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Corrosion Resistance: Application of Composite Materials in Coastal Environments

It is well-known that many traditional building materials are not suitable for use in coastal environments. This is especially true for steel and reinforced concrete, which suffer uneven corrosion in marine settings. These materials cannot last many years, with the most severe corrosion occurring in the splash zone, where deterioration rates can be 0.3-0.5 mm per year, and can peak at 1 mm. This rate is 3-10 times higher than in fully immersed areas. As a result, most docks around the world require annual maintenance.

The application of composite materials in coastal environments highlights their unique advantages. These include high specific strength, high tensile modulus, low thermal expansion coefficient, and outstanding corrosion resistance. These properties make composite materials particularly suitable for marine environments, especially in construction, offshore structures, and coastal defense projects. For example, in the construction of jetties, the high load-bearing capacity, rapid construction, modularity, and recyclability of composite materials are highly beneficial. Their internally reinforced columns with pultruded profiles enhance compressive bending performance, making them ideal for island and offshore construction. As far as I know, composite materials based on epoxy and vinyl ester resins are used in linings, tanks, pipes, grates, splash zone fiberglass cathodic protection coatings, and pultrusion-wrapped fiberglass ribs, which have been incorporated into various marine corrosion protection projects like port docks and ocean platforms.

Additionally, carbon fiber composites are widely used in coastal environments due to their excellent resistance to salt spray corrosion, especially in aircraft components, including helicopter parts. Glass fiber reinforced polyurethane composites are extensively used in coastal residential windows and doors due to their good thermal insulation, acid and alkali resistance, and salt spray resistance, effectively combating salt mist erosion.

Composite materials are also used in photovoltaic frames, particularly in coastal and offshore power stations, due to their cost advantages and UV resistance. In cement structures, such as coastal embankments, dams, riverbanks, or buildings near water, composites like glass fiber (FRP) rebar are extensively used for their corrosion resistance and high strength.

Finally, corrosion-resistant composite wood panels are also highly suitable for applications where corrosion resistance is required. In summary, the application of composite materials in coastal areas spans construction, aviation, photovoltaics, and more. Their corrosion resistance, high strength, and lightweight characteristics make them an ideal material choice. For atmospheric conditions, water, and high concentrations of acids, alkalis, salts, various oils, and solvents, fiberglass profiles exhibit good corrosion resistance. They are being applied in various aspects of chemical corrosion protection, gradually replacing carbon steel, stainless steel, wood, and non-ferrous metals.”

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