Dr.-Ing. Jürgen HEINEMANN
Dr. Margit WELTSCHEV
A significant happening on the last day of EUROCORR 2004 was the inaugural meeting of the new EFC Working Party (WP19) on Corrosion of Polymer Materials. This had been proposed a few months earlier by GfKorr, one of the two German Members of the EFC. The proposal received support from other EFC Member Societies in Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and UK, which well exceeds the minimum requirement of four-country support for the formation of a new working party. The proposal was also supported by the EFC Science and Technology Advisory Committee, although only after much debate about the title. Views were equally divided between those in favour of "Corrosion of Polymers", and those who preferred "Degradation of Polymers". In the end it was decided to let the Working Party itself have the last say on the matter. During the inaugural meeting, the preference was for "Corrosion", since this is a working party of the European Federation of Corrosion. However, it was acknowledged that the corrosion of polymers does not conform with the generally accepted ISO definition of corrosion, which specifically refers to metals. For the purposes of WP19, corrosion has, therefore, been redefined as: "All processes involving the components of the material and medium which cause mass transport across the phase boundary and which may cause deterioration of the component or system".
In total, twenty-four people attended the inaugural meeting of WP19, and several others have expressed interest in joining it, including one person from the UK (Dr Tony Maxwell of NPL). Dr Rudolf Morach of Ciba Speciality Chemicals in Basel, Switzerland was appointed as Chairman of WP19.
The objectives of the new working party are:
It is hoped that cooperation with all other international groups working in the field of corrosion of polymers will attract new people to attend EUROCORR in future. The possibility of seeking financial support at a European level (e.g. via COST) to cover travel costs associated with meetings to discuss joint research work is under consideration.