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4 Coatings and the Inspector
Coatings and the Inspector
Coatings are generally known and referred to by the name of the resin or film-forming agent. Your manual lists some of the types of coatings a coating inspector might expect to encounter. Inspectors should remember that a simple generic description (e.g., epoxy high build) may not be sufficient to differentiate between the products of different manufacturers. There are many different types of protective coatings and more in constant development. Inspectors cannot expect to know everything there is to know about modern coatings nor to keep up with the changes that occur from day to day. Learning to read and understand the manufacturer’s technical data sheets is essential. We discuss coatings types at various points in CIP, together with application criteria, special considerations, and failure modes. At this time, we’d like to consider the inspector’s role regarding coatings, including some typical quality control issues that affect inspectors.
The inspector must be alert to quality control issues at every stage of work, including:
• • •
During surface preparation During mixing and thinning operations During coating application
Coating Inspector Program Level 1 © NACE International, 2003 January 2007
Observe the process. Mixing and Thinning Before mixing begins. Coating Inspector Program Level 1 © NACE International. 2003 January 2007 . pinholes. Old.g. performance of the coating system is likely to be reduced. allowing corrosion. These may cause coating film defects or premature failure. Check for residues of oil.1. chemical salts. Faults such as adhesion failure between coatings and substrate may occur. grease. fingerprints. etc. and dust deposited on the surface after surface preparation. or dirty cans would imply that there may be a problem. and in some cases chemical testing of the surface may be required by the specification. documenting and reporting any defective or noncompliant activity • • Coating inspectors are generally involved with surface preparation activities on a daily basis. Contamination that has occurred since the surface preparation operation or since application of the previous coat should be removed. loss of adhesion. helping to identify the standards required and judging—together with the contractor—whether or not the specific standard has been achieved. fisheyes. handling.. etc. the inspector should try to establish that coatings do not appear to have been damaged by age. If it is not. e. Products in cans that appear to have been opened previously should also be carefully examined. rusty. improper storage conditions.4 Coatings and the Inspector Page 2 Surface Preparation During surface preparation the inspector should: • Determine that the specified surface preparation is attained. Additional inspection may be required between the coats of a multi-coat system. At the time of coating application. no visible contamination of the surface is allowed.
1. 2003 January 2007 . A nonuniform film with poor integrity. Too little thinner may cause the coating to cobweb or dry spray.4 Coatings and the Inspector Page 3 Coating materials that appear to be very liquid may indicate severe settlement of pigment and require significant mixing or even remanufacturing at the factory. or partial separation of components after application. Coating Inspector Program Level 1 © NACE International. Coatings that appear to have separated or gelled should also be carefully examined. Figure 1 Mixing Coatings • Correct amount of thinner is used. During mixing and thinning. Failure to mix components sufficiently or in the correct proportions may result in poor film-forming characteristics. but they will generally result in reduced protective qualities of the coating and waste of expensive pigment materials. together with runs and sags. preferably given in writing if the coatings are to be used. Too much thinner may result in reduced dry-film thickness. the inspector should ensure that the: • Coating is mixed thoroughly. the inspector should quarantine the containers and call for the manufacturer’s opinion. The specific effects of failure to mix thoroughly vary between different types of coatings. inadequate or non-uniform cure. pinholes. or poor appearance may result. If in doubt.
including: • • • • • • Name of coating Manufacturer’s name Batch number Date sample retained Inspector’s name Identity code for tracking sample. Coating Inspector Program Level 1 © NACE International. All samples should be agitated (or mixed) prior to retention. they would generally be taken at the time of mixing. Samples of the required volume. In general. to ensure a uniform sample is collected. 2003 January 2007 . unused containers and clearly labeled with the relevant details. Any thinner other than that cited in the specification or manufacturer’s data sheet is the wrong thinner.4 Coatings and the Inspector • Page 4 Correct type of thinner is used. Sampling of Coatings If coating samples are required.1. are collected in clean. if required. Inspectors can best judge the mixing process by being present when mixing takes place. including individual components of multicomponent systems. This applies to both liquid and solid materials. thinner should not be used unless necessary.
or voids in the coating. Surface may have deteriorated and begun to rust. pinholes. When coatings are too thin. This may prevent the coating from adhering properly to the substrate. in cooperation with the applicators. 2003 January 2007 . particularly primers applied to blast cleaned surfaces. Figure 2 WFT Measurement When coatings are too thick. Inspectors. and other defects may occur. • Specified time-to-coat after cleaning time is observed.4 Coatings and the Inspector Page 5 Coating Application During coating application the inspector should determine that: • Correct coating thickness is attained. Coating Inspector Program Level 1 © NACE International.1. they generally provide inadequate coverage of the surface. Stress is likely to lead to cracks (including mud-cracking). increased stress is developed in the coating during the cure. runs. The most common result is premature failure due to rust bleedthrough (a characteristic rust rash appears). should ensure that WFT is monitored during application and that DFT is measured once the coating is sufficiently dried. Thick coatings may also have slow or improper cure time. solvent entrapment. and sags.
1. If an incorrect proportion of converter is added to the base. It may run or sag and probably will not withstand intended service. 2003 January 2007 .4 Coatings and the Inspector • Page 6 Specified recoat interval is observed. poor coating film formation. If the substrate is too cold. Correct proportion of converter is added to base. • Specified coating is applied. Inspection of Plural-Component Coatings When a job involves the application of coatings that cure by chemically-induced polymerization. the cure will not be complete. In addition. poor flow characteristics may result in reduced adhesion. The coating may set up in the spray pot or lines. • Specified surface temperature is observed. and an irregular surface. In addition. If the substrate is too hot. Coatings applied too soon after the previous coat may result in solvent entrapment or improper cure leading to a variety of defects including wrinkling. blistering. the coating may blister or pop because of too rapid solvent release. The applied film may have poor chemical and corrosion resistance. a subject that will be discussed later. cure may be slowed. the inspector should ensure: • Converter is added to base. intercoat adhesion failure may occur with those types of coatings that have cured. Coatings applied after too much time has lapsed since application of the previous coat may be applied over contamination by spills or airborne particles. and delamination. Failure to add converter to base before use means the coating may appear to dry but will not cure. • Coating Inspector Program Level 1 © NACE International. Pot life may be affected.
For some coatings of this type. In extreme cases. The coating may still be liquid. the polymerization reaction begins.1. the manufacturer will recommend the coating be allowed to sit for a period of time after mixing of the converter and base before application. although these times are temperature dependent. its viscosity increases. This allows the base and converter to diffuse and the polymerization reaction to begin uniformly throughout the coating material. The coating inspector should check to see Coating Inspector Program Level 1 © NACE International. • Pot life is not exceeded. or 30 minutes. and it continues until it is complete. As the mixed coating ages and approaches the end of its pot life. Incorrect sweat-in time may lead to inadequate cure or to separation of the components during the application or curing process. even though its pot life has expired. Once the base and converter are mixed. 15. 2003 January 2007 . There is usually a limited period of time during which the two-component coating must be applied. This is described as the pot life.4 Coatings and the Inspector Page 7 Figure 3 Mixing Plural-Component Coating • Correct sweat-in or induction time is allowed. Typical induction periods are 10. craters or fisheyes may occur.
4 Coatings and the Inspector Page 8 that coatings that have exceeded their pot life are not applied. monitoring handling and disposal of hazardous materials. inferior film thickness. • Temperatures are monitored. air entrapment. Remember that in all cases the coating specification must be adhered to unless permission to deviate from the specification has been obtained from the owner’s representative. and it may not cure properly. sags. Higher temperatures are likely to reduce curing time. and sags.1. other tasks may be assigned by the specification for a particular project. may have very short pot life and/or induction time. Coating Inspector Program Level 1 © NACE International. The scope of the inspector’s duties should be agreed with the employer and discussed in detail at the pre-job conference. Monitoring of times and temperatures is particularly important for these products. pinholes. Some specialized plural-component coatings. sometimes using thinner to reduce its viscosity for spraying. It should be noted that many functions of film formation and coatings cure are temperature related. The finished film may have poor integrity. the coating is likely to have poor sprayability. etc. such as those that are mixed during the spraying operation. pot life. or any other agreed tasks. If this is done. low film build. In addition to the tasks described above. and poor performance in service. Inspectors should document all of the tasks they perform. and lower temperatures are likely to increase those same properties. Observation of ambient temperatures during application and cure should be part of the inspector’s quality control task. These may include monitoring of safety regulations. Applicators may be tempted to try to apply a coating that has exceeded its pot life. 2003 January 2007 ..
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