TechConnect Innovator Spotlight:

TechConnect World Innovation Conference
May 14 - 17, 2017, Washington DC

Anti-Corrosion Paint/Primer Additive Based on Conjugated Polymer Nano-Dispersions, PolyDrop


PolyDrop has developed an additive to paints and primers that provides anti-corrosion properties without the use of dangerous heavy metals or hexavalent chromium.

Primary Application Area: Materials, Chemical

Technology Development Status: Prototype



The anti-corrosion market has been dominated by heavy metal- and chromate-rich paints and primers. However, increasing governmental regulation of these materials has necessitated the development of alternatives that provide similar anti-corrosion protection without the deleterious effects to human and environmental health. PolyDrop has developed a series of conjugated polymer nano-dispersions that can replace heavy metals and chromates in anti-corrosion coatings. The technology is dispersible in a wide variety of coating matrices (e.g. epoxies, polyurethanes, etc.), organic solvents (e.g. toluene, xylene, etc.), and even aqueous-based media. At very low loadings of 0.3 - 3 wt%, the properties of the paint/primer (i.e. color, transparency, and viscosity) are largely preserved while anti-corrosion is achieved. Preliminary testing has shown that inclusion of conjugated polymer nanoparticles in an epoxy coating protects steel test panels from corrosion better than the epoxy coating alone.



Value Proposition: In 2014, the direct cost of corrosion was $138 billion in the US alone. The anti-corrosion coatings market is expected to reach $26.6 billion by 2019 and continue to grow at 4.5% thereafter. Traditionally, this market has been dominated by paints and primers that use either zinc or hexavalent chromium as the anti-corrosion additive. However, these two materials are being increasingly regulated and ideally would be phased out completely. 

Zinc-based technologies require extremely high loadings as high as 95 wt% and at current usage levels, the USGS estimates that the known global zinc supply will be depleted by 2020. Additionally, zinc may act as a biocide at high concentrations which makes these coatings dangerous for marine applications. Hexavalent chromium is a known human carcinogen and its is heavily restricted or altogether banned by many organizations including OSHA, EPA, DoD, and the European Union. 

PolyDrop’s technology represents an alternative to zinc and hexavalent chromium that is safe for both humans and the environment. The low loadings required for corrosion protection mean that the adoption of this technology will not significantly increase the cost of the paint/primer.



National Innovation Awardee

Organization Type: Early-stage Startup (Seed)



SBIR/STTR Awards: $225,000, NSF Phase I STTR, 2014
$750,000, NSF Phase II SBIR, 2016