Dr. Andrei Jitianu, a professor in Lehman College’s Chemistry department, has been awarded a $605,000 three-year grant from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Jitianu, along with his colleagues Dr. Lisa C. Klein from Rutgers University and Dr. Mario Aparicio at Instituto de Cerámica y Vidrio, wrote the proposal.
“This grant is international recognition for our work in the field and it is a very important one since this kind of grant are only given to less than 10 research groups a year nationwide,” said Dr. Jitianu. “This is the only grant awarded to the Materials World Network program between the U.S. and Spain.”
Traditional corrosion protection materials are known to be carcinogenic and therefore need to be replaced with safer materials. To address this problem it is proposed that a new class of hybrid organic/inorganic “melting gels” be investigated. Melting gels are non-porous barriers obtained by a simple sol-gel process that requires low temperature processing. They prevent environmental degradation of metals through their adherence to metals and their ability to hinder the transport of gases and water vapor through the coatings.
By combining the expertise of three laboratories with experience in sol-gel processing and electrochemical testing, Dr. Jitianu hopes to design a comprehensive study on the mechanisms for forming corrosion protection coatings for magnesium alloys and steels, which are used commonly for aerospace, automotive, and biocompatible medical implant applications.