Graphene coating makes copper almost 100 times more corrosion-resistant


October 4, 2012

A graphene coating can make copper nearly 100 times more resistant to corrosion (Image: Shutterstock)

A graphene coating can make copper nearly 100 times more resistant to corrosion (Image: Shutterstock)

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Following on from news out of the University at Buffalo earlier this year that a graphene varnish could significantly slow the corrosion of steel, researchers from Monash and Rice Universities have used a graphene coating to improve copper’s resistance to corrosion by nearly 100 times. The researchers say such a dramatic extension of the metal’s useful life could result in significant cost savings for a wide range of industries.

Metals are often treated with polymer coatings to help prevent corrosion, but their protective capabilities can be easily compromised by scratches. Although graphene is only one-atom thick and is invisible, not changing the appearance or feel of the metal, it is exceptionally strong and much harder to damage. This gives the material enormous potential for protecting metals even in harsh environments.

Using chemical vapor disposition, the researchers applied the graphene coating to copper at temperatures between 800 and 900 degrees Celsius (1,472 and 1,652° F). They then tested it in saline water and witnessed resistance to corrosion almost 100 times that of untreated copper.

“We have obtained one of the best improvements that have been reported so far,” said study co-author Dr Mainak Majumder. “Other people are maybe five or six times better, so it’s a pretty big jump.”

The researchers are now expanding their research to see if the technique produces similar results with other metals. They are also looking for ways to apply the coating at lower temperatures in an effort to simplify production and enhance the technique’s market potential.

The team's paper appears in the journal Carbon.

Source: Monash University

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

I would say this will be great for future rust free cars. But, by the time this tech is viable, car bodies will be all aluminum &/or carbon fiber.

Derek Howe

There is no mention of how it affects resistivity - is it more resistive to the flow of electrons or not? I also looked into the research on non oxiditative steel and they also make not mention of resistance change - this could potentially change my need for titanium components if and only if the coated plates could allow the current through and I don't mean along the body of the copper but through the graphene layer


Does this mean that this coating will make copper keep its shine longer outdoors, without getting green? It could be useful for instance for bronze statues which would require less cleaning and maintenance.

Since this layer is so thin it will inevitably be damaged by physical kontact. Will these scratches then be protected by the layer, or will the oxidation spread?


This coating applied to freshly made clean steel rebar & reinforcing wire mesh could eliminate one of the primary failure mechanisms in steel reinforced concrete structures as well as ferrocement structures such ferrocement boat hulls. If this process can get to a good price & performance range the result could be genuinely revolutionary. The northeastern states all use way too much road salt and therefore bridges & concrete structures age far faster than they should, then there are the same effects also in a marine environment.


should find a massive way to quickly put this on the statue of liberty

Tommy Hickok
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