EU Funds €5.5 Million Corrosion Protection Platform

VIPCOAT is designed to support the development of customized corrosion protection technologies that are not only faster and more economical, but also sustainable and environmentally friendly. These technologies can potentially support a variety of industries, such as the aviation industry. Photo courtesy of Chris Leipelt via Unsplash.

Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon (“Hereon”) (Geesthacht, Germany) is coordinating a €5.5 million project to create a platform designed to speed up the development and production of corrosion protection technologies while also making them more sustainable and affordable. Known as Virtual Open Innovation Platform for Active Protective Coating Guided by Modelling and Optimization (VIPCOAT), the platform will receive funding from the European Union (EU) over the next four years.

Along with Hereon, a total of twelve partners have collaborated on the VIPCOAT project. These partners come from the following seven countries: Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. Hereon’s newly founded Institute for Surface Science, under the direction of Prof. Mikhail Zheludkevich, is taking a central role on the project, which was initiated on May 1.

“Our aim is to create an open innovation platform that can be used by the research, industrial, political and public sectors alike,” says Dr. Natalia Konchakova, VIPCOAT project coordinator and scientist at Hereon’s Institute of Surface Science.

The VIPCOAT platform will serve as a database for experimental, industry-relevant modeling data, as well as for scientific infrastructure and simulation based-learning, machine learning, and physics-based modeling, all of which combine to optimize industry-relevant material development processes.

“VIPCOAT is designed to support industry in making the development of customized corrosion protection technologies not only faster and more economical, but mainly to also to make them more sustainable and environmentally friendly,” says Konchakova. “Finding the best recipe for the corrosion protection system isn’t easy. That’s why we would like support the industrial sector in the best possible way by providing models and the innovation platform.”

With the help of the materials modeling and simulations made possible through the VIPCOAT platform, researchers can seek answers to such questions as what a coating look like on the nano-level and what environmentally friendly additives can make surface protection systems more corrosion resistant. Learning more about such issues can, for example, aid the aerospace and automobile industries in finding alternatives to inhibiting compounds that are no longer in line with EU health and safety regulations.

“For the aerospace industry, digital transformation represents an important element and opportunity to overcome the current economic crisis and emerge even stronger. VIPCOAT provides valuable contribution to digital material design and prediction of aging resistance,” says Theodor Hack, expert on corrosion and corrosion protection at Airbus, Central Research and Technology.

“Subsequently, the platform will also be applicable to other industrial sectors, such as the automotive and maritime sectors, energy production infrastructures and to medical technology and civil engineering,” adds Dr. Peter Klein, a scientist at Fraunhofer ITWM, another German partner in the project.

Hereon and Fraunhofer ITWM will contribute their expertise in the areas of protective coatings with corrosion inhibitors and anti-corrosion pigments, respectively, and create models for material development and optimization. The two companies will focus on sustainable infrastructures for offshore wind energy turbines and green marine energy technologies, which would help support the aims of the European Green Deal.

Source: Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon,