Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Self-Healing Steel

December 21st, 2021 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

While advancements in metal coatings don’t typically make headlines, perhaps they should. Metals like steel serve as critical support within construction, automotive, aerospace, and industrial applications, among others.
But working with steel has its drawbacks, and one of the biggest challenges in maintaining this metal is corrosion.
According to the National Association of Corrosion Engineers — or NACE — the global cost of corrosion is around $2.5 trillion dollars, a figure that doesn’t even include safety or environmental impacts.
Fortunately, scientists from Rice University say they might have a solution. According to a new research study published in Advanced Materials, Rice scientists may have produced a new alloy that has the potential to be highly resistant to corrosion.
A coating developed using a lightweight sulfur-selenium alloy has proven effective so far in preventing corrosion after being applied to steel that’s then submerged in seawater for a month.
The scientists say the formula combines several different corrosion-inhibiting methods. In one test, where the coating was applied to steel that was exposed to sulfate-reducing bacteria such as plankton, the steel coating offered an “inhibition efficiency” of 99.99%.
But that’s not all. Not only does the coating prevent corrosion, but it also has some interesting self healing properties as well. When the coated steel was perforated, it was able to repair itself when heat was applied and, in some cases, all on its own.
According to New Atlas, applications abound, the most obvious of which are architectural ones, where steel is at risk of corrosion due to moisture-rich environments. But besides that, the coating could be applied to metals used in bendable electronics due to its insulating properties and ability to target inherent corrosion risks.
Read the entire research here.

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