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Chromate-free Smart Release Corrosion Inhibitor Technology

Technology Overview

This technology presents a chromate-free, smart release 'on demand' corrosion inhibitor technology delivering superior performance and regulatory compliance benefits. Corrosion protection of metallic surfaces is fundamental across a wide range of sectors, including the construction of industrial, commercial and domestic buildings, aerospace and aircraft, and the automotive industry. However, the use of industry standard chromate-based substances for anti-corrosion applications has been constrained: chromate has been recognised as a human carcinogen possessing mutagenic and teratogenic properties plus, its bio-accumulative nature has further health and environmental implications. The European REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) legislation has banned the use of hexavalent chromate-based substances across the EU since early 2019. Whilst more environmentally acceptable including chromate-free corrosion inhibitor coatings are available, they are typically based on sparingly soluble phosphate salts and are invariably less effective than chromate-based products. The company has made a significant breakthrough in the development of an intelligent chromate-free corrosion inhibitor which is more effective and environmentally acceptable than existing inhibitors.

Technology Features & Specifications

In addition to being chromate-free and hence safer and compliant with the latest industry regulations, the unique technology from this company also provides advanced corrosion control through its smart ‘on demand' technology, where anti-corrosion inhibitors are released from the coating as and when it is needed, for example, when following surface damage such as a cut edge or scribe. This is enabled through an intelligent micro/nano reservoir system containing inhibiting pigments that are able to sense and react to environmental changes and other corrosion-related activities. When a change is detected, aggressive corrosive ions are sequestered to the reservoir to prevent the onset of corrosion while highly effective inhibitors are released to further protect the coating. The new system thus allows coatings to protect end products for a longer time and more effectively. Under laboratory conditions, the technology has outperformed hexavalent chromate and has also been tested to be 10 times more effective than other chromate-free alternatives.

Compatible with existing systems, the coating may also be applied to a metal substrate as part of a coating system, such as a primer, where other materials or additives may be provided in the coating or additional coating layers may be applied to the substrate.

Potential Applications

The smart release anti-corrosion technology may be used in the formulation of new coating applications in the aerospace and aircraft, marine, construction, automotive and transport sectors or be a substitute to current environmentally unacceptable surface coatings. It may also be potentially applied to other sectors or industries where environmentally preferred corrosion inhibitors are required.

The technology has been found to outperform current market leading alternatives on mild steel, alloyed steel and others, with the majority of feedback showing best compatibility within solventborne systems or non-ionic waterborne systems.

Customer Benefits

Outperforming both hexavalent chromate and current chromate-free alternatives in laboratory testings and independent testing by industry partners respectively, the smart release technology offers:

  • A safer, more economical and effective alternative
  • Reduced costs for protecting against, inspecting for, and repairing corrosion
  • A longer lifetime cycle of the end product
  • Compliance with the long-term corrosion regulation requirements of the industry
  • Compatibility with existing coatings systems – i.e. as a sacrificial coating such as zinc or zinc alloy on galvanised steel, providing improved corrosion resistance to the underlying steel

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