Note: The following post is a guest submission from Arun S. Wagh*, a retired scientist from Argonne National labs who now serves as an active consultant for both Argonne and EonCoat. Wagh has a PhD in physics and his expertise includes radioactive, hazardous, and mineral waste management and structural ceramics. See selected publications.
Once in a while, historical revelations outsmart present day scientists. The construction of pyramids is still a puzzle to the present day engineers and archeologists. How did ancient Egyptians take the huge boulders to the top of the pyramids?
A non-corroding iron pillar in Delhi, India is still a partial mystery to materials scientists. How did a passivation layer develop on the pillar so that it did not corrode over 1600 years? Why are its inscriptions clearly readable instead of the pillar crumbling into a pile of rust? Scientists are hard at work to figure that out. At EonCoat, LLC. we are working equally hard researching the reproduction of materials that were considered to be a mystery until a decade ago.
Recently, two scientists, Balasubramanyam and Ashok Kumar [1,2] from India studied the passivation layer on the Delhi iron pillar and showed that ancient Indian metallurgists produced the passivation layer by adding phosphorous in wrought iron. It is possible the corrosion-resistant layer was an accident: possibly the impurity of slag and the presence of phosphate just did it. The findings, however, were revealing to EonCoat scientists, who are world experts on phosphate-based solid products synthesized at room temperatures. Our scientists have embarked upon a program to reproduce, or at least simulate, the synthesis of the passivation layer discovered 1600 years ago. The result is EonCoat ceramics, corrosion protection coatings that out-perform any of today’s commercial corrosion protection coatings. Will they last for 1600 years? That’s left for our descendants to determine for sure, but EonCoat testing, as well as Argonne National Laboratory test funded by the Department of Energy, lead us to believe the coating should potentially last for hundreds of years.
Use of phosphoric acid combined with tannic acid is not something new in the corrosion protection industry. But these so-called “rust converters” are more like primers – much more finicky and temporary than the technology used by EonCoat ceramics.
Following the teachings of the Indian metallurgists of the fourth century, if we use slag, the protection layer will not be as pretty. So, we do not use slag, but simulate the layer with white powders simulating the chemistry of slag. EonCoat corrosion protection coat can be used anywhere, with any colors, to protect steel structures with the appearance of architectural paints. You can not only use it to protect your steel from corrosion; it also serves as a fire barrier, so metals don’t prematurely soften during a catastrophic event like the 9/11 attacks.
1R. Balasubramanyam, Iron pillar at Delhi, Nuevas Investigaciones, June 10, 2006.
2R. Balasubramanyam and A. V. RameshKumar, Characterization of Delhi iron pillar rust by X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and Mossbauer spectroscopy, R. Corrosion Science 42 2085-2101 (2000).
*Current address: Environmental SciencesDivision, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL 60439, Phone: 630 649 4014, e-mail: email@example.com