TiO2 nanotubes and mesoporous silica as containers in self-healing epoxy coatings
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The potential of inorganic nanomaterials as reservoirs for healing agents is presented here. Mesoporous silica (SBA-15) and TiO2 nanotubes (TNTs) were synthesized. Both epoxy-encapsulated TiO2 nanotubes and amine-immobilized mesoporous silica were incorporated into epoxy and subsequently coated on a carbon steel substrate. The encapsulated TiO2 nanotubes was quantitatively estimated using a ‘dead pore ratio’ calculation. The morphology of the composite coating was studied in detail using transmission electron microscopic (TEM) analysis. The self-healing ability of the coating was monitored using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS); the coating recovered 57% of its anticorrosive property in 5 days. The self-healing of the scratch on the coating was monitored using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The results confirmed that the epoxy pre-polymer was slowly released into the crack. The released epoxy pre-polymer came into contact with the amine immobilized in mesoporous silica and cross-linked to heal the scratch.