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Protecting the World: Introducing Corrosion Science and Engineering

University of Manchester via Coursera


If you have ever encountered rusty car bodies, leaking pipes, tarnished silverware or the green patina of a copper roof then you have experienced corrosion in action. This course, from the Corrosion@Manchester team in collaboration with AkzoNobel, will teach you why metals corrode, what the environmental consequences are, how much corrosion costs and how corrosion can be controlled. It is designed for students, householders, teachers, professionals and anyone in-between.

The aim of the course is to introduce the complex world of corrosion and corrosion control. While a full appreciation of corrosion science involves elements of materials science, electrochemistry and physics while corrosion engineering requires a practical knowledge of corrosion failures and engineering design this course does not need an extensive background knowledge. The course mirrors elements of the Corrosion Control Engineering teaching programme at The University of Manchester for final-year undergraduates and masters-level postgraduates and is used as a supplementary learning resource by our students.


  • Week 1: Principles of Corrosion
    • In Week 1 we show you the scientific and engineering concepts that are important to an understanding of corrosion in practise. Section 1 provides a brief outline of what corrosion is, how much it costs and how corrosion engineers can help. Section 2 lists, with examples, the eight types of corrosion and shows the important of good engineering design on corrosion control. Section 3 focuses on materials properties and introduces how the corrosion of metals (zinc) may be understood. Section 4 looks directly at the economic and social consequences of corrosion. In section 5 we pick up the pace to focus on the science of electrochemical corrosion. Finally, in section 6, we wind up with a selection of corrosion failures chosen from the Corrosion@Manchester museum.
  • Week 2: Cathodic Protection
    • This week, will discuss how cathodic protection works and how it can be applied in practice to protect metallic structures.Firstly, we’ll discuss some of the basic principles behind cathodic protection, and we will see how some of the concepts you have learned in the other units are applied in a cathodic protection scenario.Subsequently, we’ll discuss some aspects related to the design of cathodic protection systems, such as for example the criteria that have to be satisfied to achieve a good level of corrosion protection, or the method used to assess the requirements for an existing structure in terms of cathodic protection current.Finally, we’ll touch on cathodic protection of reinforced concrete structures, discussing the factors that contribute to good concrete quality and discussing how we can protect the reinforcement steel bars by using cathodic protection.This week’s material is split into 6 sessions. Each session lasts approximately 20 minutes; at the end of each session, there will be a quiz to test your knowledge.
  • Week 3: Surface Engineering
    • In Week 3, we will introduce Surface Engineering. The learning materials for this week are organised into five sections. Throughout the week, we will clarify what surface engineering is and why surfaces are important. We will look into how coatings protect surfaces from corrosion and will discuss coating design criteria. We will also consider various Surface Engineering techniques. Finally, we will turn our attention to industrial applications of coatings for corrosion protection, coating performance and failure mechanisms.
  • Week 4: Oilfield Corrosion and Control
    • Week 4 provides an introduction to oilfield corrosion science and engineering. You will learn about pertinent corrosion phenomena, as well as other degradation processes, along with approaches to minimise facility degradation. Specific topics include: types of oilfield equipment; sweet/sour corrosion; seawater corrosion; scaling; erosion; corrosion prediction; corrosion inhibition; corrosion management. All content in this section is section is licensed under Creative Commons Atrribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Taught by

Dr Nick Stevens, BSc PhD, Dr Robert Lindsay, Prof Robert Akid, Adam Stephenson, Dr Michele Curioni and Prof Stuart Lyon


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