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Wednesday, 26 February 2020

New anticorrosion concepts: sexy, but not practicable

Friday, 15 June 2012 | Posted by: Sonja Schulte, European Coatings Journal

New materials and new technologies for anticorrosive coatings promising the moon are coming and going. Some concepts create hypes – remember the Polyaniline? A recent conference on new concepts for anticorrosive coatings offered a suite of new ideas, but paint producers think that most of the presented concepts are not ready for the market. Read here why they come to this conclusion.

A few days ago I attended a conference on new concepts for anticorrosive coatings offering talks on different novel approaches such as self-healing and nano containers for active components and so on. However one of the most interesting talks was given by a paintmanufacturer asking "Do new anticorrosion concepts have a chance?”.

Are new concepts really new?

In that talk it was outlined that most of the "new” concepts are not really new. Just think about zinc dust – known for years and yes it is nano! Apropos zinc dust, during the conference it became clear, that everybody know, that zinc dust in anticorrosion coatings prevents corrosion, but nobody really knows why. More fundamental research would be necessary to find out more about the mechanisms. However, paint producer not really are interested in knowing more about the fundaments. They are interested in a high-performing coating and when zinc dust works fine in their coatings they are happy, because their customers are happy, too.

Everybody wants to make money

By the way, in that presentation of the paintmanufacturer it was also nicely shown, which factors are driving the different players in the supply chain.

  1. Owner of a structure: wants to protect his structure very effective and durable for little money
  2. Painter: wants to coat the structure with as few as possible layers in an effective way
  3. Paint producer:  wants to offer a  good performance for a reasonable price

At the end of the day, everybody wants to create a good business. But this also is one of the reasons why new concepts are not entering the market. Sexy concepts such as the self-healing approach are fine when tested in the lab. But then as a paint manufacturer you have to convince your costumer that this concept is working much better that the conventional well know coating. Additionally, you have to convince this costumer also to pay more. Hard business!

No test provides reliable results

Testing also is a keyword. All attendees agreed, that there is no test available demonstrating the durability and performance of anticorrosive coatings reliably. Still natural weathering is the most reliable test method. However, nobody can afford to wait years until he can launch a new anticorrosion coating.

In my opinion still a lot of work is necessary in order to turn new concepts into marketable products. This is challenging, but one day we will have easy to apply self-healing coatings which are high performing, durable and of course sustainable.

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Sonja Schulte
European Coatings Journal
Sonja Schulte
Editor-in-Chief, Science & Technology
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