Iron and steel alloys suffer the problem of corrosion and rust formation, particularly when used in outdoor applications such as bridges, wind turbines, rail cars, and marine where exposure to harsh environments can be particularly damaging. To prevent such corrosion, coatings containing zinc and aluminum are often employed.
Commercially available coatings for such applications typically utilize epoxy and/or urethane polymers as binders. While such organic polymers are certainly useful in these applications, they all suffer the problem of UV degradation. They also exhibit less-than-optimum adhesion to inorganic fillers such as zinc and aluminum, thereby limiting the amount of these active metal corrosion inhibitors that can be added to the coating without degrading the coating’s physical properties. Complicating these issues can also be adhesion problems to the underlying metal surface.
A new class of polymers have now been successfully employed in a variety of coatings for ferrous metals and have been shown to provide excellent corrosion resistance to underlying metal surfaces. However, these coatings have not been commercialized for use in extremely corrosive outdoor environments.
These polymers are impervious to UV degradation and have demonstrated tenacious adhesion to all types of inorganic materials, such as metals, glass, and minerals. When coated on a surface, they also form dirt and water-shedding coatings that not only add to their anti-corrosion properties but provide a long-term aesthetically pleasing appearance.
A large opportunity thus exists in the commercialization of these polymers in such applications as rail car and rebar coatings. Building on many years of experience in the synthesis and application of this new class of polymer, coatings will be developed that not only address rail car and rebar applications but extend beyond to other large surface area outdoor applications such as bridges, pipelines, and marine.