New self-healing plastic corrosion protector

Inspenet, March 31, 2023

A new plastic developed by ETH Zurich is capable of effectively protecting materials used in all kinds of structures against corrosion.

Poly(phenylene-methylene), or PPN for its acronym in English, fulfills several functions. Mixed like paint and heated, this anti-corrosion material can be sprayed onto a surface and solidifies. The polymer indicates the existence of holes and cracks in the protective layer by not being fluorescent.

Furthermore, it repairs any damage on its own without further outside intervention. And at the end of a product’s useful life, the polymer can be completely removed and recycled with minimal material loss. The recycled polymer can be applied to another surface without losing its special properties and functions.

Laboratory tests revealed that a PPM-based coating protects metals, especially aluminum, well against corrosion. Although this protective coating can be applied in layers up to ten times thinner than conventional protective agents -such as those based on epoxy resins-, it is durable.

Also, the polymer itself seals any damage that occurs to the coating. “Self-healing mechanisms are in high demand, but they are very hard to come by, and good solutions are still rare,” says Walter Caseri, author of the research, in a statement. Achieving self-healing often requires chemical additives, which migrate into the polymer over time and are released into the environment. This is not the case with PPM: “This material does not need additives,” says Caseri, a researcher at the Multifunctional Materials Laboratory.

PPM is also more sustainable than previous anti-corrosion materials, because it can be completely removed and recycled at the end of the product’s life. Although some polymeric material is lost in the process, the recycling rate is very high, 95%. In their tests, the researchers were able to reuse the material five times.

Together, all countries invest about 3.5% of the world’s gross domestic product annually in corrosion protection, which is equivalent to about 4,000 million dollars.

Source : EP /

Photo : ETH Zurich

Don’t miss the Inspenet News at:

Related news

Share this news on your social networks