Preventing Surface Degradation in Demanding Environments

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Materials

Abstract

Surface degradation processes, such as corrosion and wear have very significant societal, economic and safety implications. These degradation processes impact a large number of industrial sectors including, transport (marine & automotive), aerospace, nuclear, oil and gas and their respective supply chains. Corrosion alone costs industry globally $2 trillion each year, of which £55 billion per annum is the cost to the UK and $1.37 billion per year the cost to the global Oil & Gas sector. The resulting cost of wear to the UK economy is estimated at £24 billion per annum, approximately 1.6% of the country's GDP. This programme seeks to tackle this age old problem through harnessing advances in computer modelling, experimental techniques at the atomic level, in operando imaging and characterisation and accessing previously untapped in-field data sets to obtain fresh insights into materials surface degradation under the demanding environments in which they operate.

BP invest heavily in research development and innovation and have developed a long term, successful collaboration with the University of Manchester (UoM). In 2012, BP founded the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM) a $100m, 10 year investment to address challenges across BP's core business.
Following a 'Materials Technology Outlook' workshop hosted by BP, surface degradation was identified as a high priority area for future research with the potential for transformational change. The workshop felt there was an opportunity to replace industrial empiricism with mechanistically driven approaches by exploiting advances in-operando techniques and multiscale modelling to ask fundamental research questions about the nucleation and growth of corrosion scales and tribofilms and how to control them through inhibitors, lubricants and surface coatings and treatments.

This Prosperity Partnership will enable us to complement the applied research undertaken within BP-ICAM asking more fundamental rearch questions about surface degradation than BP-ICAM could tackle. Further this challenge requires additional skills beyond those provided by the ICAM partners and so will benefit from key expertise in the behaviour of materials in high pressure environments and tribocorrosion from the Universities of Edinburgh and Leeds respectively.

The preventing surface degradation in demanding environments team will look at how both corrosion scales and tribofilms initiate, grow, and breakdown through a multiscale appreciation identify ways to inhibit or prevent degradation under very demanding environments. This project will consider both the chemical and mechanical effects of surface degradation by understanding the key interaction between the material surface and near surface (10-100nm) fluid environment. It integrates advanced surface analysis studies of realistic conditions in oil and gas operations to gain a better understanding of degradation issues. It is timely as recent advances in the power of computational modelling and imaging enable researchers to look across length and time scales and observe dynamic systems and 'real world' conditions. Finally the basic understanding developed in the laboratory will be held up against big in-field data sets from BP to inform and challenge the research.

Through these fundamental insights into the mechanisms underlying surface degradation, this programme will; develop reliable predictive multi-scale models of surface degradation; present new materials systems for protection against, and prevention of, corrosion and wear; create new standardised tests for industry to use in the evaluation of degradation and propose new mitigation strategies to extend operational lifetimes.

Planned Impact

This Prosperity Partnership will have a significant societal and economic impact through; increasing operation efficiency; the development of new products and processes across multiple sectors ranging from transport (e.g. marine and automotive) to electricity, nuclear, construction and aerospace, and enabling the UK to consolidate its position as a world leader in surface degradation and materials science and engineering.

BP actively promotes the dissemination of knowledge gained from its research projects. Researchers are actively encouraged to publish in high impact journals and present research at conferences. In addition to journal articles, members of this partnership will be encouraged to present their findings at internationally renowned conferences such as NACE, EuroCorr, OTC, STLE and World Tribology Congress.

The BP-ICAM hosts a three day annual conference in Manchester for researchers and BP staff. Members of this collaboration would be invited to this conference to enable networking, knowledge sharing and research planning.

The papers and conferences mentioned above, will be shared via BP's contacts into different sectors especially though its supply chain and through influencing International standards. BP-ICAM also has a dedicated Marketing and Communication Manager, whose expertise will be utilised by the Prosperity Partnership collaboration to ensure that research output is promoted through the a variety of channels.

The collaborative nature of this programme will enhance the skills of all researchers and industry bodies involved. This programme aims to train the next generation of engineers, giving them a unique opportunity to work simultaneously with industry and academia to address the high priority industry relevant challenges. This collaboration will also enable industry placements within BP, with the aim of at least one researcher working at BP per annum.
Beyond this programme BP will assist researchers to develop their work further, either in house with BP experts or through introductions to supply chain partners or through supporting further research council funded research. Additionally, BP has an active Venturing Business and Technology Commercialisation Team both of which will be utilised to identify and support licensing and commercialisation opportunities through a range of mechanisms including, spin out companies, licencing and collaborations with both large and SMEs.

To widen the impact we will hold a cross-sectorial workshops to engage the wider community and to ensure the current research aligns with industry needs. Attendees will include the oil and gas sector, industry leaders, corrosions scientists and supply chain representatives. Importantly, representatives from other industrial sectors such as aerospace, nuclear, transport, marine and energy will also be invited, to ensure the wider dissemination. In this way we will look at pathways by which the basic knowledge generated here can be transferred into other sectors, either though focused university research or industry funded follow-up projects.

Finally, this collaboration will enhance interaction with the Sir Henry Royce Institute at UoM which involves a number of the partners in this programme. This will allow access to state of the art equipment and expertise, in an innovative space shared by both industry and academia.
 
Description We have successfully developed a suite of experimental X-ray, QCM, wet TEM, and electron microscopy approaches and in-situ rigs that allow us to follow the nucleating and growing scale on commercially-relevant metals under challenging, commercially-relevant conditions.

Our computer modelling (IC) has predicted that the morphology of the first (siderite) crystals to form are very sensitive to the local environment.

We have used X-ray computed tomography along with a novel corrosion cell to image in-situ, in real time, at nano-meter resolution, the growth and breakdown of carbonate scales on Fe and C steel over a temperature range and flow regimes relevant to pipeline operation (UoM).

Our aim is to understand the kinetics of tribofilm formation and the interactions between additives in oil formulations through a detailed study using bench top tribometers supported by surface analysis. We are able to "watch" the effects of contaminants and to link to the study of flash temperature (UoL) through in-situ atomic force microscopy. Our aim is to explore how elevated pressures affect key properties of lubricants, through experiment and molecular dynamic (MD) simulations. Model lubricants based on squalane and simple mixtures have been studied using a combination of experimental and computational techniques, with excellent agreement being obtained for density, isothermal compressibility, self-diffusion coefficient, and viscosity.
Exploitation Route This project is 50% funded by BP and they meet regularly with us to look at how to take up the outcomes from this project. In particular most cost efficient use of inhibitors to stop corrosion, better lubricants especially for hybrid cars which have quite different duty cycles from conventional cars.

In the second half of the project we will also interface with cognate sectors to investigate how the findings can be applied and learnt from more widely.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description Our results on the action of inhibtors are contributing to the development of improved inhibtor use in the oil and gas industry.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Energy
Impact Types Economic

 
Description TRibology as an ENabling Technology (TRENT)
Amount £1,538,131 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S030476/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2019 
End 09/2023
 
Description ICAM56 
Organisation BP (British Petroleum)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Manchester - expertise of Prof Withers, Matthews, Burke, Akid, Drs Connolly, Lindsay, Muryn and Race; access to the infrastructure, training and administrative support of BP-ICAM hub, access to the infrastructure, training and facilities of Henry Royce Institute; access to the training and support network of the Materials for Demanding Environment CDT.
Collaborator Contribution Leeds - expertise of Profs Neville, Morina and Dr Barker; access to the outstanding research and training environment at Institute of Functional Surfaces; access to skills and facilities in the Bragg Centre for Advanced Functional Materials within the Integrated Centre for Engineering and Physical Sciences. Imperial - expertise of Professor Harrison, Ryan and Dr Campbell; access to the Molecular Sciences Research Hub. Cambridge - expertise of Dr Clarke; upgrades to the state of the art equipment internally and at ISIS. BP - expertise of 5 BP senior technology leadership; access to marketing, communication and event management; access to BP's High Performance Computing facilities and support for 6 PhD studentships.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description ICAM56 
Organisation Imperial College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Manchester - expertise of Prof Withers, Matthews, Burke, Akid, Drs Connolly, Lindsay, Muryn and Race; access to the infrastructure, training and administrative support of BP-ICAM hub, access to the infrastructure, training and facilities of Henry Royce Institute; access to the training and support network of the Materials for Demanding Environment CDT.
Collaborator Contribution Leeds - expertise of Profs Neville, Morina and Dr Barker; access to the outstanding research and training environment at Institute of Functional Surfaces; access to skills and facilities in the Bragg Centre for Advanced Functional Materials within the Integrated Centre for Engineering and Physical Sciences. Imperial - expertise of Professor Harrison, Ryan and Dr Campbell; access to the Molecular Sciences Research Hub. Cambridge - expertise of Dr Clarke; upgrades to the state of the art equipment internally and at ISIS. BP - expertise of 5 BP senior technology leadership; access to marketing, communication and event management; access to BP's High Performance Computing facilities and support for 6 PhD studentships.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description ICAM56 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Manchester - expertise of Prof Withers, Matthews, Burke, Akid, Drs Connolly, Lindsay, Muryn and Race; access to the infrastructure, training and administrative support of BP-ICAM hub, access to the infrastructure, training and facilities of Henry Royce Institute; access to the training and support network of the Materials for Demanding Environment CDT.
Collaborator Contribution Leeds - expertise of Profs Neville, Morina and Dr Barker; access to the outstanding research and training environment at Institute of Functional Surfaces; access to skills and facilities in the Bragg Centre for Advanced Functional Materials within the Integrated Centre for Engineering and Physical Sciences. Imperial - expertise of Professor Harrison, Ryan and Dr Campbell; access to the Molecular Sciences Research Hub. Cambridge - expertise of Dr Clarke; upgrades to the state of the art equipment internally and at ISIS. BP - expertise of 5 BP senior technology leadership; access to marketing, communication and event management; access to BP's High Performance Computing facilities and support for 6 PhD studentships.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description ICAM56 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Manchester - expertise of Prof Withers, Matthews, Burke, Akid, Drs Connolly, Lindsay, Muryn and Race; access to the infrastructure, training and administrative support of BP-ICAM hub, access to the infrastructure, training and facilities of Henry Royce Institute; access to the training and support network of the Materials for Demanding Environment CDT.
Collaborator Contribution Leeds - expertise of Profs Neville, Morina and Dr Barker; access to the outstanding research and training environment at Institute of Functional Surfaces; access to skills and facilities in the Bragg Centre for Advanced Functional Materials within the Integrated Centre for Engineering and Physical Sciences. Imperial - expertise of Professor Harrison, Ryan and Dr Campbell; access to the Molecular Sciences Research Hub. Cambridge - expertise of Dr Clarke; upgrades to the state of the art equipment internally and at ISIS. BP - expertise of 5 BP senior technology leadership; access to marketing, communication and event management; access to BP's High Performance Computing facilities and support for 6 PhD studentships.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description ICAM56 
Organisation University of Leeds
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Manchester - expertise of Prof Withers, Matthews, Burke, Akid, Drs Connolly, Lindsay, Muryn and Race; access to the infrastructure, training and administrative support of BP-ICAM hub, access to the infrastructure, training and facilities of Henry Royce Institute; access to the training and support network of the Materials for Demanding Environment CDT.
Collaborator Contribution Leeds - expertise of Profs Neville, Morina and Dr Barker; access to the outstanding research and training environment at Institute of Functional Surfaces; access to skills and facilities in the Bragg Centre for Advanced Functional Materials within the Integrated Centre for Engineering and Physical Sciences. Imperial - expertise of Professor Harrison, Ryan and Dr Campbell; access to the Molecular Sciences Research Hub. Cambridge - expertise of Dr Clarke; upgrades to the state of the art equipment internally and at ISIS. BP - expertise of 5 BP senior technology leadership; access to marketing, communication and event management; access to BP's High Performance Computing facilities and support for 6 PhD studentships.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description ICAM56 
Organisation University of Manchester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Manchester - expertise of Prof Withers, Matthews, Burke, Akid, Drs Connolly, Lindsay, Muryn and Race; access to the infrastructure, training and administrative support of BP-ICAM hub, access to the infrastructure, training and facilities of Henry Royce Institute; access to the training and support network of the Materials for Demanding Environment CDT.
Collaborator Contribution Leeds - expertise of Profs Neville, Morina and Dr Barker; access to the outstanding research and training environment at Institute of Functional Surfaces; access to skills and facilities in the Bragg Centre for Advanced Functional Materials within the Integrated Centre for Engineering and Physical Sciences. Imperial - expertise of Professor Harrison, Ryan and Dr Campbell; access to the Molecular Sciences Research Hub. Cambridge - expertise of Dr Clarke; upgrades to the state of the art equipment internally and at ISIS. BP - expertise of 5 BP senior technology leadership; access to marketing, communication and event management; access to BP's High Performance Computing facilities and support for 6 PhD studentships.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2017