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Engineering Helps Advance New Technology in Corrosion Protection
When Farzad Hashemi sat down to finalize the purchase of his first car after emigrating from Iran to Canada, he was offered a protection package that included rust protection. He listened to the details and benefits, but Hashemi was somewhat skeptical of the claims the sales manager was making.
“I had 22 years of experience in cathodic protection, which is one of the most reliable methods for corrosion protection” Hashemi recalls. “I had my own business, which provided corrosion protection to the oil and gas industry based on this method. I did some research and quickly realized none of the solutions on the market provided real protection for vehicles against corrosion. I thought, ‘I could take my experience and come up with something better,’ so I did.”
Drawing on his extensive expertise, Hashemi came up with what he knew to be a superior system of rust protection, but he also came up against something more formidable than a Canadian winter: skepticism among the major auto manufacturers.
“I knew just having a patent pending was not good enough to get into the market,” Hashemi says. “The industry wanted more proof. I started looking for a way to have my idea validated and reached out to the National Research Council. They led me to Dalhousie University and Dr. George Jarjoura.”
An associate professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Jarjoura and his students ran a series of tests that quickly validated Hashemi’s corrosion protection technology. “We used a salt fog chamber to simulate extremely aggressive corrosive environments,” Dr. Jarjoura says. “We did not observe any corrosion at all with his technology, whereas none of the competing products held up. Regardless of how much stress we put on his treated panels, not one showed any sign of corrosion under the most extreme conditions in a simulated a real-life application of the lifetime of the panels.”
Dr. Jarjoura and his students have conducted further testing of Hashemi’s corrosion protection system, for several thousand hours of experiments, all with similar results. That has helped open doors for Hashemi, and he is in negotiations with several companies about possible applications for his cathodic protection system.
“The fact that Hashemi has found an effective solution to such a widespread issue is a major breakthrough,” Dr. Jarjoura says. “What he has come up with is versatile and substantially less expensive to implement than currently available protection methods. I believe it will solve conventional cathodic corrosion protection issues in a wide range of applications and industries.”
Hashemi says there is more work to be done on the technology before it can be applied in any industry. His current priority is pipeline applications, but he also has his sights set on the marine and automotive industries. Ultimately, he says the potential for the product is huge and he is lucky to be living in a country where he has the opportunity and resources to transform an idea into a new business.
“From NRC to Dalhousie, there are so many different organizations here that help you develop and validate new technologies that lead to new businesses,” Hashemi says. “I feel really grateful to be here in Canada, where everyone has equal opportunity and access to resources to see their dreams come true.”
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