“When corrosion) due to the presence of undetected formic

“When
chloride attacked, ferrite being noble compared to cementite got corroded, resulting
in localized pinhole”. This was the finding in one of my Root cause analysis
project, which I completed a few weeks ago. Severe pitting was developed along
the 6 O clock position in a carbon steel pipe due to the formation of the
localized micro-galvanic cell between the ferrite and cementite lamellae of the
pearlite grain. One more failure happened in the SS316L pipe due to the
presence of inclusions on the ID surface, these inclusions provided local sites
for the chloride to attack, resulting in multiple pin holes along the length of
the pipe. Similarly, in one of the project; copper chiller tubes developed
formicary corrosion (ant nest corrosion) due to the presence of undetected
formic acid in the water flowing in the ID side. In all these failure investigations
I came across the phenomenon of localized corrosion, which ultimately sparked
my interest to further study and explore in this area.

In
lieu of a formal introduction of my research interest and aspiration, I offer a
summary of my work experience. I am working as a metallurgist in Failure
analysis department at Exova Ltd. Abu Dhabi, for more than two
years.  To find a most probable damage mechanism for the failure
occurred, the investigation requires a well-planned experimental step along
with literature backup for the observed evidence.  This work profile
has affirmed my passion for experimental work and research specifically on
corrosion damage mechanisms, and advanced characterization techniques.
Continuing along my current job experience, I would like to use my skill set as
the basis for a future research program such as a Ph.D.

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On a
more basic level, doing failure investigation has given me the chance to become
better at technical report writing, oral and visual presentation, working in a
team, sharing knowledge and experiences. I also have thorough hands-on in
microstructural studies and characterization of ferrous and non-ferrous
materials using SEM and EDAX analysis. EDAX analysis of corrosion deposits, the
morphology of corrosion scale and then based on these findings predicting the
most probable damage mechanism. All these experimental works have developed my fundamental
understanding of corrosion and damage mechanism.

Furthermore,
my master’s project had gained me knowledge on mechanical testing of thin foils
and electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) tool along with OIM analyzer. The
Master’s project was “Microstructural evolution of thin foils of Titanium and
Nickel alloys (IN 718 and C263) during forming”, the study involved the use of
simulation as well as experimental work to determine the forming limit diagrams
of thin foils. Through the course of the project, I have also gained experience
in some useful software, like Solid works, Pam Stamp, and MATLAB. My Bachelor’s
project was on “Corrosion study of Fly-ash reinforced AA6061 alloy composite
prepared by powder metallurgy and extrusion”. This project has gained me the
fundamental knowledge on electrochemistry. In this project, I have calculated
pitting resistance of the composite (with increasing fly ash content) through
potentiodynamic polarization method.

Indeed,
I am proud of my academic work and given extra time could say much more. But I
should also stress that the objectives of the Ph.D. project “Localized
corrosion of micro and Nano-devices” will serve a bigger purpose of developing
a better corrosion resistant and efficient micro and Nano-devices for
biomedical field, MEMS, and other microscale devices. As this
research will be based on the application of scanning electrochemical
techniques; my personal penchant for learning SECM and
in-situ monitoring and assessment of the corrosion degradation process will
also be fulfilled in this project.  

This
time I find myself in that difficult time, where I want to do research and
learn more; but due to the limited scope of my failure analysis projects, I am
unable to do what I want. Though I would have preferred to directly continue
the Ph.D. after my Master’s, I opted to have some work experience. After two
years away from the academics and working in a multi-discipline laboratory
environment; I have developed my mental toughness and positive work ethics
which will help me in completing the Ph.D. gracefully. Also, the break from the
academics has given me sufficient time to work out on my research interest that
best suits my needs.

Delft
University of Technology’s engineering program has gained greater respect in my
mind, largely because of the quality and outstanding faculty and their teaching
style, which I have seen on free EDX online courses. It felt amazing to learn
about Professor, Yaiza Gonzalez-Garcia, who will most probably be one of the
supervisors for this project. Her expertise in scanning electrochemical
microscopy (SECM) and in-situ corrosion mechanism studies has propelled me to work
in her team. In addition, Delft University of Technology would foster, I hope,
fruitful discussions with other departments, thus broadening and enriching my
research as well as my overall skills.