Please tell us about yourself
Abirami Krishnan started off his corrosion career as a cathodic protection (CP) technician, doing field work along pipelines in Kuwait. He furthered his career and expertise in CP and coatings by earning NACE CP certifications, Senior Corrosion Technologist, Chemical Treatment Specialist and Coating Inspector Program (CIP) Level 2 certifications.
Q: What is your educational background?
A: I’m a chemical and electrochemical engineer. I graduated from the CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CSIR-CECRI) and have a bachelor of technology in chemical and electrochemical engineering. CSIR-CECRI is primarily a corrosion research institute, and I did some research programs on corrosion.
Q: How did you discover the corrosion industry? How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?
A: After my graduation I was hired by a Kuwaiti cathodic protection company, and that’s how I got into the cathodic protection field. I became aware of NACE standards through client requirements.
Q: As a corrosion engineer, what exactly do you do?
A: On a daily basis I go out and take cathodic protection readings on tanks, pipelines, and subsea pipelines. We have several corrosion projects going on, so I review procedures for that. I also review documentation and prepare proposals for new corrosion and CP systems.
Q: What are some challenges of being a corrosion engineer?
A: If I’m raising a point about a project in a meeting, I always try to explain why I think one aspect of the project is more critical than another, and I explain how I think it should be done. I have to understand that from a management point of view, they think of the project in terms of cost, completion date, and the legal aspects of the project. I have to be able to understand the engineering perspective and the management perspective.
Q: Why did you choose to pursue NACE CP certification?
A: Initially, I pursued CP alone. I progressed from CP Level 2 to CP Level 3. When I was hired by Chevron I became the only corrosion engineer in the facility. Anything related to corrosion was brought to me and I could not say, “I do not know.” Then I began to grow my knowledge from CP to coatings, and from coatings I went on to a chemical treatment program. My next goal is to focus on material selection.
Because of the job I had to eventually branch out and not stick to just CP. I have to review documents that are submitted by vendors, and that really requires knowledge about standards. I need to know what the standards are about and what they are referring to. For this, certification is a must.
Q: What is something about corrosion that most people don’t know?
A: A hot topic right now is environmental protection. One of the things people don’t realize is that corrosion engineers are people who try to protect the environment by protecting pipelines, tanks, and other structures from corroding and degrading, which in turn protects the environment.