Prof A S Khanna notices lack awareness about paint systems in India

Prof A S Khanna notices lack of awareness about paint systems in India

6:09 AM, 21st June 2012
Prof A S Khanna notices lack of awareness about paint systems in India
Professor Anand S Khanna, Corrosion Science and Engg, IIT Mumbai, gives the technology advancement in corrosion protection through paint & coatings.

In an email interview with Shivani Mody, Principle Correspondent, World Of Chemicals News, highlighting the technology advancement, Professor Anand S Khanna, (Corrosion Science and Engg), IIT Mumbai, gives his views for the paint & coatings industry related to corrosion protection. Khanna also gives insights regarding entrepreneurial opportunity in the coatings segment.

What are the upcoming technologies in paint & coatings towards protecting metal and other surfaces from corrosion?

Protection by paint coatings depends upon the type of resin and a good blend of pigments and additives. Many existing resins are sufficient for corrosion protection but quest is on to synthesise new resins which have better bonding to substrate, low permeability to moisture and other pollutants and strong resistance to UV light. However, enhancement of corrosion resistance can also be achieved by adding certain pigments and additives which improve specific properties of coatings such as corrosion resistance, hardness, weather ability.

Mostly corrosion protection coatings/high built coatings are solvent based/solvent less but now there is use of water based coatings. How do you rate them for the chemical industry – specifically in the chemical and pharma industry?

Water based coatings are really the new age coatings. Development of these coatings has the biggest challenge of allowing resins (which are water insoluble) to be dissolved in water and allow paint formulation with pigments and additives. For this, there are two technologies, either use salts of many resins or use sol-gel route to allow resins to mix. Latter technique is more practical and allows possibility of creating many variations in coating formulations.

One additional advantage of such coatings is that they are inorganic-organic hybrids, which means, that such coatings, while retaining organic properties also have additional advantage of having some inorganic properties. This makes water borne coatings, made through sol-gel route having better corrosion resistance, mechanical and UV resistance properties. Since such coatings are free of toxics, they can be used for many pharma applications, such as clean rooms, containers for medicines etc.

Materials used for surface coatings have been evolving. Kindly give the latest advancement in this segment and a sense of future trends.

There are two kinds of advancements, one is  – high performance coatings for industrial applications, such as offshore, underwater, sewage storage and treatment, exhaust chimneys, desulfurisation plants etc. In these cases, a single coating formulation does not work. Here a combination of coatings, such as highly cross-linked novolac coatings, impregnated with glassflakes, incorporation of glass-woven net, followed by a clear coat of epoxy is required. These coatings are usually thick, ranging from 1 mm to 3 mm.

On the other hand another class of coatings which are usually thin ( ranging from 10-50 microns) which possess excellent surface properties such as hydro-phobicity, anti-scratch, anti- graffiti, no effect of UV light etc. These coatings though consists of basic resins with lots of additives and pigments which take care of these individual properties are useful for automobiles, consumer durables, OEMs. Another advancement of coating, being discussed is fire-resistance, flame –retardant and intumacent coatings. With latest regulations on fire protection, many public buildings, structures need be protected by such coatings. 

Some of your research papers are regarding surface modification using Laser technology. Briefly mention the technology advancement in this area.

Laser surface modification is a wonder technique! Basic aim of the laser based technique is use of laser as a heat source because of its three important properties such as high intensity, directionality and spatial resolution. This makes laser as a versatile technique to create excellent surface modification, coatings and claddings. It is also being used as a good surface cleaning tool for paint coatings.

We have used laser to create excellent corrosion and wear resistant coatings by modification of the surface composition. Using this technique you can convert a very reactive material such as steel to a highly corrosion resistant material by changing its surface composition by the addition of Chromium and nickel, thus saving huge cost. We converted an ordinary stainless steel AISI Type 304 into a highly sophisticated surface alloy by addition of Ni, Cr and Mo. Such an alloy is 25 times more costly than 304 SS and is free from any deleterious phase formation during heating which is one of the serious problems in the commercially available alloy.

We have also made near net component using laser cladding technique, which is called laser forming. Using this technique one can make any complicated shaped item by just making its CAD file followed by feeding this information to a CNC machine which moves the sample in X-Y-Z direction for a suitable sweep of laser along with desired powder material. 

Compare the paint & coatings requirement of India and global regions such as US, Europe.

Though, Indian paint market is worth Rs 25,000 crore ($4.5 billion), it is much smaller than European market and USA. Per capita consumption of paint in India is just 2-3 per cent compared to more than 20 per cent in many developed countries. One of the reasons for this is lack of awareness about paint systems and secondly the backwardness in living standards. And almost no concept of rehabilitating buildings and structures. People hardly know advantages of painting their house and buildings. They consider it a waste as it adds to decoration. Major efforts by paint companies to promote building paintings by cost effective paint systems, regulations by government on the necessity of painting houses and buildings is required.

Broadly mention your current research activities.

We, at IIT Bombay are working on various aspects of paint coatings and surface engineering. Currently, I have about 11 PhD students who are working on different aspects of surface modification. One group, is working on waterborne paint coatings, where we have formulated various paint systems based upon,  epoxy, polyurethane, polyester and alkyds. These coatings have excellent corrosion resistance and mechanical properties. We further modified these coatings by adding nano additives and fluro based compounds to achieve hydrophobic coatings. We are manufacturing several nano-particles in our lab such as nano ZnO, TiO2, SiO2.The other group is working on self cleaning coatings, conductive coatings.

I also have a group which works on high temperature modification of materials. We are working on surface modification by laser and thermal spray coatings. We have developed hard coatings using HVOF technique as well using laser cladding. 

Is your department focussed on working for corrosion protection by coatings alone or even technologies such as chemical treatment and electrodes. What is the opportunity?           

We have several faculty members working on these projects. Chemical treatment is one kind of surface modifications, where part of the surface changes to a surface compound which protects it from further corrosion. We do not develop new electrodes but we work for several industries who get their electrodes tested by us. But we can work on such projects if industry is interested.

One of your earlier research papers (1998-99), mentioned an opportunity for epoxy-based coatings, polyurethanes (PUs) and also modified liquid polysulphide based coatings for high UV resistance. Give updates.

It was a general paper covering various types of coatings. Epoxy, polyurethane coatings share more than 80 per cent of total coatings used for corrosion protection. Epoxy coatings have the best corrosion resistance, while PU coatings, especially aliphatic PU coatings have strong UV resistance. However, today we have coatings such as polysilaxone, PVDF type coatings whose UV resistance is much superior than PU coatings. We are also working at IIT Bombay on enhancing the UV resistance of epoxies by addition of various nano particles.

In your view, what are some of the opportunities for chemical industry entrepreneurs with your concept?

One area where industry can work is development of special functional high performance coatings which has a great market in India. Today many high performance coatings are either imported or supplied by MNCs such as Akzonobel, Jotun, PPG etc.  Underwater coatings, coatings for splash zone, intumescent coatings etc.

What is your advice for students keen to work in the area of corrosion protection chemistry?

There are various areas which need to be tackled at the earliest. Oil and gas is one industry which requires new knowledge in corrosion protection, monitoring  and maintenance. Topics such as corrosion modelling, corrosion management, plant integrity etc need to be given attention. There is no such institute in India, where such knowledge is given. We are going to start the Surface Engineering Centre at IIT Indore where all aspects of surface engineering such as corrosion, tribology,  paint coatings, cathodic protection, surface exploration using sophisticated techniques would be dealt with.

(C) WOC News

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