Forensics

Corrosion of Steel in Transit

Our Service

FSM consultants are experienced in the evaluation of corrosion damage. All our senior consultants have either researched and published papers on corrosion or undergone NACE (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) corrosion courses in the USA. We are backed up by excellent laboratory facilities. Our methodology can include some or all of the following.

  1. Collection of evidence, both in the form of samples and photographic images.
  2. Chemical analysis where appropriate.
  3. Microscopic examination.
  4. Consideration of the transit details.
  5. Consideration of the material characteristics, in combination with the protection, transit details and possible contaminants.
  6. Preparation of a report that takes into account all of the above and concludes as to the
    • likely cause of corrosion damage;
    • significance of the damage;
    • possible restoration.

It is in respect of 6. above that we would distinguish ourselves from normal chemical laboratories. Our skill is in the interpretation of results rather than actual chemical analysis. We are often provided with the analytical results of other laboratories and asked to interpret the results. A necessary part of our work is the provision of written reports and the willingness to argue our conclusions in a court of law.

Reference Material

We have a 600 volume reference library with subscriptions to major corrosion and materials-related publications. These references include volumes detailing the effect (corrosion rate) of chemicals on a wide range of metals. We also have our own computerised data base of 2000 failure analyses, many of which involve transit damage. We are a member of Sirim with immediate access to their wide collection of international standards. We regularly access the Sirim catalogue on-line.

Laboratory Facilities

Our laboratory facilities that are relevant to the work described in this pamphlet are as follows :

  • Macro-photography.
  • Nikon SMZ10 laboratory stereomicroscope with photographic capability.
  • Field microscopes.
  • Nikon Labophot compound microscope with photographic capability.
  • Nikon optical shadograph.
  • Nikon fibre-optic light source.
  • Programmable remote in-situ temperature and humidity recording downloadable to a computer.

Associate

FSM has as its associate Rimkus Consulting Inc of the USA. Rimkus carries out investigations and provides technical advice to the insurance and legal industries world wide. They have over 100 full time technical consultants convering many industry groups and disciplines.

Transit Corrosion

The corrosion of steel in transit forms the basis of many insurance claims. There are a number of reasons for this, as follows.

  1. Like many metals, steel is chemically unstable at room temperature and normal humidity and 'wants'to return to nature.
  2. When steel corrodes the corrosion product, normally called rust, is a distinctive red/brown colour. The colour and voluminous nature of rust tends to exaggerate the actual damage.
  3. Steel is often shipped in raw form, intended to be made upon arrival into the final product. Consequently the surfaces are fresh and deliberately left with relatively little protection, so as to not to interfere with later processing. The best example is cold rolled steel.
  4. Coils of steel are by virtue of their shape and weight difficult to wrap protectively.
  5. Steel shipments can go through a variety of storage conditions and exposures that can lead to wetting. A particular insurance policy might cover only part of the transit time. Alternatively a policy might include a considerable period (up to months) of storage time after arrival at a port.
  6. Finished products made wholly or partly of steel can be intended to be used in relatively benign environments. For example, an air-conditioned space. Sometimes products are not packaged well enough to withstand the vagaries of transit.


  7. Examples of Investigations

    1. The alleged corrosion of pipes, sections, coils of wire and sheets of hot rolled steel.
    2. Corrosion of coils of cold rolled steel, galvanised steel and tin-plated steel.
    3. Corrosion of stainless steel in various forms.
    4. Corrosion of steel after contamination by :
      • Acids.
      • Sea water.
      • Fertilisers.
    5. Corrosion of steel components and fittings in the following equipment.
      • Loud speakers.
      • Tile making machinery.
      • Printing machines and rolls.
      • Motor vehicles.

    Other Links For

    Forensic Services - Marine Cargo Claims Investigation Category

    Container Fires | Marine Cargo Claims | Corrosion of Steel in Transit