The AkzoNobel Laboratory of Corrosion Protection at The University of Manchester is the result of a five-year landmark strategic partnership between the largest global coatings company and one of the UK’s top universities.

The University of Manchester (UoM) is home to the world's largest academic unit dedicated to the study of corrosion. Its partnership with AkzoNobel commenced in April 2012, to allow for vital work to be undertaken to help tackle the annual $3 trillion global annual cost of corrosion, accounting for over 3% of the world’s GDP.

With annual sales of more than €1.5 billion in the field, AkzoNobel has leading positions in the supply of corrosion-inhibition coatings and specialty chemicals to the transport, oilfield and construction markets, and the company utilizes its extensive practical knowledge of corrosion inhibition to ensure the integrity of its own chemical plants.

As well as allowing for the opening of a brand new laboratory to help tackle corrosion, the partnership has also resulted in the appointment of Professor Stuart Lyon as the AkzoNobel Professor of Corrosion Control, based in the School of Materials, to oversee an agreed research program to be supported by research staff within UoM. Several post-doctoral researchers and Ph.D. students have also been directly employed to work on projects with active AkzoNobel technical involvement.

Research conducted at the new facility will address a number of key challenges that will enable AkzoNobel to develop optimized product platforms, including:

  • What causes some paints to prevent corrosion and others to fail? 
  • What are the coating-substrate interactions which prevent corrosion?
  • How to predict the lifetime of coatings
  • How can corrosion be detected before it is visible? 

Progress in understanding these challenges will allow AkzoNobel to develop improved design rules for coating systems for different substrates in different challenging environments, accelerate development of new chemical systems and ensure the integrity of AkzoNobel’s assets.

 Stuart Lyon, the AkzoNobel Professor of Corrosion Control, said, "The research partnership with AkzoNobel will enable The University of Manchester’s Corrosion and Protection Centre, based in the School of Materials, to solve key scientific challenges in how best to control corrosion and hence to minimize the use of scarce resources in an environmentally sustainable way.