Corrosion 'taking its toll on humans'
Manama, February 13, 2012
Corrosion costs the planet billions of dollars each year and it is incumbent on humans to find solutions to this 'cancer of metals', said Bahrain Energy Minister Dr Abdulhussain Mirza.
He was speaking at the opening of the 14th Middle East Corrosion Conference and Exhibition held at the Gulf Hotel in Manama last night.
'Corrosion occurs in Asia as well as the Middle East, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, in small villages or large metropolitan areas, in deserts or in the rain forests, on the oceans and on land, in the air, subterranean mines and on the ocean floor,' he said.
'It affects each of us every day. In addition to the tangible material losses, it takes its toll in terms of human suffering as often it leads to serious injuries and loss of lives. Thus it is incumbent on us to find solutions to this serious problem facing us.
'The medical profession and research institutes worldwide spend millions of dollars each year to find cures for diseases, most notably cancer. Humanity must devote similar efforts to cure the cancer of metals - corrosion.'
He said that over the past few decades great strides had taken place in the fields of materials science, petrochemicals and ceramics.
Hundreds of new polymers and other petrochemical or ceramic compounds were developed to replace metals used in our everyday lives. 'It is virtually impossible to escape the presence of these materials,' he said.
'Cars and car parts, airplane bodies, pipelines and ducts, and boats to name just a few, previously made of metal are now made of materials that were only developed over the past few decades.
'Add to this list the myriads of household items or those we use in our everyday lives. These strides have achieved remarkable results to prevent the impact corrosion has, but have not eliminated corrosion.
'The world will continue to rely on metals - their total replacement by man-made materials is virtually unimaginable. It is thus inevitable that corrosion will continue to be with us for a while.'
Dr Mirza said that the Bahrain Society of Engineers and the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (West Asia and Africa and the Dhahran-Saudi Arabia chapters) were immensely right in choosing February for convening the conference.
'The organisers of the conference displayed great acumen by planning the conference in February since summers in this region can be brutal.
'The high humidity coupled with the saline soils on land, or high salinity waters in the off-shore areas are the primary causes of corrosion in the region.
'The region also produces heavy oil that are high in sulphur content, dubbed in industry jargon as sour.
'Sulphur is a major precursor to a corrosive environment. Add to this the corrosive atmosphere generated by the pollution caused by exhausts from automobiles and trucks, by aircraft and ships, and the problem is quickly compounded.
'Ever since its inception in 1979, the Corrosion Conference had as its goal the protection of assets, and of citizens and the environment.'
The opening session was also addressed by Saudi Aramco engineering services executive director Omar S Bazuhair, Nace International president Oliver Moghissi, Bahrain Society of Engineers president Abdul Majeed Al Gassab and conference organising committee chairman Bader A Bubsait.-TradeArabia News Service