Its co-developers are scientists from two institutes of the Łukasiewicz Research Network - the Institute of Microelectronics and Photonics (IMiF) and the Institute of Precision Mechanics (IMP) - as well as the Institute of Optoelectronics of the Military University of Technology (WAT). The graphene oxide varnish has already been patented.

 

According to Lukasiewicz - IMiF, the exceptional anti-corrosion properties of the varnish have been confirmed in tests. During the experiment, one part of the samples were coated with a water-based varnish with graphene and the other with a varnish without graphene.

 

The tests were carried out in an inert salt spray environment, under corrosive conditions - where it quickly becomes apparent which coating performs its anti-corrosion function well.

 

Samples coated with varnish without graphene oxide corroded approximately 20 per cent of the surface area. Exposure to the corrosive environment resulted in numerous corrosion pits developing under the protective layer. The continuity of the paintwork was interrupted.

 

On the other hand, after treatment with the patented varnish, the corrosion covered only up to half a per cent of the surface of the test sample, i.e., up to 40 times less.

 

The area of application for the innovative graphene varnish is very wide - from construction, automotive, aerospace technology, oil and gas industry and the area of renewable energy.

 

"First and foremost, the varnish provides a base coat (primer) on metal surfaces, particularly those made of steel. It can be used, for example, to protect the steel structures of buildings, but also on the internal surfaces of ships or in electric motors," emphasises Małgorzata Djas, PhD, one of the developers of the solution from Łukasiewicz - IMiF, quoted in the release.

 

G-Flake's water-based graphene flake varnish does not contain volatile organic solvents, so it is non-flammable and environmentally friendly.

 

The researchers assert that the use of the G-Flake graphene nanomaterial in the new coating systems reduces the use of environmentally harmful substances such as chromium. Due to the negative effects of chromium on human health and the environment, its use is currently limited.

 

As estimated in the press material, the annual value of the anti-corrosion coatings market worldwide is USD 12 billion. Functional coatings account for about 20 per cent of the paint market. In this context, the innovative G-Flake graphene flake paint (produced at the Polish institute) has a key and groundbreaking impact on the development of the industry, according to the institute's experts.

 

"The problem of corrosion has a huge economic and environmental impact on virtually all areas of the world's infrastructure - from construction to chemical processing, oil, aerospace, automotive, and even such a distant industry as biomedicine. The annual cost of the effects of corrosion worldwide is estimated at $2.5 trillion, which translates into 3-4 per cent of the GDP of industrialised countries," concluded the authors of the analysis from Lukasiewicz - IMiF.