International b2b Forum
28 – 29.06.2018
International b2b Forum<br/>28 – 29.06.2018

Interview with Prof. Dr. Günter Schmitt in connection with the forthcoming Conference ‘Corrosion Prevention Balkans’ 2018 and his presentations’ participation


1. Prof. Schmitt, please present in brief the focus of your both presentations:

3-4% of the Gross National Product of industrialized countries are lost due to corrosion. Worldwide this amounts to 2.2 trillion US-$ and nearly one third, 660 billion US-$, could be saved by only applying the present day knowledge on corrosion protection technologies.  For Bulgaria the estimated savings for 2018 would amount to about 700 million US-$. Clearly there is a global need for knowledge dissemination on corrosion and corrosion control. Conferences like the Corrosion Prevention Balkans 2018 in Plovdiv are of paramount importance in this respect. However, not only experts in C&CP should attend this conference.

Also decision-makers in industry and government should attend to become aware of the consequences and extent of corrosion which affects all parts of our technical and private life. They need to learn how critical it is to control corrosion, and how important it is to join forces nationally and internationally. However, it is not enough to disseminate existing knowledge. New technologies present new challenges in corrosion prevention. This means research and development in research institutions (e.g. universities) and in industry; and this means funds and investments in R&D, money that pays out to save lives, infrastructure and industrial assets. Decision-makers in industry and government shall learn that they can contribute to the corrosion savings by making the right financial decisions and promote not only knowledge dissemination but also innovative developments in materials selection and surface protection.

I give this presentation in my position as president of the International Corrosion Council (ICC) with representatives of 62 countries all over the world. At this occasion I hope that Bulgaria will join after this conference as country no. 63 in this large scientific and professional corrosion community, devoted to
- stimulate internationally research in corrosion science and engineering and to
  encourage broad dissemination of the results,
- promote cooperation and friendship among and between corrosion scientists and
  engineers in every country,
- foster the practical application of research results through education and
- facilitate communication between corrosion specialists and engineers.

I give this presentation also in my position as board member of the World Corrosion Organization (WCO) which like the World Health Organization (WHO) is a non-governmental member of the United Nations in Ney York, devoted to raising the awareness of corrosion and corrosion protection around the world and representing 35 corrosion associations and societies worldwide, including the International Corrosion Council. The message of my first presentation at this conference has also been manifested in the WCO White Book with the same title prepared by me as the main author (see

With my second presentation I am highlighting a new versatile corrosion monitoring methodology. We call it the CoulCount-method. It is based on electrochemical noise, but uses a completely different signal evaluation algorithm than traditional electrochemical noise approaches. This makes it simpler to apply and yield more reliable data than other electrochemical techniques, like linear polarisation resistance (LPR) measurements. Together with a brand-new small rechargeable hand-held measuring device, real-time corrosion rates can be measured easily in the lab and in the field, also in ex-protected areas. Traffic-light signals on the instrument directly indicate green, yellow and red corrosion situations. With calibration, corrosion rates can be read directly on the instrument which contains also a sufficiently largeq data storage. This is an innovative contribution to corrosion condition monitoring. We apply this monitoring system presently - among a lot of other applications – as online-monitoring device in a 150 bar bypass with sight glasses at a sweet natural gas well to monitor the efficiency of corrosion inhibitors.

What are the advantages of corrosion control & failure prevention strategies?

Waiting for corrosion failures to happen is clearly the most inefficient way to maintain assets. Efficient is to identify sites of corrosion risks, assess the risk level with respect to safety, production losses and environment, and control the conditions at risky sites. Controlling means: analysing, measuring and monitoring local corrosion severities. This allows condition-based, risk-oriented maintenance of assets, which is the most cost effective maintenance method.  The aim of all materials protection methods is not corrosion prevention, because corrosion as a natural process cannot be prevented. The aim is failure prevention in a case-dependent time frame.

What are the main points of the development in corrosion control?

As corrosion is defined as the interaction of a material with an environment which happens at the interphase/interface, failure prevention can be accomplished from the materials side, from the environment side and from the interphase/interface side. The selection of the appropriate methodology for protecting assets from corrosion failures is case-dependent. For example, cathodic protection is a methodology to prevent corrosion failures at pipelines from the interphase/interface side. However, at the same time cathodic protection allows also the monitoring of the corrosion-related condition of the pipeline and can be used for condition-based maintenance.

Which are the main industry sectors that are mostly influenced by corrosive materials deterioration and by the novelties in corrosion protection?

Literally all sectors in industry, infrastructure and even private life are influenced by corrosive materials deterioration. However, they differ significantly in corrosion rate which finally determines the lifetime of the assets.
In the chemical industry corrosion rates can be fast, in the order of months or several years, because very aggressive media have to be handled. Innovative coatings can be used as a barrier between component and aggressive media and, thus, increase the service life of components. In the oil and gas industry the intention is an asset lifetime of 20-30 years. Innovative, environmentally friendly corrosion inhibitors can allow the use of cost-efficient materials. In the infrastructure, buildings, roads and bridges are supposed to hold 50 to 100 years.  We all know that e.g. bridges built in the 50s and 60s, are losing their integrity these days. The way forward must be that sensors and monitoring systems are implemented already during the building stage, to make the buildings and installations tell us themselves, when and where repair is needed. Cathodic protection is one of the methodologies which is increasingly implemented in this sense. Smart corrosion sensing systems are needed as an investment in the future to prevent premature corrosion failures.


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