Chapter 6

Finding Leaks and Obtaining a Side Channel

Lead me not into temptation; I can find the way myself.

—Rita Mae Brown

Have you ever heard a conversation through a wall? Did you wonder if the wall was too thin to shield your ears from noise, or did you blame yourself for having superior hearing?

Imagine that you have been asked to design a space to process materials that must be separate, such as in a winery or brewery. Various liquids will be situated in close proximity to each other yet will be isolated and protected. How will you determine the thickness needed for containment? Where will you find information on the risk of liquids to the container materials and methods of joining them?

Threat analysis can answer these questions. Corrosion is a symptom of containment failure. It presents many interesting examples of threat analysis. A collection of reliable data on corrosion, for example, predicts the appropriate thickness of materials used for containment and the effects of joining methods. The higher the chance of corrosion, to put it simply, the thicker a wall must be to prevent leaks and breaches.

Corrosion from an outside threat is not the only factor. A reaction between different metals (galvanic corrosion) can occur from the very materials used to build the wall. For example, welds may be more appropriate than rivets and bolts of different material.

One classic example of this kind of research on containment and corrosion comes from Sir Humphry Davy, who proposed ...

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