Corrosion is something that occurs all around us, all the time and in all environments and if there is no plan in place, then corrosion can cost you a lot more than money.
But what exactly is corrosion? According to NASA, corrosion can be defined as the degradation of a material due to a reaction with its environment. Degradation implies deterioration of physical properties of the material. This can be a weakening of the material due to a loss of cross-sectional area, it can be the shattering of a metal due to hydrogen embrittlement, or it can be the cracking of a polymer due to sunlight exposure.
What this tells us is that because corrosion happens, reinforcements are necessary to ensure that the integrity of the component is maintained. But sometimes, even the reinforcement can become corroded.
Let’s take the example of steel - steel reinforcement may become rusted because it was initially exposed to the atmosphere. When freshly, mixed concrete is placed around this steel, the mixing water penetrates through the rust pores, where it gradually forms hydrated calcium ferrite. Moreover, this water reacts with steel and forms a thin layer of iron and calcium hydroxides.
All these products in the vicinity of steel raise the pH of concrete pore solution, up to about 13. It should be noted that when on contact with initial rust, cement hydration is disturbed and a transition zone is locally formed. Concrete is more homogenous when far from this zone.
The concrete mixing water makes it possible to form some products, which protect the steel by passivation. More precisely, under atmospherically induced rust, reinforcement is covered with a thin protective layer of white products, containing ferrite and calcium hydroxides.
Such protection vanishes when large cracks reach reinforcement or the porosity of the concrete is large enough to allow aggressive elements to reach the steel surface.
Corrosion with rusting of reinforcement in concrete comprises two stages. In the first stage (or step), the aggressive elements such as chloride or carbon dioxide, present in the surrounding medium penetrates the concrete- this is the initiation stage. The second stage is propagation, which starts, when these aggressive bodies are in rather high concentrations at the reinforcement level. This corresponds to rust growth, which can break concrete cover.
These stages are described as follows:
- A first stage involves the transfers of aggressive agents (mainly carbon dioxide and chloride) of water and of oxygen, inducing the corrosion initiation (de-passivation of reinforcement).
- A stage of corrosion growth, leading to concrete damage, to spalling, cracks, etc. This stage starts when the contents of aggressive agents are high enough to reinforcing steel.
- To describe steel corrosion in concrete, it is advisable to define, on one hand, the penetration of the aggressive agents through concrete and on the other hand, the conditions of depassivation of reinforcement, then the dissolution rate of metal and rust growth.
Metallurgy is the science and technology of metals. It involves analyzing the physical and mechanical properties of metals and examining how they are affected by composition, mechanical working and heat treatment.
CARIRI’s Metallurgy Unit offers a wide range of tests and services that are comparable with established laboratories anywhere else in the world.
- Failure Analysis of Mechanical Components
- Corrosion Assessment & Prevention of Coatings and Components
- Mechanical Testing of Material
CARIRI is also home to the Industrial Materials Unit – Civil which is dedicated to testing and consultancy services, primarily to the Building and Construction industry and together Metallurgy and Civil have been able to ensure the best quality solutions for their clients. As part of its commitment to ensuring that it continues to educate the population on various issues and topics, CARIRI will be hosting a session entitled ‘Quality in Construction’ on Tuesday 12th April, 2016, which will be held under the auspices of the Minister of Works and Transport, the Honorable Fitzgerald Hinds.
The market for smartphones and mobile apps is a closely related market, moreover, with Trinidad and Tobago and other English-speaking Caribbean islands being tiny domestic markets for mobile app developers, internationalization is a key strategy for mobile app ventures looking to scale up. Research firm Gartner estimates the total number of mobile app downloads globally (both free and paid) will soar to 269 billion in 2017, up from 102 billion in 2013.Developer Economics estimates that there are 2.9 million mobile app developers in the world, creating more than 2 million apps.
The Local Mobile App Industry
With over 100% mobile phone penetration in Trinidad and Tobago, a large and growing proportion of which represents smartphones, more and more people are downloading and using apps. Thousands of smartphone users will have ideas for apps, with a subset willing to take steps towards having these apps created.
According to the BBC, “a mobile app is short for application and this can be any type of computer programme Applications have been around for as long as computers, but the term 'app' is associated with the software that runs on a smartphone or tablet device. Apps are usually accessed by clicking or tapping on an icon on the homescreen of your smartphone or tablet. This means you don't need to search for a programme or key in the address of a website.” This, by its very definition, means that apps are more convenient to the user, so we do expect the app industry to explode to an even greater extent in the next few years.
The developer community in Trinidad and Tobago comprises mainly of mobile app developers who are at varying levels of experience, expertise and activity. Some are self-taught developers, while others have received formal training here in the region, at a North American or European institution, or online. Judging from participation in events like hackathons, local and international competitions, start-up weekends, and networking events around the country, it can be inferred that the number of people with advanced mobile application development skills is in the low hundreds.
In terms of demographics, while mobile app development might have a natural, almost instinctive appeal to tech savvy millennial, the demographics of mobile app developers in Trinidad and Tobago, and wider Caribbean, vary widely in terms of age, gender and income. Several educational institutions in Trinidad and Tobago offer mobile app development training at certificate, diploma, Bachelor or Master’s Degree level. In all cases where the training is offered at tertiary level, these courses are offered as individual modules or even part of an ICT module rather than as a specialism or main area of focus. In some instances, one-off short courses are also offered by technology partners like Microsoft, who have a vested interest in promoting their brand.
However, knowing the precise number of mobile app developers is less important than understanding the trends in terms of people showing an interest in becoming mobile app developers, or coming up with ideas for apps. The trends show an increasing number of people seeking formal and informal training in app development, as well as participating in proof of concept competitions and start-up competitions with mobile app ideas, prototypes, or fully built solutions which can all be provided at CARIRI’s mCentre.
The Centre for Enterprise Development (CED) is a flagship development of CARIRI which is aimed at facilitating Research, Development and Innovation. The Tekmania arm of CED accommodates Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project initiatives being undertaken by CARIRI that are geared towards enhancing the operational efficiencies of SMEs.
One section of TekMania is the mCentre which is the only mobile applications laboratory and accelerator in the region which incubates high potential mobile app developers. The lab provides world class business and technical training to high potential individuals on mobile application development and entrepreneurship on all platforms. mCentre is a shared space where technology and entrepreneurs can interact, work, gain access to tools and expertise, deploy their solutions and start and grow their businesses.
As part of it growth, CARIRI’s mCentre was selected to be a part of the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project (CMIP).
CMIP is a two-tiered partnership approach to support growth-oriented mobile app businesses in the region. As part of the World Bank’s infoDev ICT development approach, the CMIP seeks to build mobile innovation communities by bringing together a variety of stakeholder groups. The hubs operate out of Jamaica (main mobile application hub), Trinidad and Tobago (CARIRI), Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Barbados and Suriname.
Mobile app entrepreneurs using the services of the CMIP in each respective market will be able to access technical, business and project management training, mentoring, and business incubation services. The goal of the training will be to support mobile app entrepreneurs to move their idea from ‘mind to market.’
It is with this in mind that CARIRI’s mCentre will be hosting the local leg of the regional competition, CODESPRINT on Thursday 21st April 2016. Persons who have a working mobile app (either a prototype or one already on a mobile app store) will be asked to present to a panel of judges for the chance to win seed funding, prizes, and mentoring.