FHWA funds Cost of Corrosion Study.
It is known that the corrosion of metallic
structures has a significant impact on the U.S. economy, including
infrastructure, transportation, utilities, production and manufacturing,
and government. A 1975-benchmark study by Battelle-NBS calculated
the cost of corrosion to be $70 billion per year, which was 4.2
percent of the nation's gross national product (GNP). Other studies,
both in the United States and abroad have addressed the cost of
corrosion as well.
CORROSION COSTS AND PREVENTIVE STRATEGIES IN THE UNITED
Report by CC Technologies Laboratories, Inc. to Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA), Office of Infrastructure Research and
Development, Report FHWA-RD-01-156, September 2001.
A need was identified to carry out a systematic
study to estimate the current impact of metallic corrosion on
the U.S. economy and to provide strategies to minimize the impact
of corrosion. Through discussions between NACE International
(The Corrosion Society), members of Congress, and the Department
of Transportation (DOT), an amendment for the cost of corrosion
was included in the Transportation Equity Act for the 2st Century
(TEA-21), which was passed by the U.S. legislature in 1998.
In the period from 1999 to 2001, CC Technologies conducted the
research, in a cooperative agreement with the Federal Highway
In this study, the total direct cost of corrosion
was determined by analyzing 26 industrial sectors, in which
corrosion is known to exist, and extrapolating the results for
a nationwide estimate. The total direct cost of corrosion was
determined to be $279 billion per year, which is 3.2 percent
of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Indirect costs to
the user (society costs) are conservatively estimated to be
equal to the direct costs. This means that the overall cost
to society could be as much as six percent of the GDP. Often,
the indirect costs are ignored because only the direct costs
are paid by the owner/operator.
New technologies to prevent corrosion continue
to be developed and cost based corrosion management techniques
are available to further lower corrosion costs. However, cost-effective
methods are not always implemented. Better corrosion management
can be achieved using preventive strategies at every level of
involvement (owner, operator, user, government, Federal regulators,
and general public).
The preventive strategies include:
(1) Increase awareness of large corrosion costs and potential
(2) Change the misconception that nothing can be done about
(3) Change policies, regulations, standards, and management
practices to increase corrosion savings through sound corrosion
(4) Improve education and training of staff in recognition of
(5) Advance design practices for better corrosion management.
(6) Advance life prediction and performance assessment methods.
(7) Advance corrosion technology through research, development,
This report will be of interest to government
regulators and policy makers involved in materials-related issues,
the general public, and practicing engineers concerned with
materials of construction and process design.