Addition of alloying agents to improve the performance of Zn/Al metallic coated Steel

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: College of Engineering


Tata Steel Europe (TSE) is the second largest producer of pre-painted steel in Europe. To maintain this position, the organisation is constantly trying to improve the current product range, either through the development of best in class coatings for the construction industry, improved offerings in service or through added functionality. The majority of the premium coated products produced by Tata Steel Colors combine Zn/Al metallic coated steel substrate with advanced Cr(VI) free organic coatings, which allows Tata to offer the warranties of up to 40 years.
The aim of this project is to add different alloying additives to the Zn/Al coating to further improve corrosion performance or maintain performance at lower coating thickness.

Project aims:
The project aims of the research will be to :
Introduce new alloying additives eg Mg, to Zn/Al coatings and assess their impact on corrosion resistance using analytical techniques such as SVET and time lapse imagery.
Determine how additions to the Zn/Al metallic coating would affect the paintability, corrosion performance and durability of organically coated products.
Understand the relationship between modified Zn/Al coating thickness with corrosion performance in comparison with conventional systems.

Planned Impact

The COATED2 CDT will support the aims of the EPSRC/TSB SPECIFIC IKC and the EPSRC CIM in Large Area Electronics at Swansea University through the provision of 40 research engineers (REs). The SPECIFIC IKC has ambitious targets to create buildings that are power-stations through the use of functional coatings. The targets include:

- A £1billion UK manufacturing sector creating business opportunities with export potential
- Creation of around 7,000 manufacturing/construction sector jobs
- Generation of up to 1/3 of the UK's renewable energy target
- Reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 6 million tons

The CIM in Large Area Electronics has key aims that are synergistic with the IKC, in particular to address the challenges of low-cost manufacturing of multi-functional LAE systems and to support the scale-up of technologies for functional materials. Both projects have shared technologies and processes and RE support through COATED2 will have significant impact on achieving their aims through:
- The supply of highly trained and enthusiastic REs for a growing new industry base
- Encouraging radical thinking for REs in terms of optimisation and up-scaling of laboratory concepts to an industrial scale
- Achieving greater engagement with new and existing industry and academic partners.

The COATED2 RE cohorts will provide impact in a number of key areas -

- Research projects defined by industry with a real scientific or engineering need at their core ensuring relevant research is embedded within the industrial partner/University.
- Engagement of multiple partners through the CDT/IKC's open innovation arrangements permits sharing of knowledge between otherwise discrete industries
- Each RE will produce 3 publications and attend 1 international conference disseminating knowledge into the academic community.
- RE research will be evidenced in taught modules ensuring that quality of training is enhanced year on year.
- Development of new technologies will create a lead for the UK in up-scaling of complex functional coated products.
- Training modules are accessible to Industrial partners providing knowledge beyond the scope of the core CDT.

- Future industry leaders will be created from the CDT. 96% of previous REs at Swansea have moved onto industry related careers.
- Innovative new products and processes will catalyse new industries and technology advances in established manufacturers generating wealth.
- 8 Patents have been filed by the IKC since 2011 and REs are critical for the on-going development of IP exploitation.
- SPECIFIC Innovations has been established to develop business models and spin-out companies for the exploitation of IP created through the CDT and IKC attracting inward investment.
- The facilities within SPECIFIC and the CIM coupled with extensive industrial partners bridges the gap between research and wealth creation ensuring that outputs from the CDT are maximised.

- REs will engage in active outreach to promote their research and attract more people into STEM activities.
- There have been over 1000 separate visits to the IKC/CDT raising awareness of the product potential to a range of end users.
- Research activity at the CDT supporting the IKC and the CIM will contribute towards alleviating fuel poverty, reducing CO2 output and providing energy security
- Water purification, bio-inspired coatings and durability research benefits developed and developing nations.

- The CDT will produce 40 highly skilled individuals trained to support industry and academia
- Graduates of the scheme moving into employment will grow networks between academia and industrial partners creating new opportunities for the CDT.
- Shared seminars with other institutions will enable REs to gain insights into complementary research and raise awareness of available facilities and resources


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