Dr Richard Barker

Dr Richard Barker


Dr Richard Barker is an Associate Professor in Corrosion Science and Engineering within the Institute of Functional Surfaces at the School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds. He currently has over 10 years of experience working in the field of corrosion, graduating with a PhD from the University of Leeds in 2013.

Short Course in Oilfield Corrosion Science and Engineering
Dr Barker is currently the Director of a new two-day short course for industry that provides an overview of the most pertinent internal corrosion threats to pipelines within the Oil and Gas industry and how this can be controlled. For further details on when the course will next run please click here or contact Dr Barker for further details.


  • Director of Oilfield Corrosion Science and Engineering Short Course
  • Director of Admissions
  • Lecturer in Thermofluids

Research interests

Dr Barker's research interests lie in the areas of electrochemistry, corrosion science and corrosion engineering, particularly in the context of asset integrity in the oil and gas, carbon capture and geothermal sectors. His expertise can be divided into the following:

  • Numerical modelling and experimental studies for erosion and corrosion prediction
  • Design of unique, custom flow cells, systems and electrochemical techniques to observe and understand corrosion phenomena
  • Development of in situ methods for surface characterisation during corrosion
  • Corrosion measurements in extreme environments (strong acids, high temperature and high pressure)

Research Philosophy
In the Engineering sector, numerous challenges exist in relation to cost-effective operational performance and asset integrity management. Internal corrosion in pipelines is one of the key problems. 

Industry-driven collaborative research within my research institute (the Institute of Functional Surfaces) focuses on understanding the fundamental physics of material degradation mechanisms with a distinct focus of providing outputs which industry can utilise to ensure safer and more efficient operation of facilities. My focus is not only directed towards understanding and predicting the corrosion processes, but also on novel approaches for corrosion mitigation.

My research philosophy revolves around 5 key areas:

  1. Experimental studies – my research is largely experimental in nature, focusing on modelling or simulating oilfield processes/environments to understand material-electrolyte interactions
  2. Understanding processes at the material-electrolyte interface – identifying the characteristics of material surfaces both during and after degradation using state of the art analysis techniques
  3. Numerical methods – experimental observations are complemented with numerical models to help further understand mechanisms. Corrosion prediction models developed are also validated by experimental data.
  4. Research to generate industrial impact – my research is largely industry driven. Despite addressing fundamental research questions in some instances, the focus is always on generating impact with collaborators/partners.
  5. Custom methodologies, designs and in situ techniques – developing novel methodologies/apparatus/techniques to understand mechanisms more clearly. There is a particular emphasis here on in situ electrochemical and surface analysis methods.

Corrosion Facilities
Current corrosion testing facilities include:

CO2 corrosion testing facility: this includes bubbles cells, rotating cylinder electrodes, flow loops, submerged jet impingement rigs, as well as static and dynamic autoclaves which are instrumented for electrochemical measurement.

H2S corrosion testing facility: this comprises of both low pressure/low temperature and high pressure/high temperature systems. These setups are also integrated for in situ electrochemical measurement.

Flow-induced corrosion and erosion-corrosion facility: this includes rotating cylinder electrodes, dynamic autoclaves, small scale and large scale thin channel flow cells for high velocity/shear testing and submerged jet impingement rigs for multiphase flow experiments. In addition, cutom components and fittings (such as pipe bends and plugged tees) can be 3D printed and connected to the flow loop and integrated for in situ electrochemical/acoustic emission measurements.

Customised test cells: this includes equipment for under deposit corrosion and top of line corrosion, as well as once-through flow cells to look at inhibitor persistency. In addition, an under water abrasion rig for examining localised corrosion (scratch test).

High temperature/high pressure testing facility: consisting of static and dynamic autoclaves, integrated for electrochemical measurements. In addition, constant composition flow cells are available to study corrosion in matrix acidising environments.

In situ test cells: this includes visualisation rigs for the study of pit initiation, surface scaling and corrosion product growth, as well as synchrotron XRD, Raman and electrochemical flow cells for high temperature and pressure.


  • MEng, CEng, PhD

Professional memberships

  • Institute of Mechanical Engineers
  • Institute of Corrosion
  • National Association of Corrosion Engineers

Student education

Dr Barker's teaching presently focsuses on delivery of Thermofluids modules within the School of Mechanical Engineering.

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Functional Surfaces

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/929-corrosion-inhibitor-chemistry-and-dosage-optimisation-for-co2-containing-aqueous-environments">Corrosion inhibitor chemistry and dosage optimisation for CO2-containing aqueous environments</a></li> <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/983-metallurgical-and-chemical-inhibition-techniques-to-reduce-corrosion-in-high-acid-geothermal-wells">Metallurgical and chemical inhibition techniques to reduce corrosion in high-acid geothermal wells</a></li>