Alginate-based corrosion-resistant coatings for metal structures

PhD FellowshipsReference: 2020-13

BCMaterials – Basque Center for Materials, Applications and Nanostructures is a research center included in the BERC’s (Basque Excellence Research Centers) network, devoted to generate knowledge on the new generation of materials, and turning this knowledge into (multi)functional solutions and devices for the benefit of society, is currently calling for a


Predoctoral Researcher position


to work on


Alginate-based corrosion-resistant coatings for metal structures


To prevent the corrosion of metal surfaces, a resistant coating between metal components and environment is deposited in order to keep oxygen and seawater away from the metal. These coatings provide superior chemical/mechanical properties, and thus improve the lifespan and performance of metals. However, current coatings that act as a barrier to oxygen and water are not enough to prevent a corrosion reaction. Low permeability and good adhesion of the coating to metal surface are essential characteristics for coatings used for corrosion control. For instance for polymer coatings, it has been demonstrated that the use of highly cross linked and chemically curing systems, the addition of nanoparticles and the use of thicker coatings can successfully reduce permeability. However, the described methods bring along significant technical challenges. For example, to achieve low permeability only a critical amount of nanoparticles can be added to the polymer matrix, above which will result in voids in the coating and thus permeability will increase. Moreover, the thick coating processing easily results in the cracks which in turn result in the increase of permeability. In this project, we will develop a novel polymer/graphene oxide nanocomposite coating cross-linked by a natural biological compound, alginate that is actively involved in the wet chemistry process to form a novel cell-free material. This novel coating material has a unique gas/water permeation prevention property that does not exist in nature. Alginate is a natural polysaccharide that has a low toxicity, the potential to bind with metals, and has been studied for different applications, e.g. biosensors, drug delivery systems and tissue engineering. The PhD project will focus on the study of the structural determinants through computer simulation and experiments, the modulation of coating specificity and biological binder of a key cross-linking function in Anticorrosion of Metal.


The following techniques, instruments and facilities will be used:


Multidisciplinary approach including that XRD, TEM, SEM, FTIR, Raman, TGA, etc. will be used to characterize the microstructure of coatings. Optimisation of microstructure of the coatings will be carried out by tuning the ratio of three components. Mechanical property will be tested by microindentation, adhesion test between coating and metal component, etc.


The ultimate goals for the Project are:


  • Novel polymer/graphene oxide nanocomposite coating cross-linked by a natural biological compound alginate
  • Efficient composite coating for anticorrosion of metal
  • Fundamental aspects of composite materials and biology


BCMaterials offers a contract, with an enrolment in the PhD program in the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), in collaboration with the Group of Macromolecular Chemistry Research Group (, belonging to the Faculty of Science and Technology (FCT/ZTF) at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).


BCMaterials is committed to equality of opportunity and values diversity.


This position is part of the Call for PhD Fellowships published on BCMaterials website at with the reference (2020-13), therefore, the terms and conditions of the call apply. Candidates must meet the general eligibility criteria stated on it, and fill the application form at the end of this page, including their CV, academic records and motivation and reference letters.


Before applying, candidates are encouraged to get in touch with researchers in charge of the project, in order to obtain detailed information about it:


  • Director (UPV/EHU): Leire Ruiz (
  • Co-director (BCMaterials): Qi Zhang (


All the applicants will be contacted by BCMaterials through a supplied email, as soon as the call is closed.


Selected publications:


O’Neill et al.,Science, 294, 846 (2001); An et al., Adv Mater, 23, 3842 (2011); Ebina et al., Adv Mater,19, 2450 (2007); Kimet  al.,Thin Solid Films, 519, 7766 (2011); Kumar. et al., Nat Mater, 7, 236 (2008); Krishnamoorthy, et al., Carbon, 72, 328 (2014); Nair et al., Science, 335, 442 (2012); Huang et al., J. Membr Sci.  409, 156 (2012); Park et al., ACS Nano 3, 572 (2008); Lai et al., Carbon, 82, 513 (2015); Cordero-Arias et al. Mater Sci& Eng 55, 137 (2015)




Curriculum Vitae * (max file size 2 MB, PDF file type only) Academic Records * (max file size 2 MB, PDF file type only)Motivation and Reference Letters * (max file size 2 MB, PDF file type only)

Basic information on data protection
Data controller Fundación BCMaterials – Basque Center for Materials, Applications and Nanostructures
Purposes To manage your registration for a job offer and your participation in the corresponding selection process.
Rights You have the right to withdraw your consent at any time, oppose their processing, access, rectify and erase the data, in addition to other rights, by writing to BCMaterials via post or to the email address
Additional information You can consult additional, detailed information on Data Protection in the Legal Disclaimer and Privacy section.
By clicking on "Apply" I consent to the processing of my data under the terms indicated

You will receive an automated email confirmation of the supplied information.