A doctoral researcher from Tata Steel, led by Professor Geraint William from Swansea University, discovered a safer, smarter way of tackling the problem of rust and corrosion.
Together with a team from Swansea University’s College of Engineering they developed a material and manufacturing process for a smart release coating.
The new method involves a stored reservoir of a corrosion inhibitor which works by channelling aggressive electrolyte anions into the coating, triggering the release of the inhibitor ‘on demand’, thus preventing corrosion.
Corrosion inhibitors are commonly used in a wide range of sectors, including coated steel products used to construct industrial, commercial and other buildings; aerospace and aircraft; and the car industry.
The discovery provided a boost for the steel industry, helping it to retain its focus on high-quality steel meeting the very highest standards of performance and safety. The breakthrough was of particular importance because the industry needed an alternative to the corrosion inhibitor most widely used, hexavalent chromate, which was banned in the EU in 2019.
Hexigone, a Swansea University spin-out company set up by Dr Dodds, is now is developing the technology commercially.