The Defense Department is trying to recruit new troops of all ages in its war on corrosion, with several new programs in development for today’s and tomorrow’s engineers.
For current professional engineers, DOD’s Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight (CorrDefense) is developing a series of free, online training videos that will highlight 15 areas of concentration related to corrosion and materials degradation.
Several segments are planned for each area, and all will be technical, polished, professional-level presentations, written by CorrDefense and aimed at working engineers who would benefit from corrosion training, says CorrDefense director Daniel J. Dunmire.
DOD Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight
|DOD’s Corrosion Office wants to train engineers, and turn on students, to the field of materials degradation.|
“There are so many engineers out there who know nothing about corrosion, who never heard of corrosion during their education,” says Dunmire, who is passionate about corrosion education.
Beyond Talking Heads
“This has never been done before, and certainly hasn’t been done for free,” Dunmire said in an interview. “We’re writing the scripts from scratch. They won’t just be talking heads. We’re trying to keep them compelling to watch.”
The corrosion engineering content will have a military focus, but nearly all of the information is transferable to civilian applications, Dunmire says.
“Materials are materials are materials, and they all degrade,” he said.
Each segment will take one to three hours to work through, and CorrDefense hopes to have the first one—an overview of corrosion engineering issues—available on its site by January.
‘These Will Last’
The project will incorporate guidelines and parameters set by Defense Acquisition University, which offers training and professional development for the defense acquisition workforce. The videos are being produced by Bruno White Entertainment Inc., whose clients also include Disney and Coca-Cola.
The cost of the project is not yet known, but it should be a one-time expense; the content should have an unlimited shelf life, Dunmire says.
“Unless there’s some new physics from God, these things will last,” he said. “We’re making sure these will last.”
Reaching Tomorrow’s Engineers
Professional development is one thing; trying to make material degradation sexy to young people choosing a career path is another.
“The biggest problem we have in corrosion is that we do not have enough people in the field,” Dunmire says. “We have such a lack of excitement in the field of material degradation. And we want to show that this is an exciting field.”
To that end, the agency is heading an initiative to develop an interactive middle-school-oriented exhibit to bring the science of corrosion and materials degradation to school students.
Working with representatives of SSPC, NACE, the NACE Foundation and Bruno White Entertainment, CorrDefense is developing a model display for the Orlando Science Center, which draws about 80,000 school-aged visitors each year.
“This is a brand-new initiative, and the people involved are going to make it happen,” Dunmire says. Group members have been surveying local science center displays and programs since their initial meeting a few months ago; they meet next on May 26.
Private Investment Sought
Dunmire hopes the initial exhibit, which his organization will fund, will become a prototype that private industry can then customize, replicate and export to other science centers at far less expense. The goal is to install such exhibits at every science center in the country.
The prototype will cost about $80,000, and subsequent exhibits could probably be developed for about half that cost, Dunmire estimates.
“This is very important,” he says. “I’m hoping we’ll have a pipeline of kids who at least know what corrosion is, and remember that when they go to college. If I get one [student to pursue a career in the field], it pays for itself.”