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The University of Southampton

Research project: Designing sensors to detect corrosion in hidden places

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Currently, in-service monitoring corrosion on engineered platforms is often accomplished during routine maintenance checks, utilising methods such as: strip off lagging and inspect, localised ultrasonics at inspection windows, long range ultrasonics, thermography, neutron backscatter, pulsed eddy current, radiography (including flash and profile radiography), and real time radiography.  

In situ structural health monitoring within a pipe
structural health monitoring

However, all these methods have limitations: e.g. expensive; if insulation / lagging removed on a sample basis there installed insulation is "never quite the same", plus may not strip off the worst areas thus give false confidence; skilled interpretation required and the practicality in restricted locations. Despite the obvious economic and operational availability advantages of allowing the ability to dissemble a structure for repairs only when corrosion is known to exist in certain areas, in situ monitoring of corrosion is not practiced.

Boron-doped diamond electrode array for corrosion sensing
Corrosion sensing

Southampton has been funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to develop a suite of electrochemical sensors to monitor structural health of maritime platforms. In particular they have utilised and developed robust boron-doped diamond (BDD) electrode arrays and a contactless capillary electrophoresis detector which can analyse nanolitre solution volumes with widely disparate ionic concentrations and provide accurate and reliable chemical compositions found in corrosion environments such as those found at localised corrosion sites.


This project was funded by an EPSRC-Dstl programme, EP/F004362/1. 


Industry Partners include:  Dstl, Rolls-Royce, GKN Aerospace and Lloyds Register.

Related research groups

national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS)
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