For immediate release
San Antonio – Nov. 9, 2017 – Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) announced two new research projects through the Connecting through Research Partnerships (Connect) Program. Each project will receive $125,000 in funding. One project will research a new technique to mitigate cracking and corrosion in piping and related equipment used by the oil and gas industry and the other will investigate the development of a traffic management system that will be powered using sustainable thermal energy.
The risks to safety and the environment associated with material failure for deep sea drilling and oil transmission pipelines are enormous. Material failure caused by corrosion is a significant risk identified by the oil and gas industry. SwRI and UTSA will collaborate to identify changes in solution chemistry and oxide film composition that cause localized corrosion and cracking. The team will use Raman Spectroscopy and electrochemical corrosion measurements to evaluate and address critical corrosion pathways that can be mitigated by selecting appropriate inhibitors or advanced materials.
James Dante, manager of the SwRI Environmental Performance of Materials Section, will collaborate with Dr. Brendy C. Rincon Troconis, an assistant professor in the UTSA Department of Mechanical Engineering, on “Effects of Triazine-Based H2S Scavenger Byproducts on the Film Composition and Cracking of Carbon Steel in Oilfield Applications.”
“SwRI is a recognized leader in the corrosion community with extensive expertise in the oil and gas industry,” Dante said. “SwRI is using this expertise and well developed testing infrastructure to work collaboratively with UTSA to bring new methods of assessing the mechanisms of corrosion in harsh oil and gas environments.”
For the second project, SwRI and UTSA propose developing a novel traffic system that would harvest ambient energy as a power source for sensors that would detect traffic and activate signage. Texas road fatalities in rural areas reached a record high in 2016, about 2.4 times greater than fatality rates in urban areas. A potential cause may be the lack of signals at intersections.
SwRI’s Dr. Jerome Helffrich, an Institute scientist in the Applied Physics Division, and UTSA’s Dr. Samer Dessouky, an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will collaborate on “Promoting Sustainability and Safety for Texas Rural Roadways through Self-Powered Sensing and Detection Systems.”
“We are excited about collaborating with UTSA to improve Texas roadways,” Helffrich said. “Our work endeavors to combine SwRI expertise in sensors and electronics with UTSA expertise in electronics, highway construction and management. We plan to develop a traffic sensor that is cheaper and less complex than those typically used. This sensor-based system can be implemented in rural areas where costs have discouraged the use of traffic control systems. This idea, if successful, will bring high-tech sensors and warning signage to dangerous intersections in rural areas to reduce crashes, fatalities and operational costs.”
The Connect program enhances scientific collaboration between SwRI and UTSA and increases their research funding base. Since 2010, the joint SwRI-UTSA Connect Program has funded 13 projects.
“These chosen projects also fit within our developing Smart Cities and Sustainable Communities/Critical Infrastructure research portfolio and will benefit all citizens of Texas and beyond. Open collaboration within our network of research institutions here in San Antonio is key in developing practical solutions to address critical often aging resources and assets,” added Dr. Bernard Arulanandam, Interim Vice President for Research, UTSA.
“The Connect projects that were selected this year deal with two important infrastructure assets, roads and pipelines,” said SwRI Executive Vice President and COO Walt Downing. “UTSA faculty and graduate students working together with SwRI scientists and engineers will develop innovative technologies to increase public safety.”
For more information, contact Tracey Whelan, (210) 522-2256, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Road, San Antonio, TX 78238-5166.