Herein, we report the synthesis of a novel hydroxyl epoxy phosphate monomer (PGHEP) as an efficient dispersant for graphene to enhance the compatibility of the graphene in epoxy resin. Raman spectroscopy, Ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy (UV–vis) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) studies were confirmed the π-π interactions between PGHEP and graphene. Well-dispersed states of PGHEP functionalized graphene (G) sheets in water were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Further, microstructure of prepared G/waterborne epoxy coatings containing 0.5–1.0 wt. % of PGHEP functionalized G sheets were also observed with the help of SEM and TEM. The PGHEP functionalized G sheets dispersed composite coatings displayed enhanced corrosion resistance compared with pure epoxy resin, these coatings have higher contact angle, lower water absorption as evident from the results of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and salt spray tests. The superior corrosion protection performances of G/epoxy coatings were mainly attributed to the formed passive film from uniformly dispersed PGHEP functionalized G sheets which act as physical barrier on the steel surface. Therefore, this work provides a novel bio-based efficient dispersant for G sheets and an important method for preparing G/waterborne epoxy coatings with superior corrosion resistance properties.

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Available online 14 September 2017