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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S004963/1
Title: Sustainable Coatings by Rational Design (SusCoRD)
Principal Investigator: Zhou, Professor X
Other Investigators:
Stevens, Dr NPC Kell, Professor DB Ryan, Professor AJ
Pereira da Fonte, Dr CA Siperstein, Professor FR Jones, Professor R
Fairclough, Professor JPA Burnett, Dr T Curioni, Dr M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr Y Liu Dr S Morsch
Project Partners:
Airbus Operations Limited AKZO Nobel Crown Packaging Plc
Tata Steel Limited
Department: Materials
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2018 Ends: 31 October 2024 Value (£): 2,660,814
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Complex fluids & soft solids Eng. Dynamics & Tribology
Manufacturing Machine & Plant
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Chemicals
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 Jul 2018 Prosperity Partnerships Interview Panel Announced
14 Jun 2018 Prosperity Partnerships Prioritisation Panel 2 - June 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project will, for the first time, connect a detailed scientific understanding of the mechanisms of coatings failure with state-of-the-art machine learning to deliver a design framework for the optimization of protective coatings and nanocomposite materials. It will be game changing for an industry (paint) which is often taken for granted, despite its ubiquity - the screen you are looking at, the color of your car, the protection for the aircraft you fly in, the longevity of bridges, wind turbine masts and other infrastructure. Indeed, almost all materials are made suitable for purpose or given function by the application of coatings. In the UK there are over 10,000 employees involved in manufacturing coatings and the coatings industry directly contributes over £11bn to the economy, supporting UK manufacturing and construction sectors worth around £150bn. The annual costs of corrosion damage in the UK lies in the range of 2-3% of Gross National Product (~£60 bn, 2016) and leads to premature loss of amenity in infrastructure and equipment; hence to environmental damage through accelerated extraction and resource use. Protective organic coatings (i.e. paints) are highly cost effective in limiting early materials damage due to corrosion however these are complex products where the underlying mechanistic links between the formulation and performance are lacking. The increasing need to use environmentally sustainable materials, reduce time-to-market and increase performance requires detailed mechanistic understanding across functions and length scales from the molecular to the macroscopic.

With brands such as Dulux, Hammerite and International, AkzoNobel are one of the world's largest manufacturers of protective and decorative coatings and have extensive manufacturing and research operations in the UK. AkzoNobel invests heavily in research, both in its global research hub for performance coatings in the NE of England as well as in UK universities. In particular the company (and its predecessor bodies) has collaborated in polymer science with the University of Sheffield, and in corrosion protection with The University of Manchester, for over 30 years.

This prosperity partnership between EPSRC and AkzoNobel/ International Paint with the Universities of Manchester and Sheffield, will enable for the 1st time, a fundamental mechanistic understanding of how the performance of protective organic coatings arises - essentially it will tell us "how paint works". The scope of the program is well beyond the capacity of an individual company, institution or funder and, hence, the collaborative partnership is essential in order to tackle this problem head-on. Success will allow industry to side-step the current trial-and-error approaches and to incorporate digital design (i.e. Industry 4.0) into the development of paints and similar nanocomposite materials resulting in the confidence to utilize sustainable materials, comply with legislative and customer drivers and maintain and extend performance in more extreme environments. Overall the project will deliver understanding and tools that underpin the rapid-to-market development of environmentally sustainable protective organic coatings and nanocomposites by rational design.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk