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A Different Approach
corrosion on pipes

Fighting Corrosion with Science

Posted by Battelle Insider on Nov 21, 2016

Corrosion – such a commonplace and natural process, but one with such a costly impact.

U.S. businesses spend an estimated $276 billion (that’s right, billion with a “b”) annually on corrosion prevention, mitigation and repair. That is an incredible amount to spend to address this destruction of materials. Globally, this expense is in the trillions (with a “t”)!

Why This is Still a Problem

Coatings have long been used to provide a protective barrier to keep corrosion-causing moisture, chemicals and bacteria away from metal surfaces. But over time, those coatings develop flaws that allow water, bacteria and oxygen to penetrate. Once the corrosion process has started, it can continue to spread unobserved underneath the coating.

A Different Approach

What if there is a way – one that really works – to stop corrosion before it starts? Well, thanks to encapsulation, there is.

Encapsulation is the process of enclosing a chemical or material in a shell that keeps it separate from the outside environment. The shell can be engineered to open in response to a specific trigger, such as temperature, pressure or a specific chemical environment.

A new corrosion-specific capsule detects and reveals corrosion forming on metal before it is visible to the naked eye.

The Science Behind Corrosion Resistance

When corrosion is present, these self-healing capsules undergo a chemical reaction that causes them to fluoresce (or be visualized beneath paint), then break apart and release a healing agent. The healing agent immediately halts the corrosion damage and slows the corrosion process.

The timely discovery and remediation of corrosion can result in significant time and cost savings, as well as improved structural reliability. The capsules are designed to be easily mixed into paints and coatings and applied to just about any equipment or infrastructure.

Think about the huge economic impact these capsules – called the Battelle Smart Corrosion Detector® capsules – could make on businesses and industries across the country. We’re talking billions, with a “b.”

Learn more about the science behind the capsules by downloading our new whitepaper: The New Science of Corrosion Resistance.