Understanding the Corrosion Factors of Cast Iron Mains

Key Information

Welsh Water is proud to provide essential public services in the management of the water cycle to over three million people across most of Wales and some adjacent parts of England.  40% of Welsh Water’s mains (11,000km of the 27,500km) are cast iron.  Over time these cast iron mains corrode causing discolouration to our customers.  Corrosion rates are dependent on the chemistry of the water passing through these mains.  By understanding how water chemistry effects corrosion rates and the stabilisation of mains that already are corroded, Welsh Water will be able to reduce customer complaints about discoloured water.

Project Aims

The overall project aim is to understand how water chemistry can be adjusted to reduce corrosion rates and stabilise the corrosion already apparent in our mains.  To achieve this, the following objectives are set:

  1. Understand the effect of pH, hardness, alkalinity and chloride levels on corrosion rates in soft water.
  2. Understand if adjusting orthophosphate concentration can aid in preventing corrosion.
  3. Investigate potential additions to water treatment to ascertain if corrosion can be prevented or stabilised.
  4. Ascertain the cost benefit of suitable measures to prevent corrosion.
  5. Involvement in a pilot of successful treatment options.

Suitable Candidate

This project would be suitable for someone with a degree in chemistry, physics, or materials engineering.

Academic Supervisor

Prof G Williams

Sponsoring Company Welsh Water

Candidates should hold an Engineering or Physical Sciences degree with a minimum classification level of 2:1 or equivalent relevant experience. 

 Our funders require applicants to also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must be a UK or EU citizen (i.e. eligible for ‘home’ tuition fees at the University) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of your studies.
  • You must be resident in West Wales and the Valleys at the point of enrolment and throughout the duration of your studies.
  • You must not be financially able to participate without the award of grant funding.
  • We would normally expect the English Language requirements to be met by point of interview (April 2018). For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit – http://www.swansea.ac.uk/admissions/englishlanguagerequirements/

Further information regarding eligibility criteria can be found at: http://www.materials-academy.co.uk/eligibility

The Athena SWAN Charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committed to addressing unequal gender representation.


The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax free stipend of £20,000 p.a.

Closing Date 28 February 2018

Start Date October 2018

Apply Now

Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk