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Graphene coating stops corrosion 100x better

MONASH (AUS) / RICE (US) — Extremely thin graphene films can make copper almost 100 times more resistant to corrosion, research shows.

In a paper published in the September issue of Carbon, researchers from Monash University and Rice University say their findings could mean paradigm changes in the development of anti-corrosion coatings.

Graphene is a microscopically thin layer of carbon atoms. It is already in use in such things as smartphone screens, and is attracting research attention for its possibilities as a means of increasing metal’s resistance to corrosion.

“We have obtained one of the best improvements that have been reported so far,” says study co-author Mainak Majumder. “At this point we are almost 100 times better than untreated copper. Other people are maybe five or six times better, so it’s a pretty big jump.”

Parama Banerjee, who performed most of the experiments for this study, says graphene had excellent mechanical properties and great strength.

The polymer coatings that are often used on metals can be scratched, compromising their protective ability, but the invisible layer of graphene—although it changes neither the feel nor the appearance of the metal—is much harder to damage.

“I call it a magic material,” Banerjee says.

The researchers applied the graphene to copper at temperatures between 800 and 900 degrees, using a technique known as chemical vapour deposition, and tested it in saline water.

“In nations like Australia, where we are surrounded by ocean, it is particularly significant that such an atomically thin coating can provide protection in that environment,” notes Banerjee.

Initial experiments were confined to copper, but according to Banerjee research was already under way on using the same technique with other metals.

This would open up uses for a huge range of applications, from ocean-going vessels to electronics: anywhere that metal is used and at risk of corrosion. Such a dramatic extension of metal’s useful life could mean tremendous cost savings for many industries.

The process is still in the laboratory-testing stage, but Majumder says the group was not only looking at different metals, but also investigating ways of applying the coating at lower temperatures, which would simplify production and enhance market potential.

Source: Monash University

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4 Comments

  1. Thomas F. Siragusa

    I fabricate waste and potable water treatment plants.This is all the steel above and below the water level.
    The coatings most specified is either a 3 coat hi-build appoxy over an Sp-10 or Sp-5 blast or hot dipped
    galvanized coating to an A.S.T.M. A-123 spec, Would this process be suitable for this type of equipment?

  2. André DESESTRET

    What are the electrochemical properties of graphene? Does there exist any risk of electrochemical (so-called galvanic) coupling between graphene and metals or metallic alloys?
    The question may be asked in view of the very high risks of corrosion when metals and alloys are coupled electrically to carbon and carbon containing phases such are carbides which are very cathodic to metals and metallic alloys, taking into account the ususally very high kinetics of cathodic reactions on carbon and cabon base componnents like carbides. Thank you for your comment
    André Desestret

  3. Hamish Chilcott

    Andre, there would be no risk as grapheme is an incredibly stable compound and wont react.
    Hamish

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