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Chapter one

Background of study

One of the major challenges facing the oil and gas industry is

corrosion. Corrosion costs US industries alone an estimate of

$170 billion a year. The oil industry, with its complex and

demanding production technique, and the environmental threat

should components fail, takes an above average share of these

costs. Corrosion attacks every component at every stage in the

life of every oil and gas field. From casing strings to production

platforms, from drilling through to abandonment, corrosion is

an adversary worthy of all the high technology and research we

can throw at it.

Corrosion is the deterioration of a material part due to its

reaction with the environment. Water is produced alongside oil

from the reservoir. During transportation, CO2 dissolves in this

produced water forming carbonic acid which reacts with the

facilities used in the oil and gas production networks. Corrosion

tends to disintegrate the piping material making it fragile and

easy to break. This results in blockage of the pipeline thereby

obstructing the flow of liquid. Prolonged action of this corrosion

agent results in rupture and spill in the environment. In order to

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ensure transport of crude oil, several methods have been

adopted. One of these is the use of corrosion inhibitors to

control corrosion.

Corrosion inhibitors can be defined as those compounds that

when added in suitable amounts cause lowering in the

corrosion rate of the metal without significantly changing the

concentration of any other corrosive agent. Corrosion inhibitors

help the metal or the alloy maintain its resistance against

corrosion via various inhibition mechanisms. It is generally

assumed that inhibition in acid media by chemical compounds

added to the electrolyte is to be attributed to the adsorption of

the additive, (ion or neutral polar molecule), on the metal-

solution interface. It can then retard the cathodic and/or anodic

reactions, thus, reducing the corrosion rate. These corrosion

inhibitors are synthetic chemicals. Two significant factors that need to be

considered before choosing the right corrosion inhibitor for a particular material

is whether the compound is feasible in the sense of cost. Most effective

corrosion inhibitors are synthetic chemicals which are costly, therefore, not

economical to be used. The second factor is whether the compound is safe and

environmentally friendly. Synthetic compound is proven to be harmful to

human and the environment, thus it is not a compatible choice. Other elements

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that contribute to the selection of corrosion inhibitors are like their accessibility.

The question is whether the inhibitor could be found or produced easily. The

significance of finding and identifying inhibitors which are safe, cheap, and

easily accessible and does not emit dangerous substances and gaseous are

acknowledged. That is why more and more research on plants, seeds and flower

based inhibitors are being developed as naturally occurring substances contain

the chemicals proven in being able to inhibit corrosion, they are cheap, easy to

find, renewable and are safe to be used particularly those containing

elements of Group V and VI of the periodic table, such as

nitrogen, phosphorous, arsenic, Sulphur, oxygen and selenium.

The interaction of ions or neutral polar molecules at the

electrical double-layer changes its properties and structure.

Some examples of such natural inhibitors are henna, olive, shirsh zallouh,

vanillin, natural honey, khella, onion, ficus and opuntia.

The water molecules pre-adsorbed at the metal surface in

contact with aqueous solution are involved in the successive

adsorption processes. Organic inhibitors provide the protection

for metal surfaces by molecular adsorption into the metal

surface and forming a barrier film to decrease the corrosion

rate.

One of the main draw backs with most of synthetic type organic

inhibitors is their severe environmental hazards. These hazards


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are including their toxicity, biodegradation and/or

bioaccumulation. Therefore, more steps and efforts have been

put into researching naturally occurring inhibitors. Recent

research aimed at plant extracts as natural sources of corrosion

inhibitors and have shown promising results. Plant extracts

containing ingredients that act as antioxidants could be

considered separately or mixed within synthetic formulations to

generate cost effective source of corrosion inhibitor actives

being renewable, widely available, and they offer the

advantage of imposing no hazard to the environment.

Problem statement

There is the need to develop a corrosion inhibitor that is cheap,

ecofriendly, readily available, and can serve on an industrial

scale for carbon steel pipelines.

Objectives of study

To evaluate the performance of Allium cepa as a corrosion


inhibitor for carbon steel.
To determine the effects of concentration, temperature
and exposure time on the inhibitive efficiencies of Allium
cepa, hence make intelligent recommendation regarding
its use.

Justification of study

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Availability of iron and steel is largely responsible for the

technological advances in the last two hundred years

(Okorafor,2004). Oniwon (2004) asserts that ten percent (10%)

of the total worlds metal output is lost to corrosion.

Additionally, corrosion is responsible for 57% of material

failures in industries. Besides safety risks and environmental

pollution, the financial costs of corrosion in industrialized

countries is about 3-4% of their GDP, which is thirteen times

the gross productivity of developing countries.

Scope of study

This research considers the performance of Allium Cepa as

corrosion inhibitor for crude oil pipelines. It borders on:

Extraction and concentration of Allium Cepa


Evaluation of the inhibition efficiencies of the extract on

carbon steel in different concentrations of H2CO3.


Determination of the thermodynamic and adsorptive

parameters at the stated temperatures.


Fitting of the experimental data into adsorption models.

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Chapter two

Literature Review