fense, industrial productivity, economic competitiveness, environmental protection and sustainability, and the standard of living and quality of life. Numerous what-if scenarios suggest ways that fundamental advances in corrosion science could have a positive impact on numerous problems facing society. What if fundamental science uncovered so-called silver bullets in materials or coating designs for mitigation of corrosion that could extend the use of cost-effective materials into more extreme environments or enhance materials capabilities for energy storage? The ability to effectively address many societal and technological challenges could benefit from game-changing advances in corrosion science.
Corrosion science, a truly interdisciplinary field that includes aspects of physics, materials science, surface science, electrochemistry, and fracture mechanics, benefits directly from new developments not only in those associated fields of fundamental science, but also in others. One challenge for the corrosion science community is to pursue strategies to harvest those diverse benefits and apply them to corrosion-related problems.
The multidisciplinary nature of corrosion research requires a balanced portfolio of single investigator and collaborative group activity. Group efforts at various government laboratories have addressed corrosion problems, and some continue at this time. In academia, however, funding for group efforts is difficult to find, particularly for fundamental and applied problems. National Science Foundation (NSF) funding, with the exception of that for large centers, tends to focus on single-investigator projects. A model of what is required is the DOD Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program, which supports research by small teams of investigators from more than one traditional science and engineering discipline in order to accelerate both research progress and the transition of research results to applications. Most MURI efforts involve researchers from multiple academic institutions and academic departments and include support for up to 5 years.
Corrosion science remains a fertile scientific endeavor, poised for advances that will benefit society. As in the past, these advances will be enabled by progress in related fields, particularly in materials characterization and computation. Indeed, an overarching observation is that the amazing recent advances in these areas portend well for the future of corrosion science as capabilities for refining time and length scales allow modeling and experimentation to converge.
While corrosion traditionally has been observed at the macroscale, recent scientific emphasis has shifted to understanding the processes at smaller length (and time) scales. For example, many corrosion processes are now known to be controlled by molecular-, submicrometer-, and micrometer-scale phenomena. Although much has to be learned regarding the nanoscale chemistry, structure, and dynamics at individual grain boundaries or other key material features, progress is also required at the granular scale to understand how networks of boundaries and