The synthesised microcapsules are used to form self-healing anti-corrosion coatings
Protective coatings are used to prevent corrosion of metal and alloy structures such as offshore platforms, bridges and underground pipelines. However, this surface layer is at high risk of damage during transportation, installation and service. Damages typically occur at the micron level, making it harder to detect.
Researchers have demonstrated the ability for coatings to self-heal by adding reactive microcapsules. Microcapsules are synthesised to contain reactive core materials with self-healing functionality upon damage. Coatings that have been modified with the microcapsules exhibited excellent corrosion protection performance under laboratory and outdoor environments.
This video shows how the coating protects against corrosion and rust
The synthesised microcapsules are tuned to resist water or solvent, making them suitable for coatings and paints of underwater structures. This technology could be applied to waterborne or solventborne paint systems, especially for underwater and underground structures that require heavy duty corrosion protection.
A prototype of the technology has been developed by Asst Prof Yang Jinglei from Nanyang Technological University. Non-disclosure agreements have been signed with companies in the paint manufacturing, commodity manufacturing and corrosion control sectors. The research team is now performing field testing and exploring scaling up of the product. This research is supported by NTUitive Pte Ltd and funded under NRF’s Proof-of-Concept grant scheme.