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April 24th is Corrosion Awareness Day. Titanium Plays an Important Role in Corrosion Awareness Dialogue

Corrosion Awareness Day, April 24, has been set aside as a date to focus global attention on the costly and sometimes dangerous problems associated with corrosion and its effects on infrastructure, industry and daily life. For the titanium industry, it’s an opportunity to distinguish itself and become part of an international dialogue to highlight the superior corrosion-resistant properties of titanium as a potential solution to these problems.

George Hays, the executive director of the New York-based World Corrosion Organization (WCO), in an open letter posted on the group’s website (corrosion.org), wrote that Corrosion Awareness Day intended “to educate the public, industries and government agencies of the deleterious effects of corrosion on our infrastructures worldwide.”

How big a problem is corrosion? According to Hays, corrosion represents an annual worldwide cost of $3 trillion for infrastructure and industry—the cost to repair, replace and maintain critical systems. Here in the United States, Hays said the cost for corrosion control and repair represents about 3.3 percent of annual gross domestic product (GDP) or well over $300 billion.

More than simply flag problems and the soaring costs associated with corrosion, Hays, during a recent telephone interview, said Corrosion Awareness Day also is intended to inform the public, governments and industry leaders about practical solutions, saying that “corrosion is a phenomenon that can be controlled using existing technologies and better design and engineering practices.” He estimated that it would be possible to reduce that global $3 trillion cost by one-third.

Rob Henson, the chair of the International Titanium Association’s (ITA) Industrial Committee and the manager of business development for VSMPO-Tirus U.S., said titanium has made strides in recent years to become a meaningful voice in the international corrosion conversation. However, he also acknowledged the titanium industry still has a considerable amount of work to do when it comes to educating people on the benefits of titanium, as well as dispelling lingering myths. In many corners, in industry and government, he said titanium is still seen as “an exotic, expensive material that’s difficult to handle. We need to continue our efforts of educating people, on a much broader scale, about titanium.”

Regis Baldauff, director, industrial marketing, Titanium Industries Inc., Rockaway, NJ, in a recent presentation at a TITANIUM conference, supported Henson’s assessment of titanium as a material of choice for corrosion resistance, saying it has demonstrated “years of trouble-free seawater service in chemical, oil refining and desalination systems,” and is “immune to microbiologically induced/influenced corrosion.” Baldauff also said titanium, in comparison with competing materials such as stainless steel or copper/nickel alloys, provides life-cycle cost advantages.

Eugene Liening, a member of the WCO’s board of administrators, said the correct approach to address corrosion issues should always start with proper design. He said design is the key for industrial projects as well as municipal infrastructure. “It starts with design using the correct materials,” Liening said. “It includes developing corrosion-control strategies, faithfully executing those designs and strategies, and then maintaining a commitment for inspection and repair.”

Contact the International Titanium Association by phone (1-303-404-2221) for more details on the association’s involvement with the WCO in coming months.

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