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Dr Brian Skerry | The Sherwin-Williams Company

Corrosion Prevention Coatings – From Noah’s Ark to Nanotechnology


Throughout history, protective coatings have been used for two purposes: improved aesthetics and asset protection.  The focus of this review is on coatings that provide corrosion protection to metallic substrates, and which are used in many market segments, such as general infrastructure, transportation, marine, and energy production.  The global market size for these coatings is estimated at over $20 billion in 2017.  Protective coatings can provide effective corrosion prevention by a combination of film barrier properties, galvanic electrochemical activity, or by the use of inhibitive pigments.   The evolution of new coating technologies has also been accompanied by the need to develop more reliable test methods for determining whether a coating will be effective for its intended use.  Recently developed test methods are described here, including advances in quantitative measurement techniques, such as electrochemical impedance and noise techniques.  In the future, emerging technologies, such as self-stratifying polymers, nanotechnology, and microencapsulated coating ingredients that function only when needed, hold great promise for the development of the next generation of protective coatings.  Finally, increasing global environmental concerns and regulatory compliance needs will continue to drive the development of ever higher performing and more sustainable protective coatings.  The prospects for future protective ‘smart’ coatings look bright.


Dr. Brian Skerry is the ‘Global Director – Corrosion Programs’ for the Sherwin-Williams Company in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.  He is responsible for innovation technologies for corrosion protective coatings for three operating divisions in the Company’s Global Finishes Group: Protective & Marine, Automotive/Aerospace, and Product Finishes.   From 2009 – 2012, he served as ‘Global Technical Director’ for the Protective & Marine Division, responsible for product development programs and R&D functions across all global regions.  He has been with the Sherwin-Williams Company for 33 years in R&D management positions of increasing levels of responsibility.  He holds a BSc (Hons) degree in Chemistry and a PhD in Corrosion Engineering from the University of Manchester, UK.  He has authored approximately 50 technical papers on corrosion and coatings, and has given multiple presentations on these topics in the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Australasia.  In July 2017, he will begin a 1-year term of office as the President of the Board of Governors for the Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC) in the USA.