University Using AI to Prevent Marine Corrosion
A research team from Curtin University in Western Australia has recently developed an artificial intelligence monitoring tool to improve the maintenance of marine structures impacted by corrosion. Headed by lead researcher Dr. Mobin Salasi from the Curtin Corrosion Center, the joint project received funding from Smart Crete CRC to deploy the tool on structures such as jetties and ports.
According to the university’s release, the research will assist Fremantle Port Authority and Southern Ports in proactively monitoring corrosion of aging infrastructure and exploring the suitability of maintenance tools and products.
Corrosion occurs on marine structures due to their exposure to harsh conditions. This includes the salt water “splash zone” where the movement of water plus high levels of oxygen and chlorides induce the “perfect” corrosive environment.
“Each year, 30 billion tons of concrete are used for construction, and some of the structures subject to harsh conditions, such as the ocean, which can have a significant impact on their strength and capability to last,” Salasi said.
Salasi noted that the cost of corrosion-related infrastructure in Australia is estimated to be $8 billion. This can lead to loss of functionality, high maintenance costs and, in rare extreme situations, catastrophic failures causing injuries, requiring regular inspections and maintenance as preventative measures.
“This project will address the problem from two fronts – monitoring and repair. Concrete corrosion is a complex multifactorial phenomenon, so the team will develop a new AI-based decision-making tool that will be fed data and images on the marine structures and then the algorithm will produce reports of high-risk areas for the Port authorities, so the maintenance strategies can be scheduled,” he continued. “We will also look at a better repair solution to lengthen the life and extend the inspection interval for these structures.”
“Marine structures are an integral part of shipping and transport industries, so it is paramount that these structures are maintained to ensure no other flow-on impacts. In collaboration with Dr. Amin Chegenizadeh and Dr. Masood Khan from Curtin’s School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, we will tackle the issue by monitoring the structures and addressing any concerns before it is too late,” said Professor Mariano Iannuzzi, Director of the Curtin Corrosion Center.
The research team anticipates that the innovative tool will lead to cost savings in the long term, as well as reduce the environmental impact caused by the corroded structures. Additionally, novel concrete chemistry monitoring will be assessed as part of the project, supported by Parchem Construction Supplies.
The project utilizes expertise from Curtin’s partnership with technology company Cisco, deploying students from Innovation Central Perth to support sensor fusion, dashboard development and development of an AI tool to support predictive maintenance. The partnership is built upon an existing project involving Curtin and Fremantle Ports, as well as an alliance agreement with the Corrosion Centre at Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute.
Additional partners include researchers from Curtin’s School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Macquarie University, and Qatar Environment and Energy Institute at Hamad bin Khalifa University.