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The common sea mussel will protect us against rust

Published Sep 17, 2010

The costs for corrosion each year amount to approx. SEK 90 billion in Sweden, according to Korrosionsinstitutet. That figure is now expected to fall. A research team at KTH has observed an important characteristic that common sea mussels have which will help to protect for example steel from corrosion.

KTH researchers Jinshan Pan, Per Claesson, Andra Dédinaité, Fan Zhang and Olga Krivosheeva have discovered an environmentally friendly alternative to the environmentally hazardous chromate process which helps to prevent the corrosion of metals. If the method becomes a success, it will provide a new type of effective rust protection on a market with many expensive and ecologically harmful rust protection products.

The alternative rust protection method comes from the common sea mussel. The mussel has the ability to attach itself in principle to all types of materials in water, even Teflon and wax, through the production of so-called byssus threads, a type of glue.

The research team has discovered another important property in the proteins in the mussel’s glue – the mussel produces a film which protects material from becoming corroded. The proteins in the glue have the ability to displace water in order to more securely affix itself to a surface.

The solution has been patented, and will be commercialised by the company Biopolymer Products.

For more information, contact Jinshan Pan on 08 - 790 67 39 or

Peter Larsson