Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot?

A Look Back at Two of Inspectioneering's Most Popular Topics from 2020

By Greg Alvarado, Chief Editor at Inspectioneering. March 1, 2021

We are all familiar with the classic song Auld Lang Syne that is so prevalent going into a new year. You know the one: “should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?” But how many of you know what auld acquaintance means?  

The song has at least two messages. First, let the past stay in the past (whether good or bad), don’t rest on past laurels, and let things go. But, by that same token, don’t forget about all of the good that happened during that same span.

How can we make 2021 a better year than 2020? How can we learn from the bad and let it go, while still remembering the good? Just food for thought.

That being said, let’s look back at two of the most popular topics that were covered in Inspectioneering Journal last year, covering the accuracy of thickness readings and corrosion under insulation. Of course, these topics that will likely not go away for quite a while.

The article Continuous Thickness Monitoring: Precise Corrosion Rates in Less Time, written by Spencer Rex, dives into the value in permanent sensors. The author demonstrates how monitoring with permanently mounted UT probes over time shows accurate trends or changes in corrosion rates. He relates them to changes in operating conditions too, which can be quite valuable. As many can attest, the periodic practice of taking thickness readings with a UT gauge may not be that accurate, especially when calculating short- or long-term corrosion rates. The practice mentioned by Spencer Rex shows that trending accurately over time can have tremendous value. While the accuracy of an individual reading can be (justifiably) questioned, continuous readings with a permanently mounted sensor can show value and accuracy! Something for us all to think about… especially in those areas where risk dictates.

Corrosion under insulation is a perennial challenge. A keyword search on will yield hours’ worth of subject matter for study. Protective and anodic coatings and innovative insulating materials (e.g., wicking characteristics and newer materials with corrosion inhibitors) all hold promise. Systematic consideration via risk analysis also shows promise in prioritizing where to focus our attention.  

Both of these challenges have been around for ages. I believe that progressing the battle against these challenges in 2021 will require investments in both better strategic logic (i.e., how we attack these challenges), as well as improvements in NDE technology. We certainly cannot sit on past laurels to best them, but we can build on what we have learned so far. 

As for Inspectioneering, we will do our part to empower and progress our community by continuing our mission to educate, inspire, connect, and advance the field of mechanical integrity. We believe these are key to achieving excellence in every endeavor! 2020 is quickly vanishing in our rear-view mirror.

Stay well,

Greg Alvarado, Chief Editor

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