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Corrosion protection and nanomechanical properties of waterborne acrylate-based coating with and without nanocellulose on carbon steel

Time: Fri 2019-11-22 10.00

Location: M3, Brinellvägen 64, Lecture Hall M3, KTH campus, Stockholm, Sweden., Stockholm (English)

Subject area: Chemistry

Doctoral student: Yunjuan He , Yt- och korrosionsvetenskap

Opponent: Prof. Orlando Rojas,

Supervisor: Professor Per M. Claesson, Yt- och korrosionsvetenskap

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Corrosion protection is commonly achieved by applying a thin polymer coating on metal surfaces. In this doctoral thesis, a waterborne hydroxyacrylate-melamine copolymer coating was used for this purpose. The first step was to find the optimal curing conditions. To this end the effect of curing time at 180 °C on the conversion of the cross-linking reaction, surface topography, nanomechanical and nanowear properties were investigated using atomic force microscopy, AFM. The results demonstrated that optimal performance required 10 min curing at 180 °C. This resulted in 80% conversion of the cross-linking reaction, as well as good barrier performance with polarization resistance of the order of 109Ω·cm2during 35 days in 0.1 M NaCl solution as determined by Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS). It also resulted in minor surface roughness and high surface elastic modulus in the order of GPa. 

This waterborne coating and its nanocomposite containing 0.5 wt.% cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) were systematically studied, focusing on their corrosion protection performance and the effect of environment and localized wear on the properties of the top surface. The results show that both coatings have high polarization resistance, Rp. For the matrix coating the polarization resistance displays a slightly decreasing trend with time, as expected for a barrier coating. In contrast, the CNC nanocomposite coating exhibits an unusual and unexpected increase in polarization resistance with time. The difference in the time dependence of Rp can be attributed to the reinforcement effect of CNC, which form strong hydrogen bonding interactions with the matrix coating. Further, the appearance of a second time constant in the corresponding EIS spectra implies formation of a more protective second layer at the metal-coating interface. The presence of this compact layer also contributes to the corrosion protection offered by the CNC nanocomposite coating. In addition, both coatings show only limited water-uptake during long term exposure to 0.1 M NaCl. The water up-take is too small to measurably change the coating capacitance, as studied by EIS. However, AFM studies of surface nanomechanical properties show that for the CNC nanocomposite some water penetration occurs, which irreversibly renders the surface softer.

Inspired by the CNC nanocomposite coating and its favorable corrosion protective properties, 0.5 wt.% cellulose nanofibrils, CNF, nanocomposite coatings were also studied using the same methodologies. The results revealed that the CNF nanocomposite coating cannot provide efficient corrosion protection performance even over a period of 24 h. The measured polarization resistance decreases rapidly over time, and consistently water uptake is readily observed by analyzing coating capacitance using EIS technique. The substantial difference in corrosion protective properties of the CNC nanocomposite and the CNF nanocomposite are explained mainly from the perspective of microstructure, matrix-CNC or matrix-CNF interactions by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The results show the presence of defects on the surface and in the bulk and absence of strong hydrogen bonding interactions between matrix and CNF. These are two reasons for why the CNC nanocomposite performs well in terms of corrosion protection, whereas the CNF nanocomposite does not. 

In real applications good barrier coatings may also fail due to external forces such as erosion by wind and water, impact of solid particles or sliding motions against other objects, which may destroy the coating integrity. This motivated further studies of the matrix and the CNC nanocomposite, by focusing on their nanomechanical and nano-wear properties using local measurements by means of AFM. The effect of applied normal load, ranging from 50 – 400 nN, scanning speed, ranging from 1 – 20 µm/s, operating environment including air and water, as well as exposure to corrosive 0.1 M NaCl solution, were systematically studied and discussed.