Monash University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering has five researchers and 25 PhD students working on corrosion research. Its research focus areas are: understanding the processes within materials that lead to corrosion, methods for monitoring corrosion, development of new corrosion-resistant materials and mitigating corrosion.
Characterisation of corrosion – Monash’s corrosion researchers are experts in determining the mechanisms of corrosion occurring and its appropriate characterisation. Corrosion occurs various forms, including localised, galvanic, stress corrosion or stray current.
Monitoring of corrosion – We research all aspects of corrosion monitoring and have a long history of experience with electrochemical determination of corrosion rates of infrastructure (on-site). We are investigating emerging monitoring techniques such as remote monitoring and smart systems, e.g. drones.
Corrosion resistant alloys – Monash has a long history of R&D in metallurgy and durability of corrosion resistant alloys for the energy and architectural sectors.
Development of new materials – One area unique to Monash is the ability to undertake materials design and development in order to produce materials/alloys with fitness for purpose.
Materials selection and durability management planning – We have experience in selecting the correct materials during the planning of infrastructure for durability. Durability management planning is becoming increasingly critical as infrastructure projects become more sophisticated and cost-critical.
Equipment and facilities
Microanalysis – Monash University provides world-class capabilities for all researchers by way of its focused research platforms. In the context of corrosion, the Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy houses many electron microscopes capable of imaging (SEM, TEM) in addition to x-ray microanalysis, tomography, dual beam focused ion beam milling and specimen preparation. The Monash x-ray analytical platform also provides world-leading capabilities in XRD, small angle x-ray analysis, XRF and SAXS. Environmental SEM capabilities allow for imaging corrosion in-situ.
Electrochemical techniques – A full range of potentiostats (AC/DC) and corrosion measurement devices exist. A number of state-of-the-art portable potentiostats are also available. In the laboratory, possibilities exist to determine corrosion rates at the actual length scale of structures, down to micro and nano-electrochemical testing.
Electrochemical spectroscopy – We have advanced methods such as scanning electrochemical microscopy and on-line ICP analysis.
Optical profilometry and AFM – Profilometry provides non-contact information regarding surface topography, structure and condition to analyse corrosion and wear on surfaces. It can accommodate large specimens. .AFM methods (several instruments exist) can be used in a range of spectroscopic modes.
The corrosion group has collaborated with numerous industry and government partners including: Woodside, GE Global Research, Office of Naval Research, Army Research Laboratory, AECOM and Baosteel.
The corrosion group maintains productive links with many universities in Australia and overseas to keep at the forefront of the latest knowledge and technologies in corrosion and corrosion control, including: University of Virginia, The Ohio State University, University of Akron, ENSCP-ParisTech, McMaster University, University of New South Wales and Curtin University
3D printed corrosion resistant alloys
The team at Monash are amongst the first in the world to 3D print a number of corrosion resistant alloys, with our experience in Ni and Ti alloys being now applied to stainless steels, including austenitic and duplex. The ability to additively manufacture unique and bespoke components in a rapid manner, with high precision and corrosion resistance, is altering the way in which corrosion engineering is now approached. Monash has extensive selective laser melting capabilities, in addition to the world’s largest direct laser deposition instrument.
Corrosion resistant ultra-lightweight alloys
The future demands lightweight and strong, materials. Aluminium is being used more in infrastructure due to a very large surge in architectural features, but these materials are required to last a long time. No “stainless” versions of aluminium or magnesium exist at present. Monash has been leading the charge in development of lightweight corrosion resistant alloys of Al and Mg and has developed several revolutionary new materials in recent years.
Professor Nick Birbilis
Head, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Chief Operating Officer, Monash Infrastructure