Multiscale Smart Coatings with Sustained Anticorrosive Action
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This NSF award funds U.S. researchers participating in a project competitively selected by the G8 Research Councils Initiative "Structural Bamboo Products." This is a pilot collaboration among the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Canadian National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), the German Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR),and the United Kingdom Research Councils (RCUK), supporting collaborative research projects selected on a competitive basis that are comprised of researchers from at least three of the partner countries. This research award provides funding for the development of materials and techniques to produce non-toxic, biocompatible, composite materials that release environmentally-friendly and application-specific anticorrosion, antimicrobial, and antifouling agents upon demand and in a sustained fashion. Three types of non-toxic multiscale micro/nano containers will be investigated so that application-specific solutions with multiple levels of protection can be offered. The first level of protection will be provided by the incorporation of nanotraps (nanoparticles that absorb aggressive/corrosive species). The second level will trigger the release of polymerizable precursors entrapped in nanocapsules. The highest level of protection will be based on encapsulation of chemical and biological corrosion inhibitors acting on demand to suppress degradation in open defects. The research program includes the synergistic cooperation between experiments and computational modeling, making it possible to fine-tune and optimize the multi-scale container systems to specific design and performance targets. The composed containers will be incorporated into materials already existing to protect civil and industrial infrastructure (e.g., paints, varnishes, waxes or other coatings). If successful, the results of this research will lead to improvements in the operating lifetime of industrial materials. The primary goal of this work is to develop generalized methods and design criteria for encapsulation of anticorrosion, antimicrobial, or self-healing agents and methods to apply them in coatings that enable a release upon demand in response to a defined trigger. These design criteria may include solvents or other environmental conditions maximizing efficiency of encapsulation, minimizing the production time, minimizing the energy required for the process, minimizing the response time of the stimulated release, or maximizing the stability of the finalized coatings. Determining the process parameters to achieve these objectives will help to reduce the cost and improve the performance of the coatings. The work will also contribute to the basic understanding of encapsulation and responsive materials. Ultimately, sustained protection of materials from chemical and biological degradation (corrosion) and mechanical destruction using these materials will have tremendous economic and social benefits.