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Home  > Raw materials & technologies  > Applications  > Protective & Marine coatings  > Self-healing smart beads repair corrosion

Friday, 20 September 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Applications, Protective & Marine coatings

Self-healing smart beads repair corrosion

Friday, 9 May 2014

Scientists have developed a tiny bead that not only detects corrosion but delivers a payload to help heal the microscopic cracks that rust creates.

The self-healing beads detect corrosion forming on metal before it is visible to the naked eye

Source: Martina Berg - Fotolia.com

The self-healing beads detect corrosion forming on metal before it is visible to the naked eye

Source: Martina Berg - Fotolia.com

The "Battelle Smart Corrosion Detector” beads look like a fine, whitish powder that can be mixed with coatings used to protect pipelines and other critical infrastructure subject to corrosion. The self-healing smart beads detect and reveal corrosion forming on metal before it is visible to the naked eye. Once activated, the 20 to 50 micron beads release a proprietary chemical that fills the cracks.

Beads fluoresce in the presence of corrosion

They can be seen with a special light. This not only provides an early indication that corrosion is happening (even it isn’t showing through the paint), but also creates an opportunity to mitigate the underlying problem while the beads repair and stem the onset of the corrosion. Scientists from Battelle Memorial Institutebegan working on this application of nanotechnology nearly a decade ago. They created a smart coating derived from functional nanomaterial that could be applied between a primer and topcoat. Now, they’ve developed a proof-of-concept technology that can be valuable for many industries, especially oil & gas.

Achieving early detection and remediation

For example, a technician could run a routine scan of the outer shell of a pipeline with a hand-held device and detect the presence of corrosion not yet visible otherwise. Then, while the nanomaterial was actively fighting the corrosion, the underlying problem could be addressed at that section, resulting in significant savings in time and money, as well as improved reliability, through early detection and remediation.

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