Multifunctional Coating System for Corrosion Prevention and Structural Health Monitoring

Period of Performance: 05/05/2006 - 11/01/2006


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator


Traditional coatings provide barrier protection to structures and inhibit corrosion with water soluble compounds. These current systems are not engineered to advance the Navy s efforts to improve reliability and establish condition-based maintenance of ship structures. To address this need, Luna Innovations proposes to incorporate innovative nanocomposite inhibitors and two-dimensional crystal arrays into a multifunctional coating that can be monitored to determine the remaining coating service life and the stress state of the coated structure. During the Phase I program, Luna will demonstrate the feasibility of using nanoengineered materials in primers and topcoats to achieve improved corrosion performance and both structural and coating health monitoring. The nanocomposite smart inhibitors activate only in the presence of a corrosive environment, and through an exchange mechanism, consume aggressive ions when they release protective corrosion inhibiting species. The inhibiting mechanism alters the structure of the inhibitor pigment particles and this change can be detected using nondestructive evaluation. Luna will also produce a strain sensing nanomaterial additive that can be incorporated into a topcoat. Changes in structural loads can be determined and mapped by using a simple light inspection method. These coating system improvements are possible using nanomaterials that are low cost and have good manufacturability.BENEFITS: A high performance coating that provides for health monitoring would have broad application both in transportation and stationary structures. Transport applications would include critical load bearing elements or tanks for land, sea and ground vehicles. Similarly, industrial application of this coating would include load bearing elements, containers, and conduits that are at risk from localized or internal corrosion, fatigue or other types of damage.