UA researcher to manage pipeline corrosion in Mexico with $1M grant


Dr. Homero Castaneda-Lopez

With its nearly 40,000 miles of underground pipelines and thousands of miles more slated for construction over the next few years, Mexico is taking a proactive scientific and technology-based approach to pipeline corrosion prevention and mitigation, and is turning to The University of Akron for its expertise.  

Homero Castaneda-Lopez, a faculty member with UA's one-year-old corrosion engineering program — introduced in fall 2010 as the nation's first such baccalaureate program — is answering the call. Castaneda-Lopez, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and his research team were awarded more than $1 million from the National Council of Science and Technology-Mexico (CONACyT) to study and assess the country's pipeline corrosion issues over the next three years.

"Mexico has a lot of ecosystems, environments and precursors for corrosion and is working to bridge the gap between science and technology," says Castaneda-Lopez, who explains the country’s efforts to introduce cutting-edge advancements in corrosion engineering to the field.

Advancements also important to environment

Lab conditions simulate real soil and other corrosion-causing conditions to which pipelines are exposed.

"What we see in the lab can be applicable in the field where steel pipelines that carry millions of gallons of gas, crude oil and petroleum products face consistent, time-dependent, aggressive environmental threats," says Castaneda-Lopez, who lists moisture, ionic species, chemical elements and inherent operating conditions among major corrosion triggers.

Castaneda-Lopez and fellow research team members from Battelle, National University of Mexico (UNAM), Corrosion and Protection Engineering (CPI),Technology Center from Campeche (ITESCAM) and the Research Center for Electrochemistry (CIDETEQ) will simulate, in the lab, conditions to which Mexico's pipelines are exposed and develop applicable technology solutions for field applications. Combined, the research institutions were awarded nearly $4 million from CONACyT Mexico for this research project.

Research opportunities for students

Other engineering faculty members, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate and undergraduate students will support Castaneda-Lopez in conducting this research. They will perform much of their work in the National Center for Education and Research in Corrosion and Materials Performance laboratories in UA’s new research engineering building, currently under construction on campus.

“This major international research award highlights CONACyT’s high regard for Professor Castaneda-Lopez' abilities and creates an important platform for even broader strategic collaboration in the future between UA faculty and Mexico's science and technology research funding agencies," says Dr. George K. Haritos, dean of the UA College of Engineering. "It provides an exciting opportunity to field-test corrosion management approaches developed in the UA National Center."

Media contact: Denise Henry, 330-972-6477 or

Read more:

UA Joins Mexico Pipeline Study, PaintSquare, Dec. 21

UA professor, research team to study corrosion prevention in Mexico, Crain's Cleveland Business, Dec. 20