An imaginative approach to polymer surface coating has produced a sustainable way to remove mercury from water, while providing a wide range of protection, including preventing metal corrosion and solvent damage to plastic pipes. PVC plastic.
The smart coating, made from low-cost chemicals from petroleum refining and other sources, can also prevent acid and water damage to concrete surfaces and be repaired in situ with a simple heating process, says Max Mann, project manager at Flinders University.
“Easily made from elemental sulfur and dicyclopentadiene (DCPD is a by-product of petroleum refining), this new coating is multi-functional, giving us plenty of leeway to use it in many useful ways and to more sustainable industrial products and components,” says Dr. Mann, a doctoral candidate at Flinders University, lead author of the cover story for this month’s issue of Polymer chemistry.
“This exciting new area of research extends basic chemistry to several practical applications.”
“The coating manufacturing method is safer than methods previously used for related coatings. The team developed a lower temperature process that prevented runaway reactions,” adds co-author Dr Bowen Zhang. , researcher at the University of Liverpool.
In addition to its protective powers against corrosion, solvent damage, and acid and water damage, research has shown that the active coating can capture toxic metals such as mercury.
The coating is repairable and scratches and damage can be prepared by the simple application of heat, the Flinders-Liverpool team have discovered.
This process is possible thanks to the chemical structure of the coating which makes it possible to break and reform sulfur-sulfur bonds.
Flinders University chemistry professor Justin Chalker says the research is a significant advance in multifunctional coatings.
“The Smart Coating’s unique chemistry allows for the protection of substrates, the active removal of toxic mercury species from water and oil, and is repairable, ensuring its durability,” says Matthew Flinders, Chalker Professor , from the Flinders Institute of Nanoscale Science and Technology. University.
“The coating is solvent resistant and can also remove mercury from oil and water mixtures, which is important for sanitation in the oil and gas industry.”
Dr Mann conducted part of this study in the UK while on exchange at the laboratory of Dr Tom Hasell at the University of Liverpool as part of an ongoing collaboration between the Chalker Lab and the Hasell Lab in Liverpool.
The project was funded by the Australian Research Council (DP200100090).
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