Molecular origins of polymer coatings on metal surfaces

Involved People: Julian Pichler, Alper T. Celebi

Polymer coatings are a widely used approach to mitigate the detrimental and costly effects caused by corrosion. They are functioning as a protective layer on top of the material, impeding the direct contact between the surface and the environment. The required properties of such coatings range from excellent adhesion, good heat and chemical resistance to robust mechanical properties. Those properties are determining the quality of the coating and their origins are therefore crucial to understand.

In our group we research molecular origins of the interfacial adhesion mechanism of epoxy-based coatings applied on steel surfaces in dry, moist and salty environments using Molecular Dynamics simulations. Additionally, transport properties, for example the diffusion of water and ions through the coatings, are investigated. We are interested in the underlying relationship between the atomic structures and interactions of polymers and surfaces, as well as a fundamental understanding of the present bond types. This enables us to provide information on developing more efficient, long-lasting, thermally, mechanically and chemically stable coatings for industry.