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Chennai’s humidity puts passenger cars at safety risk reveals study by IIT Bombay and International Zinc Association


Chennai, 2018: IIT Bombay in partnership with International Zinc Association today unveiled a first-of-its kind survey report – Safety First – Risk of Rust- to highlight the impact of weather conditions on the safety of passenger car vehicles. Launched in the city, the study provides insights about safety hazards like deteriorating structural stability and strength caused by faster rusting of car bodies in coastal regions like Chennai due to unpredictable and humid weather conditions. It also further emphasized on the need for increased adoption of galvanized steel in automotive industry, especially in coastal areas, to increase the durability of cars.
With Indians spending nearly 12 hours more of their time behind wheels on an average every day, there is a higher risk of life. While safety standards for automotive industry in India is defined by Airbags, seatbelts and ABS, the study further states the importance of protecting steel against corrosion as the forth safety pillar. With nearly 50% of the vehicle structure made of steel the study further emphasizes on the need for supplying only galvanized steel to the automobileindustry for the safety of people against rust and corrosion.
Spearheaded by Prof AnandKhanna, Former Professor, Department of Metallurgy Engineering, IIT – Bombay with a team of two PhD students, the study was conducted in the month of March 2018. Based on a series of parameters, this closed car survey studied nearly 500 cars across brands to understand the extent of corrosion imperfection categories like blisters, surface rust and perforation on the external panels/body parts. A key highlight of the study is that the surveyed cars were chosen based on the average Indian family usage (typically below Rs. 10 Lakhs) across hatchback and sedan segments.
Commenting on the study, Prof. AnandKhanna, Former Professor, Department of Metallurgy Engineering, IIT – Bombay, said “The study is a an eye opener for car owners in the city as it clearly indicates the causes for imperfection that arise owing to climatic conditions. Currently there is almost zero awareness about how these imperfections over the years grow into life threatening hazards for car owners and we are confident that this study will create an impact by creating the desired awareness among public. Chennai being an auto manufacturing hub we are confident that the companies will consider the insights from the study and align their processes in order to increase safety aspect for consumer.”
Adding to this, Dr. Dough Rourke, Consultant – International Zinc Association, Canada, said “During the course of this study one of the underlying insight that emerged is the need for increased galvanization of automotive parts, which could drastically help improve the safety standards in India. The study further brings into light the striking difference in galvanization of body parts in cars manufactured for Indian consumers, which stands at mere 15-30% when the same stands at 70% for cars shipped outside of India. We are confident that this will urge policy makers to relook at the need for country’s own Corrosion Prevention Act.”
One of the key findings that emerged from the study states that number of vehicles exhibiting certain imperfection, increased with the age of the vehicle. Of the surveyed cars manufactured between the timeframe of 2008-2016 most statistical significance for the corrosion of vehicles 5-10 years old. It is also quite evident that the number of blisters and surface rust were more predominant than perforation.
The survey also states that out of the four major parts inspected, rocker panel exhibited the highest damage in terms of number of imperfections, blistering and surface rust. This can be attributed to its closeness to the ground and henceforth effects of road debris, stagnant water and such.

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