Initiation of local coating degradation

Organic coatings degrade due to exposure to sunlight, erosion by wind and water as well as by wear. The initiation of coating degradation is most often inhomogeneous and results in local changes in chemistry and nanomechanical properties. The former may be investigated by Nano-IR and the latter by atomic force microscopy (AFM). In a recent study we employed AFM to investigate initiation of coating degradation in air, in water and after exposure to a corrosive solution. It was observed that both nanomechanical properties of the surface layer, and local wear resistance were affected before any degradation of the corrosive protective performance was observed. In this investigation, the following quantities were determined with nm-resolution:

  • Surface elastic modulus
  • Surface stiffness
  • Friction force and wear scar
  • Stick-slip properties during sliding

Together these data allows a concise evaluation of the initial state of coating degradation and how it is affected by the environment.

An organic coating exposed to local wear (middle p
An organic coating exposed to local wear (middle part of the image). The load was sequentially increased from bottom to top of the worn area. The right image is a topography map that shows the wear scar. The right image is the corresponding surface stiffness image. The scale bar is 500 nm.