Robust concrete protection

A recently published paper describes a multifunctional superhydrophobic composite with mechanochemical stability for concrete protection.

Concrete is highly water permeable due to its intrinsic porous structure and hydrophilic composition characteristics, making the deterioration problem caused by environ mental moisture inevitable. Image source: djama - Fotolia (symbol image).

Endowing concrete with a commercial superhydrophobic coating with designed surface topography and chemical composition is an effective way to prevent the corrosion of the internal rebars. Although several methods have been adopted to combat the corrosion problem, developing an equipment-free, low-cost and scalable strategy for fabricating a robust superhydrophobic coating on the concrete surface is still a challenge. In a new work, a robust superhydrophobic epoxy fixed corundum-silica-polydimethylsiloxane (ECSP) composite was fabricated as the concrete modification coating through an “armour” protection methodology via a facile and low-cost dip-coating process.

Protective “armour” structure

The as-prepared ECSP composite consists of corundum microparticles (MPs) confined in the epoxy (EP) adhesive layer and silica nanoparticles (SiO2 NPs) modified with a low-surface-energy coating. The corundum MPs with high rigidness and hardness function as a robust, protective “armour” structure, while the polydimethylsiloxane-modified SiO2 NPs reside within the “armour” structure to provide superhydrophobicity. Benefitting from the armoured structure, the ECSP composite coated concrete exhibits an excellent robustness under various harsh conditions including mechanical abrasion, knife scratching, tape-peeling treatment, water jetting, UV irradiation, temperature treatment and chemical corrosion. Importantly, the ECSP composite coating successfully prevents the concrete (with a rebar in it) from the chemical and electrochemical corrosion.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 183, October 2023.

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