Steel is the most used metal in construction and the costs of protecting Europe’s structural steel installations and assets from corrosion is thought to be 3% of GDP (or about €375BN). However, there are two factors that will increasingly affect future protective coatings developments: VOC emissions and health/safety issues. Firstly there is a strong mandate to apply VOC emissions legislation to protective coatings (and in particular extend the Paint Products Directive to include them). Secondly REACH, together with increasing effects of chemicals on humans supported through medical literature, may prevent the use of some coating materials.
Our vision for BARRIER-PLUS is to develop one component waterborne barrier coatings that are competitive in performance to two component coatings. One component waterborne coatings have a number of advantages over two component coatings and solventborne systems: low VOC emissions; low fire risk; lower insurance issues; no exposure to isocyanates, epoxy resins or amines; no waste or poor film performance arising from pot life problems. Our approach is to build upon recent research in the organic/inorganic nanocomposites field to create enhanced film barrier properties.
Although this project is focused on the protection of steel, the technology developed will have application in the protection of other substrates, eg concrete, brickwork and stonework.
This project is funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-SME-2012-2) for the project BARRIERPLUS (Grant Agreement No: 304758). This is part of the EU’s support for Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and associations of SMEs.