Chris FowlerExova corrosion expert, Chris Fowler, appears in the latest edition of SpecSource Global, the world’s number one online resource for owners, engineering professionals, and inspectors managing corrosion programs for infrastructure.

As the leading communications hub for corrosion professionals across the world, SpecSource Global was keen to ask Chris about our new Exova Corrosion Centre in Dudley, West Midlands (UK).

In the resulting interview, reprinted here, Chris discusses the state-of-the-art corrosion testing capabilities of the Exova Corrosion Centre and sheds expert light on what it can do for the Oil & Gas and energy sectors.

Chris Fowler: Cracking the Case for Oil & Gas

By SpecSource Global

There’s a lot new going on at Exova. What are some of the more exciting things for you?

Our latest development is a new facility we’ve built in Dudley, where we are running for the first time, longitudinally loaded pipe tests, full scale, under H2S conditions. We achieve simulating downhole loading or spanning, and it’s the first time that has been attempted.

How does that work?

Normally in a pipe test, we would have an internal load simulating hoop stress. In this case, we’re stretching the pipe, sealing it all up, and filling it full of H2S. So we’re simulating a different loading condition.

We test steel, corrosion resistant alloys and sophisticated metallurgical products, such as stainless steel alloys, that are large in scale, attempting to prove that the materials work to prevent or slow corrosion in very specific environments. We then rate the materials from best to worst.

What’s special about the new facility?

Our state-of-the-art air scrubbing system is capable of removing sodium hydroxide from 2,000 kg of waste solids per year. The system takes the scrubbed solid waste and combines it with bitumen, used to bind asphalt in road construction.

The test facility does accelerated corrosion testing using a number of caustic products to accelerate corrosion in the lab. Our high-temperature, high-pressure autoclaves can reach 250°C, capable of testing CRAs (corrosion resistant alloys) in deep water atmospheres. We have 24 of these autoclaves in three different rooms, each offering independent gas, heat, and pressure monitoring. So you can introduce different environments to each of these autoclaves, and independently monitor them.

The corrosion testing industry is moving into mixed gases. In the case of deep water rigs, you’re pulling gas out as well as liquid petroleum products. So we have 40 different gases to provide nearly limitless combinations for materials testing.

And, one room is dedicated to strain gauge for cracking testing. The researchers take a huge piece of steel and twist and distort it in an attempt to cause it to crack. Add a corrosive environment under various kinds of strain, and try to bend, twist the metal looking for cracking failures.

Our 10 full ring test booths can accommodate up to 36-inch diameter pipe up to 10 feet in length.


Is there a standard for ring testing?

Yes. It is OTI 95635, which comes under the UK Health and Safety Ministry. However, both BSI (British Standards) and ISO are considering a global standard.

How will the lab impact the industry?

We can do more and bigger tests more efficiently for faster results. One room is dedicated to SOHIC, capable of testing the susceptibility of steel to fracture in 10 days or less.
We offer classes in autoclave testing at the Centre, not available anywhere else.

What courses do you teach?

NACE MRO-175 Workshop, which we intend to develop into a 2.5 day NACE course with optional certification exam. The standard was issued by the International Maritime Organization under SOLAS Safety of Life At Sea, as a requirement for new ship building to have corrosion mitigation program and well-documented coating testing in place whenever a ship is built or repaired. It rules how paint is inspected and how records are kept. The course teaches how to comply with this global standard.

The original article can be viewed at SpecSource Global.

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