- 26 January, 2018:
A seminar on the use of weathering steel as a sustainable material was held this morning at the Mauritius Research Council (MRC) in The aim of the research was to investigate the use of weathering steel as a more sustainable alternative to carbon steels that are the most commonly used metal in Mauritius.
Ebène. The seminar under the Unsolicited Research and Innovation Grant Scheme of the MRC, was based on the findings of a research project carried out by Dr B.Y.R Surnam, Senior Lecturer at the University of Mauritius.
In his welcome address, Dr A Suddhoo, Executive Director of the MRC, underlined that innovation is essential to push the country in a new direction and this research fits in the innovative practice that the MRC seeks to promote. He also pointed out that innovation which essentially relates to the improvement of a product also requires social innovation, wherein changes of habits and behaviour should occur.
During his presentation, Dr Surnam underlined that import of carbon steels is increasing every year with 46,000 tonnes in 2000 and 68,200 in 2007. He observed that carbon steels are prone to atmospheric corrosion and the cost of corrosion amounts to 4-5% of the gross national product. He added that 20-25% of this cost could be avoided by using appropriate corrosion control technology.
One method to curb corrosion, according to Dr Surnam, is the use of the corrosion resistant material such as weathering steel. It is a high strength low alloy steel, containing alloying elements mainly chromium, copper, phosphorus and nickel, possessing a superior corrosion resistance.
His research involved the observation of the corrosion rate of unsheltered weathering steels compared to that of carbon steels during a period of three years. The results showed that weathering steel has a decreasing corrosion rate in contrast to carbon steels that corrode at a faster rate. The research also revealed that humidity is the major factor responsible for corrosion of unsheltered exposures.
Dr Surnam argued that the recycling or reusing of weathering steels can in the long term, bring a decrease of 30 % in import. He also pointed out that the cost of weathering steels is slightly higher than carbon steels and they are almost maintenance free.
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