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Experts study nanotechnology to tackle corrosion in oil and gas industry

Muscat - 

A research team at the Caledonian College of Engineering (CCE) is studying corrosion in oil and gas production in Oman, and the application of nanotechnology in finding a solution. A press release stated that the pipelines used in oil and gas production industries are always an important market for surface engineering fields.

'At present much research has been attempted to prevent corrosion through various coatings but the combination of nanotechnology and electroless nickel coating techniques in Oman and other Gulf countries have not been tested to a greater extent.'

The annual cost of corrosion worldwide is over three per cent of the world’s GDP and is around US$2.2tn as per the National Association of Corrosion Engineers. Accidents caused by corroded structures can lead to loss of life and resources.

During the summer season in Oman high ambient temperature contributes to corrosion of oil pipelines and is one of the major problems facing oil exploration engineers and technicians.

'The effect of corrosion ranges from a simple loss of appearance, which can lead to unsaleable merchandise, to increased operating costs. 'Many metallic coatings have been developed as barriers against corrosion but have been inherently porous and therefore have provided poor protection for the base metal,' the release stated.

The use of nanotechnology, however, in combating corrosion in oil pipes provides an effective and economical solution. 'Electroless Ni-P is a unique surface protective coating which gives uniform thickness on the substrate surface. The phosphorous along with the nano additives present in the coatings make an amorphous layer preventing corrosion.'

CCE will now further investigate the problem in the next phase of research, focusing on nano additives of high phosphorous, low stress electroless nickel coating.

'It is hoped that this will help in eliminating the porosity problem.'

The research team, led by Dr Elansezhian, Dr R V Murali and Muhammad Mumtaz Mirza from CCE’s mechanical and industrial engineering department, will develop electroless nickel phosphorous coating patterns on alloy steel that can be reapplied in pipelines of oil industries.

'This avenue of research is expected to lead to many direct and indirect benefits both in industry and academia.

‘Some of the direct benefits may include the introduction of this field as a curriculum at CCE, together with capacity building through student and staff projects.

'Indirect benefits may include developing technical expertise in the area of corrosion in the college and in Oman, leading to taking up of industrial problems. The team carrying out research in the field of corrosion will be actively exploring the possibilities of transferring technology to industries in need.'

The release stated that ‘the use of appropriate corrosion prevention methods ensures public safety and prevents damage to property and environment.

This is of interest to oil producing countries like in GCC where billions of dollars of revenue are wasted in corrosion-related problems.'

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