Please tell us about yourself. How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and exciting career?
Sreya Dutta could not have anticipated that her background in ceramics would lead to a career in corrosion. As a materials and corrosion scientist at Dynalene, Dutta assesses the compatibility of materials as they come into contact with fluids.
Q: What is your educational background?
A: I did my undergraduate studies from Calcutta University in ceramics in India and then I did my master’s in Material Science at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, also in India. Then I attended Lehigh University in the U.S. to earn my Ph.D in Material Science.
I did my postdoctoral work on coatings that can be applied to steel for high temperature steam power plants. That was my first contribution to the corrosion field. Then I learned that Dynalene was looking for a corrosion scientist who could look into the day-to-day issues of corrosion of these materials and come up with ways to inhibit it or prevent it. In my current position, I am coming up with different inhibitors and developments so that we can provide customers with fluids that have good corrosion resistance.
Q: What is a typical day on the job like for you?
A: A typical day is mostly in the lab either working with the potentiostat or the electron microscope. I have my own electron microscopy suite and a brand new corrosion lab. I look at different materials under the microscope. We have customers sending us samples with different corrosion issues or for other tests they require.
I also help with writing grants. Currently I’m working with a grant for the department of energy. So I’m doing literature review of what other people have done related to my field, and trying to divide my time between lab and office work.
Q: What research did you present at CORROSION 2013?
A: My talk was about using molten salts as heat transfer fluids for concentrating solar power plants which are used as a source of alternative energy. We are trying to use environment-friendly fluids that can be raised to very high temperatures in the solar power plants. In my research, I am trying to find ways to inhibit and improve the corrosion resistance of the metals that are used as tubings in solar power plants and cut down the costs if possible.
Q: What did you enjoy most about attending the NACE conference?
A: I learned a lot of useful things. Sometimes when you read papers you don’t get to know the whole story of what people in the industry are facing and what type of work is going on at the university level. At the conference, I can learn what people in the industry are doing and what people in the academic world are doing. There are a lot of opportunities to collaborate with them. I have brainstormed ideas with people I’ve met [at the conference] to come up with solutions to the problems that I face at work.
Q: What advice would you give to someone interested in working in corrosion?
A: It’s never too late. You can come in and learn so much and everybody is willing to help you.