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NACE International Hosts Fourth Annual Corrosion Detection Competition for University Students


NACE International welcomed students to the fourth annual University Student Design and Applied Solutions Competition, a student competition focused on designing technology for corrosion control. The two-day event hosted engineering students from the United States Air Force Academy, United States Naval Academy, United States Military Academy, Louisiana State University, George Mason University, and Arizona State University. The competition took place at the NACE International Training Center in Houston, Texas on April 16 and 17.

Each team brought unique technological solutions to the competition. The top performing teams included:

1st Place: United States Naval Academy
2nd Place: George Mason University
3rd Place: United States Air Force Academy

A 2016 study by NACE International found that the global cost of corrosion is estimated to be US$2.5 trillion, which is equivalent to 3.4% of the global GDP. By using available corrosion control practices, it is estimated that between US$375 and $875 billion could be saved worldwide annually. The USDASC program was developed to introduce corrosion concepts to university students and foster the innovation and creativity that the industry will need to solve future corrosion problems. Each year the competition gives students an opportunity to apply knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world problems by replicating conditions encountered by corrosion professionals.

Teams introduced their technologies in oral presentations followed by a live demonstration of their devices. Each team’s device navigated a small entrance of a coated steel structure designed to replicate the real-world conditions of a pipeline, fuel tank, or aircraft fuselage. Once inside the structure, each device had to detect the presence of corrosion or a coating defect and report the data back to the team.

The students’ corrosion detection systems were presented to judges Harvey Hack, PhD, Past President of NACE International and Senior Advisory Engineer at Northrop Grumman; Dr. Neil Thompson, FNACE, Past President of NACE International Foundation, and Past President of NACE International; and Rajesh Bose, Inspection Engineer at BP. The judges were impressed with the students’ engineering skills, problem solving, teamwork, strategy, and resourcefulness on display during the competition.