News Details | 05-Jul-2011

NTU Scientists Invent Self Healing Anti-Rust Coat

Scratched your car? No worries, just watch it heal itself!

This futuristic technology is already here. Scientists from NTU have developed a revolutionary coating for metals that will form a layer of polymer over any scratches or dents, preventing rust and corrosion from setting in.

This new self-healing anti-rust coat is expected to save time and money usually spent to remove rust from vehicles such as ships and cars and even from metal bridges and structures.

Presently, anti-corrosion coats are commercially available to help prevent rust. However, if such anti-rust coating is scratched, the bare metal will be exposed to the environment resulting in rust. When rust sets in on metal, it is very hard to remove and is time consuming to restore the metal back to its original condition.

How this new coating works: the self-healing anti-corrosion coat is imbedded with small microscopic capsules containing chemicals highly reactive to water. When the coating is scratched, the micro-capsules break, releasing these chemicals which will then react with water to form a polymer (plastic like sealant), sealing the damaged region and preventing corrosion.

If no water is available, moisture from the air will also be able to react with the chemicals, triggering the new layer of coating. This commercially-ready invention is also amazingly cheap to produce and is expected to be the new standard in anti-corrosion coating technology.

Assistant Professor Yang Jinglei, who led the research, said this same technology can be adapted to combat corrosion and oxidisation in other metals, such as aluminium, copper, and other alloys. The micro-capsules is compatible with current coating systems and can also be embedded in current paints used on buildings and vehicles.

This project, which started in January 2010, took about six months to achieve results and it was recently published in the Journal of Material Chemistry on 30 June 2011.

A time-lapse video was also created to show the difference between a normal polymer coating and the new innovative self-healing coating.

Names and Designation of Researchers:
Assistant Professor Yang Jinglei, 34, School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Huang Mingxing, 29, Ph.D student, School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

*** END ***

Media contact:

Lester Kok
Assistant Manager
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: 6790 6804

About Nanyang Technological University

A research-intensive university, NTU has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the four colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, and Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences.

The largest campus in Singapore, NTU is also home to four world-class autonomous institutes – the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, the National Institute of Education, the Earth Observatory of Singapore and the Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering, and many leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N).

A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence – Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road and Innovation Asia. In 2013, NTU will set up the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine in Singapore jointly with Imperial College London.  It will also have its first campus in China, the NTU Tianjin College.
For more information, visit

Share Article