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Award Gives Graphene Coating $500k Lift

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

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A South Dakota researcher will receive $500,000 to develop graphene-based corrosion-resistant coatings for infrastructure.

Assistant Professor Venkataramana Gadhamshetty, Ph.D., P.E. from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, has been honored with the National Science Foundation's CAREER award, which will fund the research for the next five years, the university announced

Gadhamshetty's research features graphene, which is 300 times stronger than steel, 1,000 times more conductive than silicon, and optically transparent, according to the university.

The wonder material has been the focus of intense worldwide materials science research since it was discovered a decade ago.

graphene coatings research
sdsmt.edu

Assistant Professor Venkataramana Gadhamshetty, Ph.D., P.E., and doctoral student Namita Shrestha discuss the use of graphene as a next-generation coating to protect infrastructure.

Gadhamshetty joined the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering faculty last fall. Before that, he trained as an Excellence in Civil and Engineering Education Fellow with the American Society of Civil Engineers. He previously taught at Florida Gulf Coast University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.

Costly Corrosion

"Considering that graphene is the world's thinnest material—thinner than human hair—it was always fascinating to probe the fundamental details on how such a thin material can solve this multibillion-dollar corrosion problem," said Gadhamshetty.

"There are several other reasons why graphene can be considered a natural wonder of the materials world."

Graphene is the thinnest known anti-corrosion coating. The one-atom-thick materials has also shown promise in impermeable, chemically resistant coatings.

Gadhamshetty started his research about two years ago while collaborating with graphene experts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.

According to the university, microbial corrosion on infrastructure costs the U.S. nearly $1 billion annually, accounting for 20 to 40 percent of the nation's total corrosion costs.

However, current commercial protective coatings for metal "tend to fail in the aqueous and microbial environments," the university said.

coatings for infrastructure
©iStock.com / gaspr13

According to the university, microbial corrosion on infrastructure costs the U.S. nearly $1 billion annually, accounting for 20 to 40 percent of the nation's total corrosion costs.

School president Heather Wilson said, "This is a great start to Dr. Gadhamshetty's research career at Mines in an area of great importance to the nation. The development of coatings that help metal resist rust can save billions of dollars.

"We look forward to the results of his work."

'Exciting Opportunities'

The Faculty Early Career Development Program offers NSF's most prestigious award to support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research.

Gadhamshetty said he hoped the experience would motivate more students to seek degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.

"The National Science Foundation provides boundless opportunities for students and young investigators to pursue research of their interest," Gadhamshetty said.

"I hope this project will help me develop exciting opportunities for undergraduates to learn about the emerging applications of nanotechnology, and at the same time increase the awareness of the environmental challenges posed by the modern world."

   

Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Coating Materials; Coatings Technology; Colleges and Universities; Corrosion protection; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Graphene; Infrastructure; Latin America; Nanotechnology; North America; Research

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