Public Release: 

A smarter, safer way to beat corrosion: Research shows new corrosion inhibitor is 10 times more effective

Swansea University

Independent research has shown that a safer, smarter corrosion inhibitor can protect products for up to ten times longer, plugging the performance gap for an effective, chrome-free inhibitor.

The product was developed by Hexigone, a start-up company formed by Swansea University researchers and students.

Corrosion costs the world economy 2.5 trillion dollars every year, and last month, the EU banned its most effective inhibitor, hexavalent chromate.

Hexigone Inhibitors' disruptive technology - Intelli-ion® - swaps chromate for 'chemically intelligent' pigments, offering a completely unique approach to tackling corrosion. The result? Coatings that can protect end-products for up to ten times longer than chrome-free alternatives.

The research was carried out by a global leader in industrial coatings, and following 1,000 hours of aggressive prohesion, salt spray and humidity (4000 hours) testing, the Intelli-ion® product displayed 1mm of corrosion versus 10mm in the control sample (see figure 2).

CEO and Founder of Hexigone Inhibitors, Patrick Dodds, commented:

"Following really exciting results in the labs, these were the results we were anticipating from our industry partners.

We moved our research away from mainstream thinking, and as a result, can use chemicals that were previously incompatible with coatings. Now, we are offering a potentially game-changing inhibitor to the coatings industry; a higher performing product that can be easily added to existing production processes, at a price that matches the market."

Intelli-ion uses intelligent micro reservoirs that make the coatings responsive to the environment, triggering the release of the inhibitor 'on demand.'

This method of protection could deliver significantly longer life spans to end products, which would in turn, have a huge impact on the construction, automotive and aerospace industries.

The company has not gone unnoticed; they have recently secured investment from Development Bank of Wales and angel investors, Phil Buck and Andy Lewis, as well as an innovation loan from Innovate UK; totalling over £1 million.

The team is already working with 20 industry partners across 4 continents and the extra financial boost; along with support from investment expert Owen Sennet and AgorIP; will allow them to accelerate scale-up and provide the coatings industry a safer, smarter way to tackle corrosion.

Phil Buck, former CEO of Spencer Coatings Group, commented:

"In my forty years in the industry we have been looking for a comparable performance from an anti-corrosion pigment that we previously enjoyed when we used lead and chromate complexes. None of the new developments have given that.

Now at last we have a corrosion inhibitor that provides the level of performance that our clients need to protect their assets from premature failure.

Hexigone is now able to offer the corrosion industry what they have been looking for - a search which has spanned a generation."


Notes to Editors:

Contact: Ella Newington, Marketing Manager | 07983336705

Twitter: @hexigone_ltd
Linked In: Hexigone Inhibitors

Link to Intelli-ion video:
Image 1: CEO and founder, Patrick Dodds & Product Development Manager, Calvin Richards.
Image 2: Test results demonstrating areas of 1mm (Intelli-ion) vs. 10mm (control) creep in samples
Image 3: Paddy Dodds, Calvin Richards and Alex Neilsen at the Active Office at Swansea University.

Other info:

  • Hexigone was formed as a spin-out company from Swansea University. They manufacture chemically intelligent corrosion inhibitors which are safer, smarter and ten times more effective than market leading alternatives, according to industry partners.
  • Swansea University is a vibrant, research-led University that has been making a difference since 1920. It has an has an ongoing reputation as one of the UK's leading universities, thanks to its high quality teaching that is driven by world-class research.
  • Spencer Coatings Group was the UK's largest independent coatings manufacturer before its successful acquisition by Axalta (a leading global supplier) in May 2017.
  • Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. ... We drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK's world-class research base.
  • The Development Bank of Wales Group is one of the UK's largest regional SME investment companies and provides growth capital for small and medium-sized businesses in the UK
  • AgorIP is supported by the Welsh Government to help new companies take their "IP" to the marketplace and help make it a commercial success.

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