Irradiated Polymer Nano-Coatings for Metal Protection (RadMeNano)
Katarina Marušić, dr.sc.
Radiation crosslinking refers to the process where high energy radiation, gamma-rays or fast electrons are used to induce a chemical reaction that results in formation of a 3D network. It is homogeneous, fast and avoids the use of toxic chemicals and is therefore considered environmentally friendly. Crosslinking hardens the coatings, reduces penetration of external molecules, improves mechanical strength and chemical resistance, as well as other functional properties making such coatings more resistant and significantly extending their lifetimes.
A convenient way to obtain a compact, flawless coating with nano-order thickness is by forming thin self-assembled molecular layers (SAMs). SAMs form spontaneously by mere exposure of a metal to a solution containing organic molecules with self-assembling properties. Fatty acids (FA) are carboxylic acids with long aliphatic chains that form SAMs and biodegrade mainly into low toxic products, which makes them environmentally friendly. The use of such coatings would be non-toxic and completely safe for the person applying the coating, as well as the person handling the coated object. However, FA SAMs biodegrade relatively easy, it is thus necessary to improve their stability. The aim of the proposed project is to obtain a polymer nano coating (PNC) on the surface of metals by radiation crosslinking of FA SAMs.
Within the proposed project a very simple procedure will be developed for obtaining PNCs on copper surface that can also be applied for the protection of other metal surfaces. The developed coatings would be a replacement for the traditional toxic and short-termed protection used today. The implementation of the proposed project is in accordance with the policy of environment friendly procurement that has been in focus for the last decades, where large effort is being made to switch from the classical chemistry using toxic/cancerous chemicals and other pollutants to new, swift and environment friendly technologies.