The Hackathon for the future of sustainable corrosion protection

Corrosion protection is a foundational part of modern society and our future. Even with the great technical accomplishments of chemists, physicists etc. to protect our valuable materials our world still loses 5.000 kg of steel every second due to corrosion. Even when many people see corrosion protection as something really sustainable, due to the saving of hundreds of thousands of tons of steel every year, that’s not enough. 

We invite you to challenge the status quo. Become part of this hackathon about corrosion protection.

Even after great technical accomplishments, having a look at corrosion protection today, there is still a lot to do, making the technology itself more environmentally friendly.

If you are a chemistry student, an aspiring paint technician/engineer or an up-and-coming material scientist/engineer and you are curious about how we can make a crucial technology for modern society climate friendly then welcome to our Hackathon - Corrosify

The hackathon is limited to 30 participants. The best ideas will be rewarded with attractive prizes, ideally suited to the needs of young scientists. More on the prizes here. Each participant also receives a certificate after successful completion of the hackathon.

Our Vision

Together with you and your expertise we would like to work on a sustainable solution for heavy corrosion protection. Our goal is to develop a high performance corrosion protection using the zinc flake. We are looking at the following visionary properties for the end result.

  • Saving large amounts of zinc

  • Avoidance of solvents and volatile components

  • Use of harmless, ideally renewable resources

  • Cradle-to-cradle/Carbon neutrality

  • Innovative binder system with tailor-made linking properties without marking of CMR substances and without restrictions with regard to occupational health and safety and environmental regulations

  • Doubling of the maintenance/repainting intervals

The Challenges

How can we develop a significant sustainable corrosion protection that goes beyond the current state of the art with a focus on the following aspects:

  • Resource efficiency, i.e. saving material and raw materials, in particular reducing the zinc content

  • Reduced layer thicknesses or saving of layers in multilayer systems

  • Reduction of emissions by using biocompatible and environmentally friendly raw materials, e.g. reduction of solvent content, freedom from CMR substances and avoidance of release of biocides, microplastics etc.

  • Environmental friendliness and energy efficiency through improved CO2 balance

Challenge 1

Reduction of the use of zinc

How can we achieve cathodic corrosion protection with minimal use of zinc resources?

Challenge 2

Reduction of the use of VOC

How can we formulate a processable corrosion protection primer with reduced VOC content? The VOC content includes all volatile organic components, i.e. both the solvent content and the content of volatile condensation products.

Challenge 3

Acceleration of the test methodology

Which innovative electrochemical, chemical or physical measuring methods can be used to evaluate the efficiency of a varnish system that is to protect against corrosion? Innovative here means not older than five years since the first presentation to the public. The measuring should be completed within one hour.

State of the Art

The coating of components that are subject to particularly high stresses presents major challenges in terms of corrosion protection.  The components are currently being coated in a complex three-layer system. The primer also contains a lot of zinc dust and is either solvent-based or at least contains solvents. In addition, the systems are based on epoxy and PU-based binder systems because of the need for reliable chemical linking with the requirements associated with occupational safety. For all these reasons, heavy corrosion protection offers great development potential in terms of sustainability, which we want to address in our hackathon. In addition to the sustainable ones, there are also technical requirements that a product must meet. These requirements are defined in the ISO 12944 series of standards, which deals with the protection of steel structures by coating systems.

Our Mentors & Jury

Throughout the entire process you and your team will be accompanied and supported by one of our mentors. Our mentors and our expert jury is a mix of young, up-and-coming chemists and experts with decades of experience. At the end of the project, a jury will select the best approaches in terms of sustainability, creativity and practicability.

The Participating Companies



For many decades the name Dörken has stood for high-quality corrosion protection. The company, based in Herdecke in North Rhine-Westphalia, offers reliable coatings for every industry and is constantly developing new, innovative solutions. Among other things, the room temperature-curing zinc flake coating was awarded the German Innovation Award 2020.


Eckart is the world's leading manufacturer of effect pigments. Since 1876 Eckart has been supplying pigments for the highest demands in the field of Coatings, Functional Applications, Graphic Arts & Plastic and Cosmetics worldwide. Since its establishment in Fürth, innovation, quality, sustainability and, above all, the customers have been at the centre of its thoughts and actions. 

Eckart is part of the German chemical company Altana.

1st place

The winner gets the opportunity of a two-week job shadowing at the Research & Development department at Dörken. The price includes the coverage of travel expenses, as well as accommodation during the stay and a meal allowance. The winner gets to know the processes in R&D, accompanies colleagues in various functions in their daily work and can contribute and test his or her own expertise in laboratory research. The applicant will receive a certificate for the successfully completed work shadowing. 

2nd place

One-day visit to a fair or conference including coverage of travel costs (e.g. the European Coatings Show 2021). This is a great opportunity to make contacts in the field and meet potential employers!

3rd place

The winner receives 500 Euro as a prize.

To be eligible to win any of the prizes above, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You have participated in all Zoom calls

  • You have discussed at least one idea in a Zoom call

  • You have expressed an idea that all three mentors considered good

  • You have presented your idea in the final event

Registration Period

In this period you are able to register through the contact form below. 

September 21


Every ambitious project needs to have a get-together in the beginning. To get the most out of the hackathon, save the following date in your calendar: September 21 from 5 to 6 pm (UTC+2)

In this meeting we will all come together digitally and you get to know the mentors and your team.

September 21 – September 27


During this period, you will work with your mentor and team on potential solutions to the challenges and will be in frequent exchange with your mentors. There will be two dates this week where you can meet with your mentors. You should allow about one hour for each of the appointments, which will probably take place on Tuesday the 22th and Thursday the 24th at 5 pm. The rest of the time you will spend working on the challenges can be freely chosen according to your own schedule. 

After September 27

Evaluation of the ideas & announcement of the winners

Our expert jury will look at your ideas and evaluate them. Afterwards, they will choose the best ideas together with you and announce the winners.

Image by Dylan Ferreira
We are still open for applications
Select your challenge