Professor Maria Forsyth | PFT Lecture

Controlling Corrosion with Chemistry

Corrosion is a chemical process and chemistry is the best counterattack to control it and to extend lifetime of materials –from materials used in engineering infrastructure to biomedical implants.  Chemistry has for a long time been an important tool for the engineer to achieve longer design life.  This chemistry can range from designing metallic coatings (such as in ZincAlum), creating oxides on a metal substrate (as in anodizing), using new chemistry to create protective polymeric coatings or using chemical additives to a given environment to produce inhibited surfaces. For example, when chromates are added to epoxy pigments that protect the aluminium alloys on aircraft or phosphates, quaternary ammonium salts etc., are added in water treatment formulations, or indeed anti-oxidant addition in polymer coatings to protect against UV degradation – these all assist with controlling corrosion.  This lecture will demonstrate some examples of chemistry at work and I hope illustrate the need for chemistry education of corrosion engineers, even if only in the bare basics!


Professor Maria Forsyth is an Australian Academy of Science fellow, Australian Laureate Fellow, an Alfred Deakin Professorial Fellow at Deakin University in Australia as well as the Associate Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), Deputy Director of Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) and Chair of Electromaterials and Corrosion Science and at Deakin University where she leads the research effort in metal-air batteries and the development and understanding of new electrolyte systems. Her research area informs the broad field of electromaterials science with application to both corrosion and energy related technologies. One key interest of her research is in the area of selective transport in materials for energy storage applications. Specifically, her work has focused on understanding the phenomenon of charge transport at metal/electrolyte interfaces and within novel electrolyte materials. Such materials have included a range of novel ionic liquids, polymer electrolytes and plastic crystals. She leads collaborative projects in lithium and sodium battery technologies funded through recent Australian Research Council grants. Professor Forsyth is a co-author of over 400 journal publications. She has delivered more than 20 invited and plenary talks in the past 5 years and currently has more than 14000 citations with an h index of 62 (Web of Science August 2015).

Professor Forsyth and her group have had significant and ongoing interaction with industry, both domestic and international, for over 20 years. This is based on their strong reputation for providing a technical and expertise resource in the fields of materials engineering, especially as related to electrochemical properties of materials relevant to corrosion and battery technologies. In the area of corrosion Professor Forsyth¹s work in corrosion monitoring and mitigation has had impact in a number of fields from aerospace structures, to water treatment, water pipelines, desalination, oil and gas pipes and other civil and marine infrastructure. Professor Forsyth and her group have also made significant contributions to technological advances in the energy sector and have been involved with projects relating to the development of lithium ion and lithium metal secondary batteries with Pacific Lithium Ltd, Evonik GmbH and CSIRO, Cytec, Toyota and LG.