Internal corrosion is today's major problem in the oil wells and pipelines, where much of the oil and gas emerges with
water, sand, and other impurities. Those impurities include carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, and acetic acid, and these, when mixed with
water, can cause catastrophic failure to the inside of oil pipelines.
That's where the Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology (ICMT) at Ohio University comes in. For more than a
decade, researchers here have worked with a consortium of the world's 12 leading oil companies and chemical companies to come up with new
ways to deal with the corrosion of pipelines that carry crude oil to the refineries, often across hundreds of miles of land and ocean floor.
Ohio University boasts the largest research facility of its kind in the world, and its expertise is sought from all
corners of the globe. What is unique about the facility is its size, complete circuits of pipe, and the number of flow loops. The Institute
has seven loops that are ideal for long-term projects and enable researchers to do deal with a wide variety of research requests that come
from places as disparate as Australia, Oman, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Companies pay from $35,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars every
year to be privy to the results of the Institute's research. They hope to learn how to predict and prevent corrosion so they can repair
pipelines before leaks spring on the ocean floor, damaging the environment and costing millions of dollars in lost production. The work done
by Ohio University also provides oil companies with information that can help them build oil and gas pipelines with more confidence in remote
and previously inaccessible location.
The Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology operates under an umbrella-like structure with Professor Srdjan
Nesic as the Director. There are currently six organizational areas under the guidance of Dr. Nesic as shown in the figure below.
Each individual project leader controls day-to-day operations by working with PhD and Masters Candidate students on the
projects. Dr. Nesic maintains direct contact with students and the project leaders to help direct the work, resolve problems and identify
best research methods. A team of project engineers and technicians offer general support on the projects and maintains safe and reliable
operation of the lab.