Forensic analysis of weathered organic coatings to understand mechanisms of degradation

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: School 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. As Tata's premium coated products can offer maintenance free warranties of up to 40 years it is essential that the performance under different climatic conditions are fully understood to support product guarantees, being new colour ranges to new markets and new climates and new product development for the next generation of painted steel coatings. To achieve this, the modes of degradation and failure must be well understood within these different environments. Once these have been identified, techniques for assessing the coatings' performance in a non-destructive manner will be developed, enabling new products to be established.

The Research Engineer will:

- Support product development with data and advice as to coatings performance, colour performance and associated product guarantee durations.

- Investigate materials that have been degraded through external or accelerated testing. Many of these samples have been exposed for a minimum of 5 years.

- Working collaboratively with TATA Steel Colors' key paint systems, and using techniques such as Ultra-Violet, attenuated Total Reflection, Fourier Transform Infra-Red and Raman spectroscopy, determine the mechanism and rates of organic coating degradation and erosion.

- Gain an understanding of how different climatic conditions and different colours affect the coating characteristics using through-depth profile and surface analysis.

- Develop non-destructive techniques to assess performance of weathered samples, such as colour, gloss, blister formation and creep measurements.

- Provide data and recommendations to TATA Steel Colors, on use of product ranges and colour ranges in different climates and markets. For newly developed products, provide supporting data and recommendations of predicted performance.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S02252X/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2028
2273728 Studentship EP/S02252X/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Katie Sibella Hebborn