Hot careers in corrosion — student engineers prepare to be rust busters


Here is the interactive educational exhibit created by UA and the Department of Defense.

When President Barack Obama cited the nation's 70,000 structurally deficient bridges in his State of the Union address last month, The University of Akron already had one solution to the problem: corrosion engineers.

Now, a new partnership between UA, the Department of Defense, and the National Center for Education and Research on Corrosion and Materials Performance (NCERCAMP) housed at the University, will inspire the next generation of rust-busting corrosion engineers through an interactive educational exhibit that debuted at the Orlando Science Center in Florida on March 16.

On hand for the ribbon-cutting were 13 UA corrosion engineering students, who will be awarded $38,000 in scholarships during the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) International Corrosion Conference in Orlando on March 19.

As visitors to the display stand under a 200-square-foot, rusty steel trestle bridge, they move through a series of virtual experiences that depict how corrosion occurs and the scientific “fix” now under development at The University of Akron, which offers the nation's first bachelor's degree program in corrosion engineering.

Future corrosion engineers

Supported by the U.S. DoD Corrosion Policy and Oversight Office and Bruno White Entertainment, the display (Corrosion: The Silent Menace) features videos of UA corrosion engineering students discussing their career futures.

Actor LeVar Burton is surrounded by UA's corrosion engineering students at the March 16 opening of the exhibit. They will be among the first in the nation to earn bachelor’s degrees in the discipline. Burton, who narrated the multimedia aspects of the exhibit and is an advocate of STEM education, cut the ribbon at the exhibit. Photo: Bruno White Entertainment, Inc.

Among the exhibit's engaging components is a video game experience, which uses kinesthetic gaming "Corr Sim Jr." to give children the opportunity to become corrosion-prevention technicians and keep their bicycles free of rust.
Launched in 2010, UA's corrosion engineering program emphasizes project management and responds to governments' and industries' calls for corrosion engineers to address what has become a $400 billion national corrosion problem.
"There is both regulatory push and industry pull for corrosion engineers,” says Dr. Ed Evans, UA corrosion engineering faculty member and associate professor of chemical engineering, who points out that the high price of corrosion to industry and government prompted both entities to advocate mandates for formally educated and trained corrosion engineers.
Visit UA’s Corrosion Engineering Program online to learn more.

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