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Sustainable Organic Coatings for Corrosion Protection

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SUSTICOAT (Sustainable Organic Coatings for Corrosion Protection)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2018-08-31

Organic coatings extend the lifetime of major metallic assets at a fraction of the cost or environmental impact of either accepting corrosion resulting in shorter asset lifetimes, requiring more frequent replacement, or using more corrosion resistant alloys which are more expensive and may also use less environmentally friendly elements. However, many of the current range of organic coatings are based on materials whose use is being restricted due to legislation and / or have a limited and often unpredictable service lifetime. The limited lifetime of organic coatings in environments from mild to extreme, necessitates more frequent recoating than optimal, often in challenging environments, such as oil rigs, tall buildings, aircraft etc., with unavoidable safety and environmental concerns.

Organic coatings provide both passive (barrier – polymer combined with high aspect ratio fillers) and active (corrosion inhibiting filler) protection to metal surface from corrosion. Corrosion occurs due to poor application shortly after application or after longer times due to exhaustion of the corrosion inhibiting filler or development of a membrane like pore structure within the coating due to physical or chemical changes in the polymer.

Organic coatings for metals for architectural, transportation, industrial and domestic uses represent a European market of over €10 billion2. The future competitiveness of European organic coatings for corrosion protection is based on product quality, product differentiation, cost, line versatility and environmental compliance.

SUSTICOAT will develop a research and training programme focused on state of the art characterisation, modelling and formulation of organic coatings for corrosion protection to maintain Europe’s competitiveness.
The specific scientific objectives in SUSTICOAT are to:
• Develop fundamental understanding using state of the art characterisation and modelling techniques of the formation and evolution of the pore network in commercial organic coatings, for a number of applications.
• Identify common physical phenomena in the formation, aging and properties of different coatings (solvent-based, water-based, and powder-based) to enhance the ability to predict their performance.
• Provide a link between coating characterisation, formulation and product performance applicable to a range of applications.

SUSTICOAT aims to make the connection between the scientific understanding and the production of commercial organic coatings, dealing with the complex issues faced when translating scientific concepts into industrial products.

SUSTICOAT’s research and training programmes cover TRL 4-7 (prototype demonstration in operational environment), provide a unique opportunity for training researchers in applied problems and advancing the knowledge and understanding of coatings for corrosion protection at high TRLs.
The lack of mechanistic understanding for corrosion protection provided by organic coatings has been a major challenge for the development of improved coatings, as highlighted in a recent report from The National Research Council of the National Academies [D.J Duquette & R.E. Schafrik et al on behalf of The National Research Council of the National Academies, Research opportunities in corrosion science and engineering, The National Academies Press, Washington, 2011].

A wide variety of organic coatings are used for different applications, but they all share common challenges: the characterisation of the final product, how the product evolves during use, and the development of formulations with optimal performance while replacing components for environmental (chromates, BPA, etc.) and sustainability (oil-derived polymers and additives) considerations. The individual projects for the ESRs have been identified from different applications, where challenges in characterisation, understanding fundamental mechanisms of corrosion inhibition and formulation of products are blocking development of more sustainable materials.

Individual ESRs benefit from having five ESRs working on characterisation, formulation and modelling of different coatings as it will enable the translation of knowledge, procedures and solutions found in one application area to be considered and applied in a different area. The work is organized in three technical workpackages:
- WP1 focuses on exploiting state of the art characterisation techniques to understand the distribution of solid particles and porous networks in coatings resulting from different coating preparations.
- WP2 focuses on the development and testing of formulations, to provide insight into the generation of optimal and thus more sustainable products.
- WP3 combines modelling tools to understand the structure of the coatings and to assess the sustainability of the developed formulations.

The training programme within SUSTICOAT is designed to provide the ESRs with state of the art scientific knowledge, innovation knowhow, and professional development skills.

The project website can be found at:
SUSTICOAT is designed as an academic and corporate research and training network for early-stage researchers to develop skills in organic coating systems, specifically the optimisation of organic coatings for corrosion protection. Research and development skills in the European priority areas of advanced materials and sustainability will guarantee the participating ESRs excellent short and longer term career opportunities. SUSTICOAT’s interdisciplinary approach combines scientific excellence on organic coatings with a firm foundation in industrial innovations from construction to transport, allowing the ESRs to develop skills relevant in both the academic and the industrial sectors.

SUSTICOAT focuses on research training and skills development with the ambition to increase the number of researchers in Europe in the field of sustainable organic coatings. Researchers (ESRs) are developing their skills primarily on coatings for corrosion protection, but these skills will be transferable to other coating application areas such as anti-fouling coatings, aesthetic coatings, etc.

ESRs are learning on the job, in a specialist research environment equipped with the latest technology. Attendance in and active contributions to training programmes, network events and conferences adds to their knowledge. In addition, collaborations developed by the researchers during the project will enable them to develop an international network which can be sustained beyond the duration of the project, leading to opportunities to develop new research projects.