The surface and interface physics of functional nano-composites

Grantham Scholar Francis Gurman is researching how epoxy resins, used as protective coatings on ships and in other industries to prevent corrosion, break down.

The project

Globally, corrosion has an exceptional cost. This is not just a monetary cost either. Increased fuel consumption in corroded vehicles and leaks due to corroded equipment result in great environmental damage. Accidents and deaths arise due to damage from corrosion, creating a human cost as well.

In my PhD I shall be looking into how different epoxy resins. These polymers are used as protective coatings on ships and in other industries to prevent corrosion. Unfortunately they eventually fail at providing protection from corrosion. I shall be specifically looking at the mechanisms by which water is absorbed and is stored in the resins and how the resin surfaces degrade under different conditions.

Techniques used in this PhD will include atomic force microscopy (AFM) and small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS).


Free sustainability webinars. Francis was part of a group who organised the Corrosion: The 2.5 Trillion Dollar Problem webinar. Created as part of our ongoing public engagement, it is on of a playlist of Grantham Scholar webinars available on YouTube.

Stay up to date with Francis Gurman and the other Grantham Scholars: join our newsletter.


Dr Andrew Parnell

Department of Physics and Astronomy


A close up on Tony Ryan at work in his lab

Professor Tony Ryan OBE

Grantham Centre Co-Director

Dr Neal Williams

Dr Mark Irwin