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Corrosion protection on-demand in vehicles

Novel coatings developed with EU support enable the release of healing agents in response to changes in the environment. Longer service lives and increased safety are among the expected benefits for transport vehicles.

Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies

Metallic components are widely used in the transportation sector. They are subject to harsh environmental conditions that can minimise service life and safety, not to mention aesthetic appeal. Coatings have been around for many years, providing protection against corrosion and wear. The playing field has now changed dramatically thanks to novel nanomaterials and coating technologies developed by the EU-funded project 'Multi-level protection of materials for vehicles by 'smart' nanocontainers' (MUST). Novel miniaturised containers (nanocontainers) were loaded with healing agents and incorporated into multi-layer coatings. Changes in the environment (pH, temperature, water, etc.) induced release of these agents, facilitating their transport throughout the coating. Some of MUST's top performers include pre-treatments and primers for corrosion inhibition in automobile and aircraft components. Active protection coatings with layered double hydroxide nanocontainers of corrosion inhibitor and silica nanocontainers for active corrosion protection are some examples. They also include corrosion-inhibiting structural adhesives for cars and maritime coatings. More information is available on the project website . MUST self-healing coatings are expected to meet or surpass current environmental regulations while keeping processing costs down regardless of the transport sector. They have received international recognition, resulting in 50 publications and 5 patent applications, and enabled the creation of a spin-off company. Longer service lifetimes and less degradation will have important impact on the competitiveness of the transport sector and the safety of passengers.

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