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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