Inhibitors-Chelated Sol-gel Coatings for Metal Finishing

I. Project Overview

The research on Sol-gels, which are coatings for metals, is very promising. Sol-gels are created by using a chelating agent and a metal in a water based solution with a wetting reagent to smooth the surface. A chelating agent such as silicon/Ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDT A) is used to form a cage around a metal to inhibit corrosion. The sol-gel is then applied to aluminum and cold-roll steel panels and the panels are then tested for various qualities and compared to other industrial coatings. So far, the sol-gel coatings are showing a good resistance to corrosion compared to other industrial coatings and will hopefully be a new way to coat metals.

II. Project Description

Many commercial coatings containing corrosion inhibitors are harmful to the environment and humans. As a result, there is a need to participate in green chemistry and find coatings for metals that are safer for humans and the environment. This need has led to research in sol-gels. Sol-gels are glass matrices that encapsulate a metal and are also very porous and transparent. The metals that are chelated in the sol-gels are done so by using EDTA. EDTA has an ability to capture a metal ion inside its large structure and form a cage around that metal. This cage creates a very stable molecule due to all of the binding sites of EDTA. Once the EDTA chelates with the metal ion, the coating is applied to metal plates such as aluminum or cold-roll steel. The application is done by using a dipping chamber and then curing the plate in an oven. These coatings are then tested using electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) to test for resistivity, which is how well it inhibits corrosion. Some of the other tests performed are a hardness test using special pencils that tell us how durable the coating is, adhesion test to show how well the coating will stay on the metal, and a salt-water test to see how fast the coating will rust. If all of the data looks better than that of industrial coatings, then the sol-gel coating is a more optimal coating for metals. There will be a poster session in San Diego for green chemistry where we will present our research.

This research into sol-gels will enhance academic growth greatly. The research shows the importance of finding ways to improve the environment we live in. Also it helps the student apply knowledge learned from previous classes toward a real life challenges. It promotes problem solving and working in teams. This research also allows the student to get some experience in doing research before going on to work in the industry or to graduate school plus to let the student see if this is something they would want to make into a career.

III. Proposed Budget

We will be going to San Diego from April 1, 2001 through April 5, 2001 for a poster on green chemistry. Airfare will be about $400 per person for round trip from Chicago to San Diego, hotel will be about $100 per night per person, and food expenses will be about $50 per day per person. Overall, it will be $500 for hotel, $125 for food expenses and $400 for airfare for a total of $1025.