‘Corrosion cost of $2.5 trillion p.a. to drag India’s GDP down by 4%’

The impact of corrosion on infrastructure has a fall out on the economy. The International Zinc Association (IZA) at a conference on ‘Cutting the Cost of Corrosion on Infrastructure’ held on Friday in the city sought to examine the pressing concerns and find solutions.
Tomy Sebastian, Rahul Sharma and Radhakrishna G Pillai
Tomy Sebastian, Rahul Sharma and Radhakrishna G Pillai

CHENNAI: The global cost of corrosion is $2.5 trillion per year, which equates to 3-4 per cent of global GDP and about 4 per cent in India, as per the CORCON Institute of Corrosion.

The impact of corrosion on infrastructure has a fall out on the economy. The International Zinc Association (IZA) at a conference on ‘Cutting the Cost of Corrosion on Infrastructure’ held on Friday in the city sought to examine the pressing concerns and find solutions.

Experts including Radhakrishna G Pillai, IIT Madras, Rahul Sharma, director (India) - IZA and Tomy Sebastian, founder, Verantes Living, stressed on the need for a thorough corrosion protection mechanism that will not only ensure infrastructure longevity but also minimise economic and environmental damages.

Amongst the many issues, Galvanising technologies (process of applying zinc coating to a more noble metal like steel or iron), applications for existing and new structures, Indian and global examples of galvanised structures and applications for smart cities were also discussed.

Pillai said, “India is seeing massive infrastructure expansion and notable projects like the smart cities mission. At the same time, we have witnessed structures in many parts of India, especially coastal India, are prone to steel corrosion - leading to deteriorated and unsafe structures, accidents, loss of human life and infrastructure, and associated economic burden to the country.”

“With this seminar, we aim to create more awareness about durable concrete, steel reinforcement, and practices to support India’s efforts towards the development of sustainable and durable infrastructure and GDP growth,” he added.

The seminar was attended by corporates and senior authorities from Tamil Nadu PWD department, Chennai Metro Rail Corporation, Greater Chennai Corporation, IIT Madras, Intertouch, CPWD officials, Crescent Institute of Technology, among others.

Sharma said, “Through this platform we want to address the need of longevity and protection of countries’ premium infrastructure systems and call for the need to adopt durable and proven corrosion protection methods, like structure galvanisation. We plan to organise similar awareness campaigns in other states too”.

Globally, railroad tracks are replaced due to mechanical wear, but in India, they are subject to premature failure due to corrosion. This is a costly and preventable expense. IZA is working with the Railways Ministry to demonstrate the effectiveness of zinc coatings for controlling corrosion

IZA is undertaking a demonstration trial using thermal sprayed zinc to prevent corrosion of the rail support webs. The recently-concluded trial and results showed significant improvement in rail life with thermal spraying. It is expected the railways will move for system-wide adoption of thermal sprayed rails

India is also undertaking a massive rail station refurbishment programme and IZA continues its work with the Ministry to educate them on the importance of specifying galvanising to protect and extend the life of the steel signs, poles and ancillary structures

IZA has also launched an education and outreach programme aimed at non-railway projects including pedestrian and vehicle bridges, sign supports, safety barriers and fencing and steel culverts for drainage control

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