Professor Gets Funding for Corrosion Research
A researcher at Marquette University in Milwaukee is reportedly set to receive almost $740,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for method on protecting critical infrastructure from corrosion.
Qinda Huang, an associate professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering in the university’s Opus College of Engineering, will reportedly use the DOT’s grant to study cathodic protection methods for pipelines.
About the Research
To protect the steel used in pipelines from corrosion, a separate metal is reportedly used that can break down instead of the steel. The additional metal reportedly contains electrons that are lost in the oxidization process.
According to the university’s release, Huang and her research team will research the use of cathodic protection through a “reliability-based approach” by utilizing important pipeline integrity information to reliably model corrosion growth, assess the probability of failure and develop reliability-based cathodic protection and corrosion management.
“Corrosion is a time-dependent threat and is a cause of significant transmission and gathering pipeline incidents in the United States. The first line of defense against external corrosion has been pipeline coating that can fail due to age and deterioration,” Huang said.
“Cathodic protection is the second line of defense and has become a widely accepted approach in the pipeline industry. However, managing cathodic protection systems is challenging due to uncontrollable environmental factors and possible current interferences.”
Huang added that the team’s research will use detailed survey and inspection data with its approach to evaluate the effectiveness of cathodic protection by examining the “external corrosion probability of failure, risk, life-cycle cost and benefits under various scenarios.”
The release adds that the technical objectives of the research project include:
Huang’s co-principal investigator on the project is Dr. Qixin Zhou, associate professor of chemical, biomolecular and corrosion engineering at the University of Akron.
Funding for the project has reportedly come from the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
In September, the National Energy Technology Laboratory announced a new development in advanced sensors for the detection and prediction of corrosion in natural gas pipelines.
The new sensors could aid in stopping ruptures and leaks that release methane and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and help mitigate climate change, NETL stated.
According to NETL’s release, the country’s natural gas pipeline network has around 300,000 miles of major interstate and intrastate pipelines and over 2 million miles of distribution lines.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, this large transportation network has previously helped deliver about 27.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to about 77.7 million consumers in 2021.
The release added that methane is the primary component in natural gas, the second most abundant anthropogenic GHG after carbon dioxide. Though its lifetime in the atmosphere is much shorter than CO2, methane is reportedly over 25 times as strong as CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
The work on the proposal was reportedly done by Riushu Wright and Jagannath Devkota, with former colleagues Ping Lu and Paul Ohodnicki, and has culminated in the development of the new patented technology titled “Distributed Fiber-Optic Sensor Network for Sensing the Corrosion Onset and Quantification.”
The team's invention was reportedly intended to combat corrosion in natural gas pipelines through early detection using either optical fiber-based or passive wireless sensing technology. The network was able to monitor internal corrosion in pipelines by obtaining exact localized multi-parameter measurements of condensed water properties.
NETL’s pipeline sensor team has also reportedly finished multiple successful field tests of a large new collection of sensor technologies for natural gas pipeline monitoring that could help ensure safer and more secure natural gas pipeline delivery and mitigate methane emissions.
The data from the tests reportedly found the exact location of events and conditions going on, at or near the fiber sensor cable. Optical fiber sensors can reportedly offer advantages over other types of sensors because they are small, lightweight, can endure high temperatures and pressures and are impervious to electromagnetic interference.