, and aircraft applications. Table 2-2 summarizes the committee’s analysis of how different levels of the workforce would benefit from the courses available. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS The committee has found that corrosion technologists are often trained on the job by means of short courses focused on defined sets of skills and on responses to generally known sets of conditions that are often repeated over and over again. It has also found that only a fraction of U.S. undergraduate MSE students are exposed to a course with detailed information on corrosion. The availability of such a course depends on faculty interest and expertise, as well as on how the teaching of corrosion fares in competition with other demands on the curriculum. In other design and engineering disciplines, undergraduate engineering students typically learn little about materials selection and usually have no more than one or two lectures on corrosion, often none. Whereas graduate engineering students specializing in corrosion get formal training in it, graduate MSE students are typically not required to take a course in corrosion; moreover, such courses are only offered in departments where there is a faculty member with expertise in corrosion. The availability of teachers for corrosion depends in turn on the health
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Assessment of Corrosion Education TABLE 2-2 How Continuing Education Courses Like Those Listed in Appendix D Would Benefit the Corrosion Workforce Level of Corrosion Expertise Level of Education and/or Training Training Options and Outcomes Short Courses Online Courses Expert Ph.D. corrosion faculty n/a n/a Ph.D. Would be a refresher n/a M.S. with extensive on-the-job training Would supplement knowledge n/a Highly knowledgeable M.S. with on-the-job training Would supplement knowledge n/a B.S. in corrosion field with extensive on-the-job training Would supplement knowledge n/a Knowledgeable Ph.D. in related field with no specific corrosion experience Would increase knowledge Would increase knowledge B.S. with on-the-job training Would supplement knowledge Would increase knowledge B.S. in noncorrosion field with extensive on-the-job training Would increase knowledge Would increase knowledge Minimally knowledgeable B.S. in noncorrosion field with minimal on-the-job training n/a Could increase corrosion awareness and job performance No degree but on-the-job training n/a Could increase corrosion awareness and job performance Minimal to none: Familiarity would be beneficial Procurement official with nontechnical degree n/a Could increase corrosion awareness and job performance Maintenance and production worker with trade school education n/a Could increase corrosion awareness and job effectiveness Maintenance and production worker with high school education n/a Could increase corrosion awareness and job effectiveness Maintenance technicians and military personnel n/a Could increase corrosion awareness and job effectiveness NOTE: n/a means the committee believes the course would not benefit that category of worker relative to its effort or cost.
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Assessment of Corrosion Education of the corrosion research community and therefore on the availability of funding for that research. The committee has found that there are many short courses available for the continuing education of engineers and technologists of many different skill and education levels in addition to on-the-job training programs (see Appendix D). Since continuing education often imparts specific skills in specific technologies during intensive, usually 2- to 5-day extramural courses, it often leaves gaps in the employee’s fundamental knowledge base (compared with the traditionally educated university graduate who takes semester-long courses where course prerequisites and out-of-class assignments assure a better learning of corrosion fundamentals). In the committee’s opinion, anything learned from short courses, while beneficial, is not as deep as the learning from a rigorous corrosion education curriculum that teaches basic science, engineering, and mathematics and gives an engineer the intellectual skills to perform complex tasks, create new materials and innovative processes, and solve difficult problems that enable the control and mitigation of corrosion.