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Researchers Develop Corrosion and Traffic Solutions

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and The University of Texas at San Antonio have announced two new research projects: a new method for mitigating cracking and corrosion in piping used by the oil and gas sectors, and a traffic management system that can be both powered by sustainable thermal energy and be implemented in areas with less access to traffic signage.

The projects will be conducted through the Connecting through Research Partnerships (Connect) Program, with each receiving $125,000 in funding.

Corrosion Correction

With the threat of material failure posed by corrosion, especially in deep sea drilling and oil transmission pipelines, SwRI and UTSA will collaborate to pinpoint changes in solution chemistry and oxide film composition that cause localized cracking and corrosion. According to SwRI, the team will use Raman Spectroscopy and electrochemical corrosion measurements to address pathways of corrosion that can be mitigated by selecting appropriate inhibitors or advanced materials.

“SwRI is a recognized leader in the corrosion community with extensive expertise in the oil and gas industry,” James Dante, manager of the SwRI Environmental Performance of Materials Section, said. “SwRI is using this expertise and well developed testing infrastructure to work collaboratively with UTSA to bring new methods of assessing the mechanisms of corrosion in harsh oil and gas environments.”

Southwest Research Institute

According to SwRI, the team will use Raman Spectroscopy and electrochemical corrosion measurements to address pathways of corrosion that can be mitigated by selecting appropriate inhibitors or advanced materials.

Dante is working in collaboration with Brendy C. Rincon Troconis, an assistant professor in the UTSA Department of Mechanical Engineering, on the project, “Effects of Triazine-Based H2S Scavenger Byproducts on the Film Composition and Cracking of Carbon Steel in Oilfield Applications.”

Traffic Management

For the second endeavor, both research institutions have proposed a traffic management system that would harvest and utilize ambient energy as a power source that could detect traffic and activate the appropriate signage. With Texas road fatalities reaching a record high in 2016, this research could help rectify one of the primary causes: a lack of signals at intersections.

“Our work endeavors to combine SwRI expertise in sensors and electronics with UTSA expertise in electronics, highway construction and management,” SwRI’s Jerome Helffrich said. “We plan to develop a traffic sensor that is cheaper and less complex than those typically used. This sensor-based system can be implemented in rural areas where costs have discouraged the use of traffic control systems. This idea, if successful, will bring high-tech sensors and warning signage to dangerous intersections in rural areas to reduce crashes, fatalities and operational costs.”

Helffrich, an Institute scientist in the Applied Physics Division at SwRI, is working with Samer Dessouky, an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, on “Promoting Sustainability and Safety for Texas Rural Roadways through Self-Powered Sensing and Detection Systems.”

Connect Program

The Connect program works to increase scientific collaboration between SwRI and UTSA, and has funded 13 projects since 2010.

“These chosen projects also fit within our developing Smart Cities and Sustainable Communities/Critical Infrastructure research portfolio and will benefit all citizens of Texas and beyond. Open collaboration within our network of research institutions here in San Antonio is key in developing practical solutions to address critical often aging resources and assets,” Dr. Bernard Arulanandam, Interim Vice President for Research, UTSA, said.

“The Connect projects that were selected this year deal with two important infrastructure assets, roads and pipelines,” said Walt Downing, SwRI Executive Vice President and COO. “UTSA faculty and graduate students working together with SwRI scientists and engineers will develop innovative technologies to increase public safety.”


Tagged categories: Corrosion; Corrosion protection; Research and development; Traffic control

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