Bloomberg Anywhere Remote Login Bloomberg Terminal Demo Request


Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.


Financial Products

Enterprise Products


Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000


Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Bloomberg Customers


Finally, a Finger on the Pulse of Rust

Planes, trains, automobiles, bridges, and pipelines all have one thing in common: corrosion. To the tune of $300 billion a year, rust and rot are gnawing away at America's infrastructure. What's worse, only a third of the damage is detectable by current means.

Enter the superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID), a transducer used to detect extremely small magnetic fields. A new variant of the SQUID, developed at Vanderbilt University by John P. Wikswo Jr. and R. Grant Skennerton, can detect minute amounts of corrosion, even when buried deep inside a metal object. The SQUID is a magnetometer so sensitive that it can easily sniff out the minute changes in magnetic fields that occur when metal oxidizes. "Other than the SQUID, there are no other techniques that can give information about the instantaneous rate of corrosion," Wikswo says.

While the system is currently confined to a lab, where confounding factors such as the earth's magnetic field can be screened out, SQUID is still useful for studying the conditions under which metal parts are prone to rust. The Air Force will be the first to use Vanderbilt's SQUID technology to measure rates of hidden corrosion activity in fuselage joints. A commercial version of the device could be available in two years. By Petty Fong

EDITED BY Edited by Adam Aston

blog comments powered by Disqus