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Chemical engineering graduate students take top poster prizes

Elisabeth Weems | May 29, 2018
Left photo by: Claudia Prieto Nieto. Right photo by: Juan Dominguez Olivo

Chemical engineering graduate students take top poster prizes

Elisabeth Weems | May 29, 2018

Left photo by: Claudia Prieto Nieto. Right photo by: Juan Dominguez Olivo

Two Russ College chemical engineering graduate students – who happen to be husband and wife – took home two of three top poster prizes at the global NACE Corrosion 2018 Conference & Expo in April. 

Competing against more than 140 poster submissions by undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students from top universities around the world, Claudia Prieto Nieto, a chemical engineering master’s candidate, won first place in the Mars Fontana Prize for Corrosion Engineering; and Juan Dominguez Olivo, a chemical engineering Ph.D. candidate, placed first in the Marcel Pourbaix Prize for Corrosion Science. Both work at Ohio University’s Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology (ICMT), one of the largest research facilities of its kind in the world.

The world’s largest corrosion conference and exposition, Corrosion 2018 drew more than 6,000 engineers, scientists, researchers and professionals from roughly 60 countries. 

Prieto Nieto’s research demonstrated how the 3D printing and manufacturing and printing process produces defects in metal, and she explained how applying heat can heal the defects.  

“These defects initiate corrosion faster than in ‘normally-manufactured’ materials,” she said. “The heat treatment makes the surface more uniform and annihilates the defects, resulting in a smooth, homogeneous surface with less porosity so it’s less susceptible to corrosion attack.”
Dominguez Olivo’s research focused on the application of organic corrosion inhibitors, molecules that have a hydrophilic “head,” which attaches to the metal surface, and a hydrophobic “tail,” which is made of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Where previous scientific research suggests that a metal’s protection relates to how much of the surface,  is covered with corrosion inhibitor heads, his work showed that organic corrosion inhibitors with longer tails had more success pushing away water from a metal’s surface, therefore increasing protection.

“The most important outcome of my research is the development of an electrochemical model that describes the inhibition process, which finds the optimal dosage of a corrosion inhibitor to obtain maximum efficiency in terms of diminishing corrosion,” Dominguez Olivo said. “This is important for oil and gas companies because it will help them use inhibitors more efficiently, to avoid potential oil leaks and other compromising situations.”
Srdjan Nesic, Russ Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and director of the Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology said the combined wins were remarkable. 

“They’ve grown tremendously since they came to OHIO,” Nesic said.  “To come from the Russ College and compete so successfully on the world’s stage, particularly for our group at the ICMT, is a great tribute to our students, faculty and staff,” Nesic said.

In addition to the duo, approximately 50 Russ College students, faculty, staff and alumni presented conference papers – among them, 18 presented posters – at the competition.