Green Corrosion Inhibitors from Agri-Food Wastes: The Case of Punica granatum Extract and Its Constituent Ellagic Acid. A Validation Study
Giving a "new life" to wastes should be the golden rule for all production processes in the forthcoming future, aiming at making them more sustainable and environmentally friendly. In the corrosion science field, the ambitious circular economy paradigm has recently led to the employment of extracts from plants (and, in less extent, from agri-food wastes) as green inhibitors against corrosion of metals. However, in spite of the number of scientific papers published in the field, a deep revision
... d, a deep revision of the scientific approach is needed both in the execution of experiments and in the critical analysis of the results. Starting from some discrepancies in published data, the corrosion inhibition effect induced by a well-characterized methanolic extract from wastes of fermented Punica granatum and by its main component (ellagic acid, EA) was validated. The corrosion behaviour of Armco® pure iron in the presence of small concentrations of ellagic acid and extract (containing ca. 10 µM and 100 µM EA) was studied by combining results from mass loss tests, at free corrosion potential, and from polarization tests, by linearly sweeping the potential applied to the metal substrate. Experiments were carried out both in acidic medium (typical for a general corrosion phenomenon) and in near-neutral chloride bearing solution (characteristic of a localized pitting corrosion phenomenon). Neat conflicts with already published data have been identified first in the solubility of the inhibitor and then in the inhibition efficiency (around 40% in a 0.05 M HCl). The very limited solubility in aqueous environment was identified as the main drawback, hindering any possible exploitation of ellagic acid and pomegranate extract as promising green corrosion inhibitors. Results point to the necessity to establish clear and rigorous good laboratory practices to follow while reporting results on such complex matrices like vegetable extracts.