The anticorrosion ability of ultrathin coatings with bio-inspired organic polymers is demonstrated. We prepared a series of catechol-containing poly(alkyl methacrylate)s by free radical polymerization. These copolymers were spin-coated on various corrosion susceptible metal/alloy substrates of magnesium, aluminum, copper and iron without any harsh pretreatment. Several key factors like molecular structure, composition ratio and processing conditions were wisely tailored to afford a transparent, firm and sub-micron polymer coating on those substrates. Corrosion resistance of the polymer-coated substrates was thoroughly investigated by immersion tests in salt-water and acidic solutions, polarization tests, and visual inspection. Formation of an anomalous dense layer of ca. 5 nm thickness adjacent to the metal surface and a remarkable effect of thermal treatment were clearly observed by neutron reflectivity measurements, leading to a highly protective ability against foreign molecules e.g. water or corrosive ions. A key molecular design for anticorrosive polymer coating was revealed to be a combination of strong and versatile binding ability of catechol units and defect free polymer layers formed on the metal substrates in the presence of hydrophobic alkyl chains.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)