The Material Engineering and Technology group’s George Ritter has been working to develop anti-corrosion coatings based on the natural adhesives produced by mussels and barnacles.
Marine organisms have been fouling ships and underwater structures for millennia. Most produce rapidly cross linking, tenacious tendrils which tethers them to surfaces. These adhesives are highly adherent and obviously resistant to marine environments. However, the basic cross linking chemistry is also adaptable to corrosion protection of ferrous metals. A natural reaction takes place which converts the underlying surface to ferritic oxide. Unlike the common red rust, this phase is highly resistant to water penetration and further rusting.
Ritter has been applying this basic chemistry to developing high performance anti-corrosion coatings by introducing that chemistry into a resinous carrier. Initial results have shown good anti-corrosion properties that also exhibit some self-healing properties if the coating is damaged. Because the key materials are naturally occurring, these systems are non-toxic and readily adapted to protection of marine structures.
For more information, contact Dr. George Ritter at 614.688.5199