Corrosion of carbon steel is an issue of primary importance in a number of industries, including marine, oil and gas, and the energy and power sectors as it can compromise the integrity of the asset and lead to structural failures. The use of specialised coatings is the most common way to prevent steel corrosion. In recent years, the use of nano-additives in coatings is one of the most promising routes to develop high performance anti-corrosion systems.
This PhD programme aims to obtain a better understanding of the enhancements in corrosion protection of steel by the use of nanoparticles in coating formulations. Specifically, the influence of the nanoparticles on the corrosion protection properties of the modified coating and their interactions with the coating formulation are being studied. Silica and ceria nanoparticles are incorporated into a polysiloxane-based matrix in this study, with the focus on understanding how and why these nanoparticles can improve the corrosion protection provided by the coating. Coating durability and corrosion protection are investigated using different methods, including electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), adhesion, abrasion and scratch tests, surface imaging and accelerated testing in a simulated marine environment in a salt spray chamber.
Many challenges remain before the full potential of nanotechnology in corrosion protection can be fully realised. It is anticipated that providing new know-how about the influence of nano-additives on the properties and performance of the coatings will contribute to the industrial adoption of these enhanced coatings in the future.