What Does a Corrosion Engineer Do?

A corrosion engineer is a trained professional whose primary responsibility is to analyze engineered materials and devise strategies for slowing or stopping corrosion. Corrosion is the breakdown of engineered materials caused factors such as rust or oxidation. A corrosion engineer must become familiar with various types of corrosion and devise strategies for preventing long-term component damage. A corrosion engineer is likely to be hired in manufacturing, construction, or any other setting where machinery or components are at risk of corrosion.

A corrosion engineer’s job may include developing new products using synthetic or hybrid materials. Such research and development will result in an influx of products to the market that will be more cost-effective for certain businesses looking to cut down on replacement or repair costs due to metal component corrosion. Corrosion engineers may also devise new methods for repairing materials or treating them to make them resistant to specific types of corrosion. The engineer may work in a lab or on-site, analyzing materials and the effects of different chemicals or elements on them.

One of the most common industries in which a corrosion engineer will work is the oil industry, particularly on off-shore drilling rigs. Seawater salt, combined with moisture in the air and in the sea, can wreak havoc on metal components used in drilling operations. The corrosion engineer may be hired to monitor corrosion on critical components, make recommendations for slowing the corrosion process, or make parts replacement recommendations. The engineer may also be tasked with creating new materials that are more corrosion resistant while maintaining strength and efficiency.

A person must first graduate from high school or earn an equivalent qualification before becoming a corrosion engineer. He or she will then need to enroll in a chemical or mechanical engineering college program. It is recommended that the candidate participate in an internship that will allow him or her to gain work experience in the engineering field during this time. After graduation, the job candidate has two general options: enroll in a master’s degree program that focuses on corrosion engineering specifically, or participate in job training in the field of corrosion engineering that an employer may offer. The candidate may be placed in an apprenticeship that will prepare him or her for a career in the field.