Chitosan-based coatings for corrosion protection of copper-based alloys


In a recently published study scientists propose a promising more sustainable approach for cultural heritage applications.

The attractive physicochemical properties of chitosan make its derived materials promising candidates for the reliable and sustainable corrosion protection of metallic substrates. In a new work, chitosan-based coatings embedding different corrosion inhibitors, i.e. benzotriazole (BTA) and mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT), were investigated for the protection of copper-based alloys, with the aim to extend their application to the preservation of works of art exposed to indoor atmosphere.

Corrosion tests on bare and coated bronze substrates

The composition of the formulations was optimised paying particular attention to their potential application in the field of cultural heritage. To assess the efficacy of the coatings, tailored accelerated corrosion tests were carried out on bare and coated bronze substrates. Coated and uncoated alloy disks were characterised before and after corrosion treatments by optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Moreover, an image analysis protocol was defined to evaluate the extent of surface modifications after degradation treatments.

Protection of indoor bronze artefacts

The obtained results revealed that the chitosan-based coatings containing BTA and MBT fulfil the aesthetic criteria required in the field of cultural heritage and are able to inhibit the corrosion of bronze alloys. It is worth noting that a synergic effect between the chemical protection provided by the inhibitors and the physical one provided by the polymer matrix was observed. The findings demonstrate that the developed systems are suitable for a reliable and more sustainable protection of indoor bronze artefacts, thus representing a promising alternative to commercial products and particularly taking advantage from the use of non-harmful solvents for their application and removal.

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