Corrosion engineering may not be the most obvious area for an engineer to follow, but if more understood it, say its proponents, the country could save £1m a day.
Metals react together unpredictably, ships rust in salt water and machinery breaks down because parts wear away before their time.
‘There’s no structure that does not suffer some corrosion,’ says Paulette Sidky, course coordinator for the MSc in corrosion of engineering materials at Imperial College. ‘We had people who wanted to use expensive materials, but didn’t know how to apply the theory.’
Alex Sinclair, a partner in marine consultancy Brookes, Bell & Co, has found a theoretical understanding of corrosion gained from studying for his Masters at Imperial is invaluable when he is called in as an expert on shipping accidents.