CECRI’s Corrosion Testing Centre at Mandapam was established in the year 1975. The Mandapam region was chosen as it is surrounded by the sea, has tropical marine condition and a fairly flat terrain, and also because the monsoons and associated gusty winds generate considerable amounts of salt in the air—all quite suited for atmospheric corrosion testing. Over the years, CECRI’s testing yard at Mandapam has proven itself to be a unique and aggressive location in terms of corrosion. Thus, atmospheric corrosion rates recorded at Mandapam have been amongst the highest reported from around the world. A number of countries including USA, Russia and Bulgaria have participated in cooperative projects with CECRI on materials performance and paint evaluation. It is considered desirable that all new materials and paint formulations go through tests at this location. Thus, a number of national and private sector agencies, including research laboratories, paint manufacturers and small scale industries take advantage of the Mandapam facility.
Research at this Centre has now expanded to include corrosion in seawater. Corrosion and biofouling characteristics of various metals and engineering alloys have been investigated under natural sea immersion on a long-term basis, thus establishing a valuable database for materials performance in coastal Indian conditions. Current work at the Centre pivots on the potential use of illumination as a unique approach to control localized corrosion in seawater. Recent results from the Mandapam laboratory have demonstrated that as little as 10% of diffuse natural sunlight improves the passivity of stainless steels in a dramatic manner. The same amount of lighting has also been shown to promote calcareous deposition and enhance cathodic protection in seawater. These revelations have spurred the utility of illumination in the control of marine corrosion.