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December Defenses for Yathish Kurapati and Saba Navabzadeh Esmaeely

December 2017 saw two defenses in ICMT, Yathish Kurapati (MS) and Saba Navabzadeh Esmaeely (PhD). Yathish thesis work was based on: A Molecular Dynamics Study to Understand Behavior of Corrosion Inhibitors in Bulk Aqueous Phase and Near Metal-Water Interface. This project, with its focus on molecular modelling, is a first for ICMT; his advisor was Research Associate Professor David Young working in close collaboration with Assistant Professor Sumit Sharma. Saba's dissertation was on Galvanic Localized Corrosion of Mild Steel under Iron Sulfide Corrosion Product Layers. Her advisor was Professor Srdjan Nesic.

Yathish modelled the aggregation and adsorption characteristics of imidazolinium-type model corrosion inhibitors using molecular dynamics (MD) tools. The effect of hydrophobic alkyl tail length on diffusion properties and on micelle formation was investigated using atomistic simulations. Adsorption of an inhibitor molecule at infinite dilution and of a micelle of inhibitor molecules on a metal surface was investigated by computing free energy profiles of adsorption using Umbrella sampling. A key finding was that adsorption of single inhibitor molecules was found to be a spontaneous process without any free energy barrier, while the adsorption of a micelle comprised of inhibitor molecules required an external energy input of 18 kJ/mole. He also performed research in ICMT's NAP-JIP and has a conference paper accepted for NACE2018 on Corrosion Behavior of Naphthenic Acids Isolated from Vacuum Gas Oil Fractions.

Saba's research focus was to establish physicochemical scenarios where localized corrosion should be eS containing environments, utilizing experimental findings at the Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology, Ohio University. She hypothesized that any disruption leading to a discontinuity of a corrosion product layer results in initiation of localized corrosion, where a galvanic coupling between the underlying steel and the conductive iron sulfide layer would lead to propagation of localized corrosion via a galvanic effect at an enhanced rate. This hypothesis was investigated based on five case studies. In all cases, localized corrosion was observed confirming the proposed mechanism. She has five peer-reviewed publications from her doctoral work, with two more in preparation, and was recognized by NACE by winning their Outstanding Student Award for 2017. She will commence a post-doctoral position at Ohio State University in January.
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