Name – Paul Larkin
Company – SMEC
Position – Engineer – Materials Technology

What does your role entail and what does your company do?

As part of the Materials Technology Team at SMEC I undertake condition assessment
inspections, and assist in developing repair specifications for various infrastructure assets
around South-East Queensland. The team assesses water and wastewater assets, e.g.
reservoirs and sewer treatment facilities, transport infrastructure including bridges and
culverts, and ports and marine infrastructure.

What has been your favourite corrosion project that you have worked on and
why?

Reactive assessment of a failed sewer rising main has been my favourite corrosion project to
date, a job that’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea! The cement lining had cracked off the
crown of the pipe and pitting corrosion had punched about half a dozen holes through the
obvert. We had to get into the trench and use ultrasonic thickness testing to assess the pipe
wall thickness around the perforations to make sure patch welds would work. Lucky for us
the sewer main had to stay online throughout the whole job. Windows were kept down on
the way home.

What are the important corrosion related issues facing industry/your business
today?

The biggest issues with corrosion I’ve come across in my career to date have been with
corrosion of reinforcement in concrete. One structure that stands out in my memory was a
bridge not long past 30 years, reaching the end of its service life, the headstocks riddled
with corrosion. So many of the issues I see with corrosion appear to be related to poor
construction or design practices, such as not enough curing, compaction, or cover.

Why are you a member of the ACA?

The ACA has been a great place for me as a burgeoning corrosionist to meet other people in
the industry. Queensland branch events are an ideal opportunity to have a drink, and hear
what people have been up to.

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