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Students and professors at the Qatar University and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) meet with representatives from the industrial companies Qatar Petroleum and Hydro, which together own the Qatalum aluminium company.

All take an interest in aluminium, and are eager to develop more knowledge about the properties and potential applications of the multi-faceted metal.

Building competence

Hydro and NTNU have been working with aluminium alloys for several decades, while their Qatar-based counterparts are eager to build competence in aluminium and can contribute new knowledge about how aluminium alloys are affected by the Middle East climate, especially in hot and humid conditions.

As a part of this collaboration, the oil and gas company Qatar Petroleum is setting up test rigs to field-test corrosion exposure of several materials, including two important alloys produced by Qatalum, in the Qatari climate over a period of two-three years.

At the same time five students at the Qatar University – two Qatari women and three men (one of them is Qatari) – are discussing how to conduct realistic corrosion tests, where the natural exposure is accelerated through addition of hydrochloric acid and other chemicals. The discussions are supervised by Trond Furu, Hydro, Hans Jørgen Roven, NTNU, Roy Johnsen, Qatar Petroleum, Elsadig Mahdi, Qatar University, and Adel Mohamed, Qatar University.

The five students from Qatar University are cooperating with three Master's degree students from NTNU in Trondheim, Norway. All students work on important alloys for Qatalum and have agreed on testing parameters that will compliment each other, and exchange data afterwards by e-mail. The two teams had their first meeting at NTNU in September and plan to have a follow-up meeting at Qatar University in January, for exchange of the results and further discussions.

In addition to testing corrosion in harsh environments, the students will perform fatigue testing as well as testing of strength and ductility on aluminium alloys. The samples are machined and prepared both at NTNU and at Qatar University’s own workshop, and the testing is carried out in test rigs in various departments at the two universities.

Important cooperation

“Access to equipment is rarely an issue in Qatar, but we are training people on how to make the best use of the advanced machines for aluminium alloys. The cooperation between Qatar University, NTNU, Hydro and Qatalum is valuable to us, as it increases knowledge and also attracts students to mechanical engineering and advanced materials,” says Qatar Petroleum chief researcher Roy Johnsen. Johnsen has one year leave of absence from NTNU with the task to build up a center for research and technology in Qatar Petroleum.

“The extensive cooperation is of great value to Qatalum. Students and professors at Qatar University are challenged in new areas, and can make way for a future career in the aluminium industry, either in Qatalum or with customers of Qatalum such as engineering companies where basic aluminium competence is essential,” says Hydro's program manager, Trond Furu.

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