What Is Graphene and How Can It Protect Metal Roofs?
According to data from the Financial Times, corrosion in its many forms is estimated to cost the global economy $3 trillion a year due to damage to steel buildings and infrastructure. Corrosion and rust can be a nightmare for any building owner, the costs and disturbance of treatment or replacement can be greater than first anticipated. That is why corrosion treatments and coatings are so important in the fight against rust.
Corrosion, in its simplest terms, is the oxidation of a metal substrate (iron or steel) with oxygen, from the air or from water, to form chemically stable metal salts – rust. Coatings help protect the surface of the metal from the air and therefore can slow down rust.
However, coatings are not impenetrable- water particles can eventually reach the metal over time.
How Does Graphene Protect Metal from Rust?
Graphene has many amazing properties. It is 200x stronger than steel and is the thinnest material known to man. This is due to its atomic structure being made of a single layer of carbon atoms linked together in a hexagonal structure.
This also means it has an extremely high surface area when found in multiple layers. Just 1g of graphene has a total surface area of over 350m²!
These properties work together to contribute to graphene being an incredible material for protection against corrosion. When combined with a hybrid coating, such as Advantage, it prevents the moisture molecules from getting to the metal surface and reacting to cause rust.
Graphene effectively provides a barrier between the metal and oxygen due to its particulate size and surface area.
Finally, graphene strengthens the surface bond between the coating and the metal substrate. This system works together to help prevent any water particles from reaching the metal.
The thinness of graphene makes it have an extremely high surface area to volume ratio. Other incredible properties of graphene include it being 200x stronger than steel, completely transparent, stretchy and elastic, and it's extremely light.
How Can Graphene Protect Metal Roofs Against Corrosion and Rust?
Graphene has the potential to revolutionise entire industries and its applications are virtually limitless from electronics and computing to construction. For our industry, roof coatings can benefit hugely from the integration of graphene.
In conventional coatings, moisture and contaminants can eventually pass through the coating or paint to the substrate. This will lead to corrosion and rust over time. However, adding graphene to hybrid roof coatings creates a superior protective barrier and is virtually impenetrable.
The science behind this technology is that the layers of graphene create a much larger surface area that multiplies the distance that the water and dirt molecules have to travel to pass through the coating by hundreds of times.
Due to the atomic structure, you can get hundreds of layers of graphene in the same thickness as a single lamina flake found in a standard roof coating. For example, if we wanted to create the equivalent level of resistance of graphene in a lamina flake coating, we would end up with a coating that was nearly 20 times thicker.
Even better, graphene also significantly increases the adhesion and flexibility of the coating meaning it has an unrivalled life expectancy.
"The addition of graphene to combat corrosion is a massive step forward within the roofing industry" -Adrian Potts, CEO of Applied Graphene Materials
Graphene Roof Coatings Can Withstand Nearly 10,000 Hours of Extreme Weathering Tests
Corrosion tests simulate very harsh environments that represent years of weathering. In the experiments, graphene roof coatings are tested extensively to test its resistance. Currently, graphene-enhanced coatings withstand nearly 10,000 hours of harsh corrosion, and still, at that point, there is practically no breakdown of the graphene coating. In comparison to the 1,500 hours that coastal coatings and 5,000 hours offshore coatings are tested up to.
Graphene is an incredible material and has exponential benefits, especially within the coatings industry. It provides unparalleled protection from rust and corrosion to all metal surfaces whilst still being easy and convenient to apply. Graphene has enabled the roofing coatings industry to take an enormous step forward for innovation and technology.
Alltimes coatings have developed Advantage Graphene as the solution to every industrial metal roof due to its advanced properties from the addition of graphene into its hybrid technology. Alltimes Advantage is the most advanced and protective roof coating on the market.