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Mechanical engineering students visit Qatar Shell research center

Published Apr 23, 2019

Twenty mechanical engineering senior students from Texas A&M University at Qatar recently visited the Qatar Shell Research Technology Center (QSRTC) at Qatar Science and Technology Park to learn about materials selection and corrosion monitoring.

The visit was part of a class trip in the Materials in Design course taught by assistant professor Dr. Bilal Mansoor and lab coordinator Osama Desouky.

Students took part in informative presentations and demonstrations on materials selection and corrosion monitoring during the day to day operation of a gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant. It helped students understand the industrial significance and applicability of the materials selection process.

QSRTC staff also presented several challenges faced on site and how materials selection can play an essential role in the industry. The presentations focused on corrosion aspects in the oil and gas industry and how materials selection can avoid it. 

Students toured the facility and learned how Pearl GTL works, the world’s largest GTL plant located in Ras Laffan. The students realized the scale of industrial applications and the consequences of material failures in the industry. 

Mansoor said, “In materials and design related courses, industry visits are uniquely helpful in motivating our students to learn outside of a usual classroom setting. The visit helped our graduating mechanical engineering seniors understand how important effective corrosion management is for safe operation of a large plant. Our students now truly appreciate the multidisciplinary approach to corrosion management at Qatar Shell and how it involves materials science, data science and mechanical engineering among other fields. The visit helped them bridge the gap between fundamentals they learn in class and modern engineering practice.”

Students also visited Qatar Shell’s laboratory where the catalyst and samples from Pearl GTL are studied. At the lab, they saw a downscaled reactor, which simulates the process at Ras Laffan. Students saw the common link between academic experiments and industrial experiments. The primary purpose of industrial experiments is to support the plant with information on why some components fail and how this can be avoided and improved in the future. 

The visit helped students better understand the complexities of large-scale manufacturing operations and the working environment for mechanical engineers and in a collaborative environment working with engineers from other disciplines.