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Nanotube Coating Gets $100K R&D Boost

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

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A new corrosion-resistant steel coating made with fullerene carbon nanotubes (CNTs) has drawn its third honor in less than a year—and, this time, a major grant to further development.

 Tesla NanoCoatings founder Todd Hawkins


Tesla NanoCoatings founder Todd Hawkins says Teslan will be “the toughest, most resilient and best corrosion resistant coatings ever developed.”

The Innovation Fund has awarded a $100,000 grant to Tesla NanoCoatings Ltd., of Massillon, OH, to develop and manufacture its line of corrosion control coatings.

The Innovation Fund was founded by Lorain County (Ohio) Community College Foundation and awards early-stage capital to technology-based companies in northeast Ohio.

Improving Traditional Coatings

Tesla NanoCoatings’ corrosion technology, called Teslan, is a two-coat system consisting of a primer and topcoat developed in collaboration with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL).

The two-part (resin and catalyst), solventborne primer contains fullerene CNTs—hollow, tube structures that are electrically conductive and allow zinc particles to remain in electric contact. The topcoat is available as epoxy, polyurethane, or polyaspartic.

The spray-applied barrier coating system has self-healing properties and has won approval from its Army R&D partners.

 Teslan has undergone ASTM testing protocols for outdoor exposure and weathering and immersion in salt water and fresh water.


Teslan has undergone ASTM testing protocols for outdoor exposure and weathering and immersion in salt water and fresh water.

“Tesla has improved on the traditional coating system that the U.S. military relies on to protect many of its steel structures,” Susan Drozdz, a chemist with U.S. Army ERDC-CERL, said in a press release.

“The traditional system is a good coating system, but here was an opportunity, with this nanocoating, to improve the limited adhesion, flexibility, and impact resistance of the standard system. Based on our field demonstrations, the Tesla system will most likely improve [coating] performance and service life.”

$50B Market

Todd Hawkins, managing director and founder of Tesla NanoCoatings, said, “The U.S. market for corrosion-control coatings is about $50 billion a year, and the industry has not seen any groundbreaking new technologies in more than 50 years. We aim to be the pacesetter in this market, offering the toughest, most resilient and best corrosion resistant coatings ever developed.”

Last October, Tesla NanoCoatings, which was started in 2007, was honored with an “R&D 100” Award from R&D Magazine for its coating. The award is given for the 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace in the last year.

This year, the company’s coating received the 2012 NorTech Innovation Award, which is a nod to innovative organizations and leaders that are creating jobs, attracting capital, and generating positive economic impact in the northeast Ohio region.

In June, the company leased 1,000 square feet of space at Stark State College’s Advanced Technology Center to allow more room for research and development of its coating. Hawkins sees the college operation as an initial production platform.


Tagged categories: Awards and honors; Corrosion control coatings; Grants; Nanotechnology; Protective coatings; Research; Steel; Tanks and vessels; Tesla NanoCoatings

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