Protective coatings are commonly applied to prevent contact with moisture and oxygen, but many compounds present in these are now known environmental and public health hazards. A number of dangerous compounds used in anti-corrosion coatings are being phased out due to stricter regulations, yet suitable replacements are lacking. In response to the urgent need for eco-friendly corrosion protection, scientists initiated the STEELCOAT project. They developed green anti-corrosion coatings for steel protection based on environmentally benign nanoparticles and conductive polymers. The coatings include high-solids solvent-based ones with low concentrations of dangerous volatile organic compounds as well as water-based coatings. The impact of STEELCOAT products will be broad-sweeping as steel has historically been and will continue to be an important construction material due to its strength and durability. Areas affected by corroded steel include transportation infrastructure, transport vehicles, utilities distribution networks and energy infrastructure. Financial losses in these sectors due to steel corrosion are large and, given environmental concerns due to current coatings, likely to increase without suitable replacements. The novel eco-friendly steel coatings will enhance the competitiveness of the steel sector and help protect infrastructure and public health.
Steel, corrosion, coatings, nanoparticles, polymers