In conversation with Fariba Mahdavi

What does your project focus on, and what are the likely positive outcomes or recommendations for the Australian pipeline industry?

The disbondment of protective organic coatings under excessive cathodic protection potential is a widely reported pipeline coating failure mode.

Traditional methods of evaluating cathodic disbondment of pipeline coatings are based on visual inspection of pipeline conditions, and laboratory testing of cathodic disbondment resistance using ex-situ visual inspection based standard test methods.

In my research I am employing electrochemical techniques such as electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) as a means of evaluating the cathodic disbondment of defected organic coating.

The research aims to develop a novel localised EIS measurement into a method for in-situ measuring of cathode disbondment and evaluating the environmental factors affecting the cathodic disbondment of pipeline coatings.

I will complete my PhD by 2017.

What are your areas of expertise that are being developed from this research?

From a purely technical point of view, I am learning a lot on cathodic protection of pipelines, coatings and pipeline inspection techniques from site visits and industrial attachments provided by the Energy Pipelines CRC for researchers.

Why is this sort of expertise necessary in the Australian pipeline industry?

Cathodic disbondment is a mode of coating failure that frequently occurs in oil and gas pipelines, which are usually protected by organic coatings in conjunction with cathodic protection (CP).

To protect the pipeline against corrosion under disbonded coating, the most appropriate technique needs to be recognised for detecting and measuring the coating disbondment.

Despite the availability of laboratory techniques for measuring the coating disbondment, there is a lack of a practical technique and a knowledge gap in understanding the most significant factors affecting the coating cathodic disbondment.

The work in my PhD research will help to overcome the related issues that Australian pipeline industry faces in this matter.

What research programs are you currently involved with?

My PhD project is part of the Energy Pipelines CRC Research Program 2, aiming to provide a field applicable measuring technique and understanding of pipeline coatings disbondment.

Also, I am involved in some other smaller industrial research projects commissioned by various members of the pipeline industry such as evaluating cathodic shielding behaviour of different types of coatings, life prediction of pipeline coatings using EIS technique and evaluating the effects of mechanical stress on cathodic disbondment of pipeline coatings.

Are you looking to further develop your broader knowledge in the industry?

Doing more research on the pipeline coatings area in combination with finding and experiencing practical application of the research’s outcome is the ideal plan after finishing my PhD study.

Are you involved in any associations within the Australian or overseas pipeline industry?

As my research is sponsored by the Energy Pipelines CRC, I am fortunate to work in collaboration with industry advisors, industry members with brilliant field experience as well as being able to attend conferences that allow me to have a broad view of the pipeline industry.

What are your interests outside of research and development in the industry?

I am a movie lover, I enjoy watching and criticising movies with friends.

Organising social activities is also one of my favourite hobbies, which always seems as joyous as the activity itself.

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