Influence of Clay size on corrosion protection by Clay nanocomposite thin films

The influence of clay platelet size on the corrosion barrier performance of highly-aligned polymer clay nanocomposite (PCN) thin films was examined. Layer-by-layer (LbL) deposition of alternating branched polyethylenimine (PEI) and either laponite (LAP), montromorillonite (MMT) or vermiculite (VMT) clay platelets were assembled on mild steel plates to obtain 20 bilayer (BL) films and cross-linked using glutaraldehyde after deposition. The clay platelets were chosen based on their aspect ratio, approximately 30:1, 400:1, and 2000:1, respectively. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy of the coated steel plates during immersion showed corrosion rates and coating permeability followed LAP > MMT > VMT for up to 7 days of exposure in 0.6 M NaCl. The PEI/VMT films, ∼250 nm thick, slowed corrosion by a factor of >1000 compared to bare steel. The results support the premise that high aspect ratio clay platelets can improve the corrosion barrier efficacy of LbL PCN films by decreasing film permeability and provide exceptional protection to steel in saline environments compared to other thin multilayer coatings and pretreatments.

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M.A. Melia, S.J. Percival, S. Qin, E. Barrick, E. Spoerke, J. Grunlan, E.J. Schindelholz, Prog. Org. Coat. 2020, 140, 105489.
Published in December 2019