11/4/96 Contact: Paul Jepson, Corrosion in Multiphase Systems Center, 614-593-1498;
ATHENS, Ohio -- An Ohio University center that does research on multi-phase flow and its effects on corrosion in gas, oil and other industrial pipelines will get a new home next year -- a $2.3 million facility behind the university's Central Receiving on West State Street in Athens.
Construction of the 20,000 square-foot building will begin in December and should be completed in late spring. The new space will almost double the research area currently available to the center, which is studying ways to understand and prevent corrosion in pipelines, a problem responsible for several fatal accidents at industrial plants in the United States.
Since it was founded in 1990, faculty and students in the center have worked out of two 6,000-square-foot labs -- one in the Research and Technology Center and the other in a leased building on Baker Road, said Paul Jepson, director of the center and Russ Professor of chemical engineering in the university's Russ College of Engineering and Technology.
"We are really looking forward to integrating both labs at one location," he said. "It will enable us to expand our research capabilities and begin work in new areas."
The new site will house several pieces of new equipment, including two large compressors used to recirculate large amounts of gas used in corrosion testing. This means the center will use fewer materials to do more studies, Jepson said.
The facility will also have an environmental chamber, which will allow researchers to study the impact of toxic chemicals on corrosion buildup in pipes. Until now, the research labs lacked the safety features needed to do such tests.
"We will be able to do many new projects in this facility, including a project to develop new environmentally friendly chemicals to replace toxic ones currently used by the oil and gas industry," Jepson said.
The center, the only one of its kind in the world, works with 22 companies, including the major oil companies, major chemical companies that produce oilfield chemicals, and other companies with natural gas pipelines.
What makes the center unique, Jepson said, is that the materials and pipes used in testing are the same size and design as the equipment used by industry.
"When we do testing, we are very confident that we can take the results and apply them to field conditions," Jepson said.
Two faculty from chemical engineering and more than 20 graduate and undergraduate students work in the center.