Material scientists at Deakin University enhance performance and extend service life of pipelines and offshore infrastructure for a more sustainable future.

Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials researchers, in collaboration with researchers from PETRONAS Research and the University of Adelaide, have scooped the IChemE Malaysia Awards 2020, Oil and Gas Award for their project Metal Organic Framework as Self-Healing Catalyst during the organisation’s first ever virtual ceremony.

The IChemE Malaysia Awards celebrate excellence and innovation in various fields of chemical engineering and is an excellent avenue for teams, companies or individuals to have their projects recognised on an international platform.

Since starting in 2006, IChemE Malaysia Awards have seen a growing participation from various industries and hope to see this trend continue in coming years to showcase and encourage more collaboration between STEM professionals so that chemical engineers remain at the forefront of innovation.

The new work by Professor Russell Varley, Dr Jane Zhang and Dr Mandy De Souza from the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) develops a novel self-healing epoxy that delivers a highly robust and reliable performance when added to the interior of steel pipes in oil field operations.

These methods ensure the integrity of materials during operation, which could lead to longer service life of the materials and cost avoidance for maintenance and inspection by about 80 per cent.

Professor Varley said this win is a recognition of the novel and sustainable aspects of this research and showcases the importance of this technology for better futures.

“This technology developed in conjunction with PETRONAS and Professor Christian Doonan from the University of Adelaide, has the potential to extend service life, reduce consumption and improve resource efficiencies in infrastructure applications.”

“We are excited to be working with PETRONAS to create new technologies which are helping them transition to a more sustainable future,” said Professor Varley.

Importantly, this technology offers a better performing and sustainable alternative by replacing the precious rare-earth-based catalyst and preserving the Earth’s resources. Now with an economically viable option, this work has addressed the main challenge of current microencapsulation healing technologies for generations to come.

For more information:

Professor Russell Varley is a Professor of Composite Materials at Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials.

Dr Jane Zhang is a Research Fellow in Composites at Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials.

Dr Mandy De Souza is a Senior Research Fellow at Carbon Nexus in carbon fibre composites within Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials.