Scalable Corrosion-Resistant Coatings for Thermal Applications

Siavash Khodakarami, Hanyang Zhao, Kazi Fazle Rabbi, Nenad Miljkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Corrosion of metallic substrates is a problem for a variety of applications. Corrosion can be mitigated with the use of an electrically insulating coating protecting the substrate. Thick millimetric coatings, such as paints, are generally more corrosion-resistant when compared to nanoscale coatings. However, for thermal systems, thick coatings are undesirable due to the resulting decrease in the overall heat transfer stemming from the added coating thermal resistance. Hence, the development of ultrathin (<10 μm) coatings is of great interest. Ultrathin inorganic silicon dioxide (SiO2) coatings applied by sol-gel chemistries or chemical vapor deposition, as well as organic coatings such as Parylene C, have great anticorrosion performance due to their high dielectric breakdown and low moisture permeability. However, their application to arbitrarily shaped metals is difficult or expensive. Here, we develop a sol-gel solution capable of facile and controllable dip coating on arbitrary metals, resulting in a very smooth (<5 nm roughness), thin (∼3 μm), and conformal coating of dense SiO2. To benchmark our material, we compared the corrosion performance with in-house synthesized superhydrophobic aluminum and copper samples, Parylene C-coated substrates, and smooth hydrophobic surfaces functionalized with a hydrophobic self-assembled monolayer. For comparison with state-of-the-art commercial coatings, copper substrates were coated with an organo-ceramic SiO2 layer created by an elevated temperature and atmospheric pressure metal organic chemical vapor deposition process. To characterize corrosion performance, we electrochemically investigated the corrosion resistance of all samples through potentiodynamic polarization studies and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. To benchmark the coating durability and to demonstrate scalability, we tested internally coated copper tubes in a custom-built corrosion flow loop to simulate realistic working conditions with shear and particulate saltwater flow. The sol-gel and Parylene C coatings demonstrated a 95% decrease in corrosion rate during electrochemical tests. Copper tube weight loss was reduced by 75% for the sol-gel SiO2-coated tubes when seawater was used as the corrosive fluid in the test loop. This work not only demonstrates scalable coating methodologies for applying ultrathin anticorrosion coatings but also develops mechanistic understanding of corrosion mechanisms on a variety of functional surfaces and substrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4519-4534
Number of pages16
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 27 2021


  • Cvd
  • Dip coating
  • Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
  • Heat exchanger
  • Parylenec
  • Potentiodynamic polarization
  • Sol-gel
  • Superhydrophobic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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