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Research Opportunities in Corrosion Science and Engineering
Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.2 In addition, the Office of the Secretary of Defense developed a corrosion strategy and, in 2005, began funding technology transition and implementation projects that had been set up by all branches of the services. It is becoming increasingly obvious to DOD with each year’s projects, that significant new technology is needed to meet the DOD goal of predicting and managing corrosion, in contrast to the current approach of simply finding corrosion and fixing it.
While many corrosion inhibition processes have been discovered and implemented, there is often little understanding of why they work. This lack of understanding prevents the advancement of these processes and research on alternatives. Accelerated corrosion tests in aggressive environments are used to assess corrosion resistance, but in many cases they do not correlate to real-world exposures because of a lack of fundamental understanding of the role of important parameters. Predictive capabilities cannot be developed where corrosion processes or their rates are not understood. The corrosion processes of concern occur in the air, on land, and at sea; in organic and inorganic materials; and under a host of conditions with impacts that are measurable but not adequately understood. A basic understanding of materials and their degradation is necessary to all industries and is especially critical to the nation’s defense, transportation, nuclear, and medical industries.
Some of the outstanding issues for fundamental research include the following:
What is the mechanism of pit initiation?
What are the next important processes in corrosion to better understand and model?
What is the true chemistry inside localized corrosion sites, and how does it affect corrosion processes?
Corrosion at the nanoscale: What is really of interest?
What is the nature of the bond between an organic molecule and an oxide or oxi-hydroxide-covered metal surface?
What are the new techniques available for corrosion research, and what capabilities can they bring?
These and similar questions are the foundation of a potentially compelling fundamental research program. It is timely therefore for a study to identify the compelling opportunities in research to improve the basic understanding of materials degradation and related sciences. Such a study could provide prioritized recommendations for fundamental research and development necessary to gain