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Fundamentals of stripe coating

From JPCL, January 2014

More items for Quality Control

Paint failures on bolted connection that had not been stripe coated
Photos courtesy of Corrosion Control Consultants and Labs, Inc.
Consider the following scenario, which points out one of the worst disappointments in the painting of steel structures.
The owner carefully plans a project to include a well-written specification, careful material evaluation and selection, a qualified
contractor, and thorough inspection of the work. The project is done on time, within budget, and with no claims for extra work. Two
years later, visual inspection of the project reveals that 99% of the painting work shows no signs of failure. Yet, essentially every
edge, bolt, and weld is rusting.
What happened?
The project specification did not require striping or stripe coating of all edges and welds during the painting work. Is this the
problem? Maybemaybe not.
What is Striping or Stripe Coating?
A stripe coat is a coat of paint applied only to edges or to welds on steel structures before or after a full coat is applied to the
entire surface. The stripe coat is intended to give those areas sufficient film build to resist corrosion.

Therefore, striping, as it is sometimes called, is the process of painting the edges of a surface or welds to give them extra
protection. Striping is done before priming or before the application of a full coat of paint.

(In this article, the terms stripe coating and striping are used interchangeably.)
SSPC-PA 1, Shop, Field, and Maintenance Painting of Steel, includes the following advice about stripe coating.

If stripe coating is specified for a project, then all corners, crevices, rivets, bolts, welds, and sharp edges should receive
a stripe coating with the priming paint before the steel receives a full coat of primer.
The stripe coat should extend at least 1 in. (2 cm) from the edge.
To prevent removal of the stripe coat by later application of the primer, the stripe coat should be allowed to set to touch
before the full coat of primer is applied. (However, it should not be permitted to dry long enough to allow rusting of the
unprimed steel.)
Alternatively, the stripe coat may be applied after a complete coat of primer, especially if a long drying period for the
stripe coat would allow the uncoated steel to deteriorate.
Tinting of the stripe coat is advisable to promote contrast.
Stripe coating is most effective on edges that are rounded by grinding.
The specification notes that stripe coating is advantageous in preventing coating breakdown on edges, etc., in very corrosive
surroundings, but it is an expensive operation and may only be justified when it is believed that the cost will be compensated for by
extra service life of the coating system.
Is Stripe Coating Necessary?
Stripe coating of edges, bolts, and welds is often specified because liquid paints tend to flow away from these parts. This is a

result of surface tension in the paint film and shrinkage of the paint film during curing.
If this occurs, the paint film at or near the edges will be thinner than elsewhere on the painted surface, and the result can be early
corrosion failure in these areas. This can become a critical issue when the paint is failing on the nuts, bolts, rivets, and welds,
because these are the items holding the structural pieces together.

Edge failure on stiffener that was not stripe coated

Edge failure evident on yellow angle
The benefits of striping are two-fold. First, it tends to fill in small voids, laps, and irregularities in the substrate (such as porosity in
welds). Second, if allowed to cure to the point of tackiness, striping tends to retard the next full coat of paint material from flowing
away from edges.
High-solids paints are less prone to thinning at edges than low-solids paints because they generally have faster setting time,
higher viscosity, and lower surface tension.
At one time, most structural steel painting work was done with low-solids, relatively slow-curing, oil-based (alkyd) materials. The
fact that the industry has moved toward the use of faster setting, higher solids coating materials, which exhibit less tendency to
flow away from edges after application, does not mean that stripe coating is not necessary.
The corrosiveness of the environment will often determine whether stripe coatings are needed. Stripe coating is often considered
most cost-effective in highly corrosive environments such as the insides of tanks and marine or chemical exposures. In moderately
corrosive environments such as those frequently wet by fresh water, coating choice and good control of the application without
stripe coating may be adequate to protect the structure cost-effectively. In mild environments such as those with low humidity or
indoors, striping is not necessary.
Stripe Coating Techniques
Since the original ATB on stripe coating was published in 2001, SSPC has issued SSPC-PA Guide 11, Guide to Protection of
Edges, Crevices, and Irregular Surfaces. Published in 2008, the guide discusses the reasons for employing extra corrosion
protection measures on edges, corners, crevices, bolt heads, welds, and other irregular steel surfaces, as well as various
protection options such as edge grinding, chamfering, and application of stripe coats. Some details, including the advantages and
limitations of specific methods of obtaining additional coating thickness by stripe coating, are described to assist the specification
writer in assuring that the project specification will address adequate corrosion protection.
While Guide 11 should be consulted for projects that may include stripe coating application, each specifier and paint applicator
must interpret the necessity, means, and methods for stripe coating for each individual project.
Therefore, the following information is provided for the reader, based on the authors experiences and interaction with various
paint manufacturers, specifiers, and applicators. This information is not meant to be comprehensive; for more specific questions
on stripe coating application, you should refer to Guide 11.
When Should Stripe Coating be Specified?
Stripe coating should be specified when the history of the structure indicates that edge failure of the paint system has been a
problem. Consideration also should be given to specifying stripe coating in a severely corrosive environment, or if the paint
manufacturer recommends stripe coating.
Is Stripe Coating an Additional Coat of Paint?
Owners and contractors have disagreed about whether stripe coating is an additional coat of paint. That depends on what the
specification says. The need to cover a blast cleaned surface is paramount in corrosive environments. Therefore, the logical
course is to apply the stripe coating after the primer. In this case, the stripe coating is clearly an extra step. On the other hand, in
moderate environments or if there are not a lot of edges, it may be possible to apply the stripe coat just prior to the full primer.
Then the contractor may have workers applying the stripe coat in front of workers applying the primer, and both of them using
paint from the same cans. This process would not necessarily be considered an extra step.
Which Generic Paints Warrant Consideration of Stripe Coating?
For the most part, low-solids/low-viscosity paints (such as alkyds) tend to benefit from stripe coating. In general, fast-setting paints
(such as inorganic zincs) and high-solids/high-viscosity paints (such as epoxy mastics) do not draw away from edges. However,
striping does apply additional coating thickness to edges that might not have received enough paint originally.
Which Coating Layers Warrant Stripe Coating?
Keeping in mind that the primary benefit of stripe coating is compensation for possible reduced coating thickness at sharp edges
and irregularities in the substrate, it is reasonable to conclude that only the primer should be striped. After application of the
primer, substrate irregularities are covered.
Applying stripe coats to all layers of paint can cause more harm than good. Too much paint increases stresses in a coating film,
thereby causing cracking or peeling. The tendency of liquid paint to pull away from edges is reduced once a layer of primer has
been applied. It is quite common to measure 750 micrometers (30 mils) of paint or more on a surface near edges where a three-
coat system of 300450 micrometers (1218 mils) was specified with stripe coating of all three layers.
Should Stripe Coating Be Applied Before or After the Full Coat of Primer?
If a high degree of surface cleanliness is specified, such as SSPC-SP 10/NACE No. 2, Near-White Blast Cleaning (the equivalent
of Sa 2 in ISO 8501-1), the applicator has only a short period of time, depending upon atmospheric conditions, to prime the steel
substrate before flash rusting occurs. To preclude flash rusting, the entire substrate probably should be primed first and the stripe
coating applied later. The stripe coat should then be tinted so that it is obvious where the stripe coat was applied and if any areas
were missed.
Is Thinning Required for the Striping Material?
If stripe coating with a particular paint material is specified, the application data sheet should be consulted for thinning instructions
for the application method selected. For instance, if the stripe coat is to be applied by brush, the thinning instructions for brush
application should be followed. No extra thinning should be done. Too much solvent in the paint, especially when the stripe coat is
applied before the primer, will require more time for the stripe coating to become tacky. Solvent entrapment, bubbling, or pinholing
can occur.
Should a Thickness Be Specified for a Stripe Coat?
Since irregular surfaces are one of the places stripe coating is used, it may be difficult or impossible to get an accurate dry film
thickness reading. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that if total dry film thickness is exceeded by applying both a stripe
coat and a full coat, then film defects may result. To achieve a stripe coat that is not excessively thick, the specifier may require
that the paint be applied to produce a visual color change on the affected areas and not specify a particular wet or dry film
thickness. It should be noted that only a portion of the paint applied directly to an edge flows away, so only a small amount of
additional paint is needed to bring the coating on an edge to the same thickness as on flat surfaces.
What Application Methods Should Be Used for Stripe Coating?
The specifier and applicator must first examine the required qualities of the stripe coating to determine the optimum method of
application. In general, the required qualities of stripe coating are
filling voids and other irregularities in the affected substrate areas;
providing a tacky surface for subsequently applied full coats of paint to adhere to; and
not exceeding the optimum dry film thickness for the stripe coat in combination with the full coat.
Two application methods meet the requirements of these three qualities: brushing and spraying with conventional or air-assisted
airless equipment. The specifier should permit all of these application methods for stripe coating, depending on specific job
conditions. For instance, brushing can be used for stripe coating of small, complex shapes (such as lattice members and bolted
connections), whereas conventional spraying is appropriate for the edges of large structural shapes.
Application methods that can deposit relatively high volumes of paint (e.g., rolling with a heavy nap roller or airless spraying)
should be avoided to prevent excessive dry film thickness and possible film defects. (This assumes that the stripe coating or full
layer of primer is being applied while the underlying material is still tacky. More latitude in application methods can be allowed if a
full layer of primer is applied and allowed to cure until its dry-to-recoat time. Then, the stripe coating can be thought of as an
additional coat of paint being applied to the primer.)
Edge Retentive Coatings
You have probably also heard of edge retention coatings, which claim to have an edge coating thickness similar to that of a nearby
flat plate. The question youre asking is, can I use one of these coatings, or do I still need to carry out stripe coating?
The answer is simplestripe coating still needs to be carried out, as it serves more than one purpose. In addition to increasing the
film thickness at the edge of plates or beams, stripe coating carried out by brush is better at wetting the surface and forcing the
paint into cracks and crevices, over weld beads and bold heads, and other areas which are subject to premature failure.
Striping or stripe coating is used to extend the life of certain paint systems in corrosive environments. It compensates for liquid
coatings that flow away from edges of steel structures, thus reducing the dry film thickness. For stripe coating to be beneficial and
cost-effective, the specifier must consider the configuration of the structure to be painted and the type of paint system to be
applied. Stripe coating should be limited to one coat of paint to avoid overly thick coating systems. Proper stripe coating
application is needed to avoid defects in the paint film that can cause other problems besides early rusting, for which the stripe
coating was applied.
Editors Note: The original ATB on stripe coating was written by Jon R. Cavallo, P.E., of Corrosion Control Consultants and Labs,
Inc. (Eliot, ME) for the May 2001 JPCL. It was slightly updated for this issue by JPCL Technical Editor Brian Goldie.
1. SSPC Protective Coatings Glossary (Pittsburgh, PA, USA: SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings, 2011),
p. 201.
2. SSPC-PA 1, Shop, Field, and Maintenance Painting of Steel (Pittsburgh, PA, USA: SSPC: The Society for
Protective Coatings, April 2000), p. 13.

Comment from Michael Deaton, (2/26/2014, 7:03 AM)

After supervising the 1 million square foot Innerbelt project in Cleveland last year and dealing with the very intense inspection by
Mr. Dave Nolan, owner of Quality Control Services, stripe coating was an essential part of the coatings application. There is over a
half a million bolts on this project and the finish coat is white, therefore the stripe coat must provide a paint tight seal. Painters
utilized 4" cigar or weeny rollers to apply 1st the organic zinc, then macropoxy 646 and finally the acrylic polyurethane to all bolts,
edges, welds, etc. The finish coat only required striping where the airless gun could not access, but both the primer coat and the
intermediate required full striping. This striping was very time consuming and should be factored into any bid.

Comment from Tom Selby, (2/26/2014, 12:49 PM)

It makes more sense to get all blasted surfaces covered with the first coat of paint so that there is no compromising of the quality
of the initial blast. After that coat is dry a contrasting color can be used to stripe coat with a brush or weenie roller.

Comment from Billy Russell, (2/26/2014, 4:35 PM)

3.Testing adhesion of multi-coat system

When should the adhesion of an applied coating or lining multi-coat system be tested?
From Karen Fischer Amstar of WNY
Adhesion testing should be performed for one of two basic reasons:
if the specification calls for it as a qualifying test for acceptance of the coating system, or
if there is a failure or suspected failure in the coating system (material and/or methods) that cannot be evaluated (or fully
evaluated) by non-destructive methods.
One must always keep in mind that an adhesion test is a destructive test, so the resulting test area now becomes a repair that
could, in itself, fail. This is especially important to keep in mind in the case of linings or any system that will be in immersion
service, mechanical service, or a chemical/harsh environmental service. Because it may be necessary to perform adhesion testing
in multiple areas (depending on the size of the suspected areas), there will be multiple repairs. Destructive testing should always
be the last method employed, not the first method, when evaluating a coating for suspected or obvious failure.
From J ames Albertoni CA Department of Water Resources
Some good instances where a multi-coat system should be tested for adhesion include if the re-coat window is missed, if the
topcoat is not specifically recommended by the manufacturer to be compatible with the basecoat, if the basecoat and topcoat are
from two different manufacturers, or if it is suspected one of the coats was mixed slightly off ratio. Most importantly, the system
should always be tested for adhesion if the spec calls for it.
From Daniel Liu APC
First, it will be up the specifier to decide if an adhesion test is required, and, if so, the specification should include not just the
testing requirement but also the acceptance criteria and tester type. From my experience in the field of tank coating, this test is
normally not required in the specification because it is a destructive method. Any repair area creates a weak point in the lining, so
the more repair areas you have, the more weak spots you have.
However, it is quite necessary to make a proper adhesion test recommended by the paint maker when application has or may
have deviated from the specification, such as by exceeding the recoat interval, not maintaining the proper level of humidity, or
using the wrong mixing ratio for plural-component coatings. Adhesion is quite important for tank coatings that are to be immersed
in liquid. But passing the adhesion test does not mean the whole coating system is conclusively qualified for service. The test is
only a reference.
From Tom Swan M-TEST
Its important to note that if an adhesion test is called for in the specification, the document should specify failure criteria as well as
the pull tester to be. All pull testers pull at different rates, and, when I discuss pull tests with most people, they have no idea what
the pass/fail criterion is or what adhesion tester to use.
If you want to use adhesion testing for pass/fail testing, the specifications should specify the minimum pull required and what test
instrument to use. Also note that if you stop the test before the coating fails, there is no guarantee that the pull fixture will not take
off the coating when you try to remove the fixture, nor does passing the test guarantee that the adhesion or coating integrity was
not affected by the pull.
From Manpreet Singh Spiecapag Australia PTY LTD
If the clients specification calls for adhesion testing, the paint system should be simulated on a test specimen of the same material
class, 100 mm
and 6 mm thick. ISO 4624 describes the method of performing the adhesion test. Acceptance criteria, unless
specified by the end user, shall be a minimum of 7 MPA at 23 C, and, at 65 C, no more than 40% decrease from pull-off at 23 C.
From Atanas Cholakov ACT
Adhesion should be tested after the complete cure of the coating system. Information on curing can be acquired from the paint
suppliers technical representative. In the product data sheet, curing is highlighted in a table in accordance with different ambient
temperatures and other conditions.
From Trevor Neale TF Warren Group
Critical service specifications typically call for adhesion testing, so I assume this question relates to field painting where weather
and other delays are often unavoidable and formal adhesion testing is not part if the job/project specification. If there is any
suspicion that adhesion may be compromised, then the appropriate form of adhesion testing is recommended to ensure the
complete system integrity. This is simply a CYA procedure to avoid possible conflicts, or worse, premature failures.

From Bryant Chandler Greenman-Pedersen, Inc.
Adhesion testing on coatings must be done after the proper cure time at the correct temperature. This enables the coating to
develop the full physical properties. If the coating is tested prematurely, the results often will not meet the specified minimum
requirement. The test may or may not be destructive, depending on the thickness of the coating/substrate, and whether or not the
test is continued until coating disbondment.
As called for in ASTM D 7234 (adhesion testing of coatings on concrete), scoring around the dolly down to the substrate will
require a repair even if the test does not go to failure and stops at the minimum test value; a thick coating system (>3040 mils) on
a metallic substrate may require scoring if called for in the specification. If the test can be stopped at the minimum value specified
without causing coating failure, than the dolly can be removed, often times by striking the dolly with a sharp blow from the side or
carefully inserting a sharp 5:1 tool (putty knife) at the glue line and shearing off the dolly. Repairing the top surface may be
required but is much better than having to repair the total coating system.
When testing thermal spray coatings, always perform the adhesion tests before application of the seal coat. Tests performed after
seal coat application will result in test values that are two to three times the value of virgin thermal sprayed coating.

4. The case ofbubbles, and pinholes, and blisters, oh my!
From JPCL, September 2013
J ames D. Machen
PCS, KTA-Tator, Inc.
James D. Machen is a Senior Coatings Consultant with KTA-Tator, Inc., a coatings consulting engineering firm and distributor of inspection
instruments, where he has been employed for over 20 years. Machen is an SSPC-certified Protective Coatings Specialist, a NACE-certified Coatings
Inspector Level 3 (Peer Review), and a Level II Inspector in accordance with ASTM D4537. He performs coating failure analyses, coating system
recommendations, specification preparation, and major project management for a variety of clients in the transportation, water and waste, power
generation, chemical processing, and marine industries. He holds a B.A. from the Pennsylvania State University.
Richard Burgess
KTA-Tator, Inc., Series Editor
This months Case from the F-Files describes the problem of bubbles, pinholes, and blisters in a polyurethane finish coat applied
to new structural steel members at a coal-fired power generation plant. Many of the pinholes and bubbles were so small that they
were difficult to detect with the unaided eye. Many of the largest blisters on the webs of structural members were very flat and
shallow and also difficult to detect by eye. These conditions became more difficult to see overtime as thin layers of dirt from normal
plant operating processes formed on the surface of the polyurethane finish coat. This case file illustrates that interacting variables,
rather than a single cause, can combine to cause a failure.
The specification required that the structural steel be blast cleaned in the shop in accordance with SSPC-SP 6/NACE No. 3,
Commercial Blast Cleaning. Following blast cleaning, a two-coat system, consisting of a moisture cured urethane (MCU) zinc-rich
primer and an aliphatic polyurethane finish, was shop-applied. The MCU primer was specified to be applied at a dry film thickness
(DFT) of 2.5 to 3.5 mils, and the polyurethane finish was to be applied at a DFT of 4.0 to 5.0 mils. The total two-coat DFT was to
be 6.5 to 8.5 mils.

Fig. 1: Sections of newly-coated steel members at a coal-fired power plant displayed blistering and other
signs of coating failure. Photos courtesy of J ames D. Machen, KTA-Tator, Inc.
Field touchup work was specified to be SSPC-SP 2, Hand Tool Cleaning, and/or SSPC-SP 3, Power Tool Cleaning, followed by
the application of a coat of surface-tolerant epoxy mastic (4.0 to 6.0 mils DFT) and a finish coat of polyurethane (4.0 to 5.0 mils
The steel was delivered to the project site for sequenced erection. In mid-summer, near the completion of the project, blistering
and peeling were observed. At that time, the shop contractor mobilized a field team to make repairs. Repairs were reported to
have been performed using low-pressure water cleaning (4,0005,000 psi), in conjunction with hand and power tool cleaning, to
identify and remove defective areas, which were then touchup repaired.
In the spring of the next year, additional coating defects were discovered and field touchup was again performed. However, the
same problems reportedly continued to appear. As a result of the continuing problems, an independent investigation of the coating
problem was undertaken.
Field Investigation

Fig. 2: Close-up of typical concentrations of small, fine blisters in the polyureathane finish
The tests and inspections performed during the field investigation were those typically associated with failure investigations, and
included the following.
A visual assessment was performed to determine the degree and distribution of coating defects (in this instance
bubbles, pinholes, blisters, and peeling).
Total coating thickness was measured using a Type 2 electronic film thickness gage operated according to ASTM
D7091, Nondestructive Measurement of Thickness of Nonmagnetic Coatings on a Ferrous Base.
The number of coatings present and the thickness of each were determined using a destructive coating thickness gage
as described in ASTM D4138, Standard Test Methods for Measurement of Dry Film Thickness of Protective Coating
Systems by Destructive Means. An integral portable microscope (50X) was used to observe a cross-section of the
applied coating. The number of coating layers and thickness of each were measured. Further, evidence of intercoat
contamination, voids, underlying rust, mill scale, and pinholes was recorded.
Adhesion testing was conducted using Method A (X-Cut) of ASTM D3359, Measuring Adhesion by Tape Test. Method A
involves cutting an X through the coating to the substrate using a razor knife. Pressure sensitive tape is placed over
the X-cut, then rapidly removed. The amount of coating detached by the tape is rated in accordance with the ASTM
rating scale. Ratings of 4A and 5A are considered to represent good adhesion, 2A to 3A represent fair adhesion, while
0A and 1A represent poor adhesion.
The coating system was removed in small areas, and the substrate was examined for under-film corrosion or mill scale.
Active under-film corrosion may be associated with the coating failure and may also contribute to a shortened life of the
Coating samples at both failing and non-failing areas were removed for laboratory analysis, and digital images of the typical field
coating conditions were obtained.
Visual Observations
The structural steel consisted primarily of vertical and horizontal I-beam members. Both intact and fractured (peeling) blisters were
observed. Blisters were observed on virtually all members inspected. Some of the blisters appeared to be fractured as a result of
someone physically scraping the areas, while others appeared to have cracked and fractured on their own. Blistering ranged in
size from concentrations of very fine blisters (approximately 1/64 to 1/128 of an inch in diameter) up to single blisters with
diameters of approximately 2 to 3 inches. Both irregularly shaped and circular blisters were observed. The fine concentrations of
blisters were located primarily on beam flanges and in the corner areas where the webs and flanges meet. Larger shallow blisters
were generally located on the webs of the I-beams. The fine blisters and larger shallow blisters on the webs were more difficult to
see, oftentimes becoming visible only when viewed at the proper angle with sunlight hitting the surface after the film of surface dirt
and grime was removed.

Fig. 3: Blisters formed in the polyurethane
finish coat on a flange
Upon scoring around the perimeter of the larger blisters or areas of concentrated fine blisters with a razor knife, the full blister area
could be removed. Upon removal, a portion of the zinc-rich primer remained on the steel surface, and a portion remained attached
to the backside of the removed blister (cohesive break within the zinc primer). Both faces of the split primer films contained a
visible white powder-like residue.
Areas that had been repaired by field touch-up were visible across the structure. Blisters were still visible in some touch-up areas.
It was not apparent if the blisters had reoccurred in the touch-up area or if some of the blisters were not completely removed and
touch-up material was applied over them.
Coating Thickness
The results of the total system thickness measurements from various locations on the structural steel are summarized below.
Minimum DFT (mils): 6.3
Maximum DFT (mils): 15.7
DFT Average (mils): 13.2
Destructive film thickness measurements most often identified two distinct layers of paint on the steel. In some instances where
touch-up repairs had been made, additional coats were apparent, and three to five individual layers were evident. When two coats
were present, the first coat was a metallic gray/green and ranged from 4 to 10 mils; the second coat was dark green and ranged
from 3 to 7 mils.

Fig. 4: Blisters in the polyurethane finish coat on a lateral brace web
Adhesion of the coating system in and immediately around blistered areas was rated poor (0A to 1A rating); however, adhesion of
the coating system in blister-free areas was rated fair to good (3A to 4A rating). The adhesion test process consistently forced a
break within or at the surface of the zinc-rich primer layer.
Substrate Examination
The substrate was examined at destructive film thickness measurement areas and sample acquisition areas. Because a thin layer
of zinc-rich primer remained adherent to the steel surface, a thorough inspection of the underlying substrate was not possible.
However, under 50X power illuminated magnification of the destructive coating thickness gage, a roughened bright metal
substrate was sometimes visible. This evidence suggests that the steel surface had been abrasive blast cleaned.
Laboratory Investigation
The laboratory investigation consisted of visual and microscopic examination, infrared spectroscopy and scanning electron
microscopy-energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS). The test methods and results are described below.

Fig. 5: Formation of whitish-colored zinc salts on the surface of the zinc-rich primer, beneath
areas where the blistered finish coat was removed
Microscopic Examination
Microscopic examination of the samples was conducted using a digital microscope with magnification to 200X. The samples had
between two and five coating layers. Coating layer thickness measurements, obtained by laboratory microscopic methods, are
in Table 1.

Coating Layer Thickness Measurements
Sample # Coating Layers and Thickness (mils)
Sample 1
(Fine Blisters)
Two Layers
Metallic GrayBottom
Sample 2
(Fine Blisters)
Two Layers
Metallic GrayBottom
Sample 3
(Fine Blisters)
Two Layers
Metallic GrayBottom
Sample 4
(Large Blisters)
Two Layers
Metallic GrayBottom
Sample 5
Two Layers
Metallic GrayBottom
Sample 6
(Non-Failing Repair Area)
Five Layers
Light Green
Metallic GrayBottom
Sample 7
(Non-Failing Repair Area)
Four Layers
Metallic GrayBottom
Sample 8
(Single Blister)
Three Layers
Metallic GrayBottom
Infrared Spectroscopy
Infrared spectroscopic analysis revealed the following.
The spectrum obtained of the green top-coat was consistent with a urethane. Water (moisture) and crystalline silica
were also indicated.
The spectrum obtained of the gray primer was most consistent with a zinc urethane. No distinct characteristic bands are
associated with zinc coatings although the baseline noise appearance was consistent with a zinc coating (confirmed by
elemental analysis).
SEM-EDS analysis revealed that the white powdery substance on the gray surface of the primer was primarily zinc. Other
elements detected included magnesium, aluminum, and silicon.
The field investigation and laboratory analysis identified multiple variables that contributed to the blistering coating problems on the
structural steel.

Fig. 6: Close-up of zinc salt formation on the zinc-rich primer
surface, beneath the removed blistered finish coat
The zinc-rich primer used on the project was a MCU material. MCUs react with moisture (atmospheric humidity or other moisture
source) to cure. During the curing reaction with moisture, carbon dioxide gas (CO2) is liberated as a reaction product. The CO2 gas
escapes from the coating film in a process commonly referred to as out-gassing. When a lot of moisture is available, MCUs cure
at an accelerated rate, and CO2 formation and out-gassing increase. When an additional paint layer is applied while the MCU is
still out-gassing, the release of CO2 from the MCU can be inhibited. The gas must now pass out of the MCU and through the newly
applied layer. Depending on the state of drying and curing of the newly applied layer, some CO2 gas may escape, and some may
become trapped in the new film. The CO2 that escapes produces pinholes or craters when the topcoat has begun to gel, while
CO2 that is trapped creates sufficient pressure to form bubbles through the cross-section and at the surface of the new film.
Laboratory microscopic examination of the paint samples consistently revealed that pinholes and bubbles were present in the
green topcoat layer applied over the MCU primer. This evidence indicates that the MCU zinc-rich primer was top-coated with the
polyurethane before the primer had sufficiently cured.
Infrared spectroscopic analysis of the green polyurethane finish coat identified bound moisture within the film. In order for moisture
to become bound within this layer, the moisture would have had to have been present on the MCU zinc-rich primer layer over
which the polyurethane finish was applied. This evidence indicates that the surface of the MCU zinc-rich primer where defects
occurred (i.e., bubbling, pinholes) was damp when the polyurethane was applied.
Field thickness measurements and laboratory microscopic measurements revealed that the MCU zinc-rich primer was often
applied above the specified DFT range of 2.5 to 3.5 mils. Destructive thickness measurements and laboratory microscopic
measurements indicated DFTs of up to 7 mils and 9.9 mils respectively. Excessive primer thickness prolongs the dry and cure
time of the primer; as a result, the CO2 out-gassing is also prolonged, serving to increase the likelihood of pinholes and bubbling.
The polyurethane finish coat was also applied above the specified DFT range of 4.0 to 5.0 mils, with measurements up to 8.7 mils
in some instances. These thicker films could slow the escape of the CO2 or trap it, possibly contributing to increased bubble and
pinhole formation.
The white powdery residue on the backside of the detached blister area and on the substrate was identified as zinc oxide in the
laboratory. Zinc oxide (white rust) is produced as the zinc dust in the primer oxidizes. This finding indicates that the MCU zinc-
rich primer layer was performing as designed: providing galvanic/sacrificial corrosion protection to the carbon steel substrate.
Moisture (rain, condensing moisture) was gaining access to the MCU zinc-rich primer through the voids (i.e., pinholes, fractured
bubbles) in the polyurethane finish coat. The moisture served as the electrolyte, allowing the MCU zinc-rich primer to oxidize.
Moisture condensing on the steel was likely contaminated with sulfides from the coal-fired power generating station. Water-soluble
salts such as sulfides, in combination with moisture, increased the corrosivity of the exposure environment.
The defective areas (i.e., bubbles, pinholes) were identified and removed by high-pressure water cleaning. Industry experience
has shown that water pressures in excess of 4,000 psi are usually effective for revealing and removing defective coatings.
However, because each individual project is unique, some experimentation is needed to arrive at the optimal cleaning pressure. It
was ultimately determined that the best removal method involved the use of a zero-degree, rotating tip on the pressure washer
gun, with careful observation to maintain the equipment manufacturers gun-to-work-piece distance and dwell times. In areas
where pressure washing was not entirely effective, supplemental mechanical cleaning with power tools (i.e., power sanding) was
used. Once the defective coating was completely removed, any coating that remained was probed with a dull putty knife as
described in SSPC-SP 2 and SSPC-SP 3, Hand Tool and Power Tool Cleaning, respectively. Remaining coating that passed the
dull putty knife test criteria was considered tightly adherent for touchup repairs. The periphery of touchup areas was feather-
edged to provide a smooth transition from the repair area to surrounding intact coatings.
Once surface preparation was accomplished, touchup proceeded using the field touchup system, consisting of a coat of epoxy
mastic followed by a matching green polyurethane finish coat.

5. Measuring Dry Film Coating Thickness According to SSPC-PA 2
From JPCL, April 2013
William D. Corbett
PCS, KTA-Tator, Inc.
Bill Corbett is the Vice President and Professional Services Group Manager for KTATator, Inc., where he has been employed
for 33 years. He chairs SSPC committees C.3.2 on Dry Film Thickness and C.6 (Education). He is an SSPC-approved
instructor for four SSPC courses, and he holds SSPC certifications as a Protective Coatings Specialist, Protective Coatings
Inspector (Level 3), and Bridge Coatings Inspector (Level 2). He is also a NACE Level 3-certified Coatings Inspector. He was
the co-recipient of the SSPC 1992 Outstanding Publication Award, co-recipient of the 2001 JPCL Editors Award, recipient of
SSPCs 2006 Coatings Education Award, and recipient of SSPCs 2011 John D. Keane Award of Merit.
Coating thickness shall be measured in accordance with SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings Paint
Application Standard No. 2 (SSPC-PA 2) is a simple enough statement, yet this common specification
requirement is often misinterpreted or regarded as a document that simply states how to measure the dry film
thickness (DFT) of coatings, something we already profess to know how to do. Yet the requirements of
SSPC-PA 2 regarding gage calibration, verification of gage accuracy and adjustment procedures, the number
of measurements to obtain, and the tolerance of the measurements are complex and should be fully
understood by the specification writer before invoking PA 2 in a contract.

On more than one occasion, I have heard the question, When did SSPC-PA 2 and dry film thickness measurement become so
complicated? In fact, when you take a close look, measuring DFT isnt that complex. We have allowed it to become more
technologically complex while making the data easier to analyze. We can gather hundreds of gage readings in a relatively short
time; batch the measurements; print the data or upload it to a computer for graphing; report the highest, the lowest, the mean, and
standard deviation of the collected data; incorporate digital images of the structure or coated area; and even program the gage to
produce an audible signal if a spot measurement is outside of the tolerance range. I am no doubt leaving out other bells and
whistles, but my point is that while we are able to do a lot with the readings obtained, measuring DFT involves four or five basic
Step 1: Instrument Calibration
Step 2: Verification of Gage Accuracy on Certified Coated Standards or Certified Shims
Step 3: Base Metal Reading Acquisition or Gage Adjustment (using certified or measured shims)
Step 4: Measurement of Coating Thickness
Step 5: Correction for Base Metal Reading (if acquired).
After a brief review of the history of SSPC-PA 2, this article will describe each of the five steps, based on the 2012 edition of SSPC-
PA 2. Special attention will be given in the article to how PA 2 addresses the required number of coating thickness measurements;
the acceptability of gage readings, spot measurements, and area measurements; nonconforming thickness; measuring DFT on

William D.
Tator, Inc.
coated edges; and measuring DFT on pipe exteriors.
Some History
SSPC-PA 2 was originally published as a temporary standard 40 years ago in 1973 (73T) as Measurement of Dry Coating
Thickness with Magnetic Gages. The standard referenced gages like the one shown in Fig. 1, which are now all but obsolete. The
standard has been updated on multiple occasions. Until 2012, the most recent technical changes were published in May 2004, with
a minor editorial revision in 2009 to one of the appendices (regarding measurements on test panels). The SSPC Committee on Dry
Film Thickness Measurement began revising and updating the 2004 version in 2007. The revisions took five years to complete. The
latest edition of the standard (Procedure for Determining Conformance to Dry Coating Thickness Requirements) is dated May
2012 and was made available to the industry in July 2012.

Fig. 1: One type of magnetic gage referenced in original SSPC-PA 2
for measuring dft Figures courtesy of the author except where
otherwise indicated
In nearly the same timeframe, the 2005 version of ASTM D7091, Standard Practice for Nondestructive Measurement of Dry Film
Thickness of Nonmagnetic Coatings Applied to Ferrous Metals and Nonmagnetic, Nonconductive Coatings Applied to NonFerrous
Metals was being revised and updated. It, too, was published in 2012. The most current version of the ASTM standard focuses on
proper gage use, while SSPC-PA 2 focuses primarily on the frequency of measurements and the acceptability of the acquired
measurements. References to the frequency of measurements were removed from the ASTM standard. The two documents are
designed to be used together. It is important to note that both documents address the measurement of the DFT of coatings on
ferrous and non-ferrous metal substrates. Before 2012, SSPC-PA 2 addressed measurement of coatings only on steel, a ferrous
metal. (The sidebar on p. 32 in this article summarizes the key changes made to PA 2 in 2012.)
Summary of Changes to SSPC-PA 2: 2004 Version and 2012 Version
2004 2012
Measurement of Dry Coating Thickness with
Magnetic Gages
Procedure for Determining Conformance to Dry Coating Thickness
Addressed measurement of coatings on steel only Addresses measurement of coatings on ferrous and non-ferrous metal
No referenced standards section ASTM D7091 and SSPC Guide 11 included by reference
Definitions section included Calibration; Verification;
Adjustment; Coating Thickness Standard; Shim (foil);
Dry Film Thickness Reference Standard; Accuracy;
Definitions section includes Gage Reading, Spot Measurement and Area
Measurement only. All definitions related to gage calibration, accuracy and
adjustment are incorporated by reference in ASTM D7091. Spot
measurement definition was expanded.
No. of Area Measurements based on the size of the
No. of Area Measurements based on the size of the area of coated
Isolation of nonconforming areas required
measurement of each 100 square foot area painted
during the work shift.
The magnitude of nonconforming thickness assessed by obtaining spot
measurements in eight equally spaced directions radiating outward from
the nonconforming area
Recommended specifying minimum & maximum
thickness range; if no range was specified, thickness
value was considered minimum (with no maximum)
If a single value is specified and the coating manufacturer does not
recommend a range, the minimum and maximum thickness range is
established at 20% of the stated value
Contained a minimum gage accuracy requirement to No minimum gage accuracy requirement to qualify for use
qualify for use
Conformance to Specified Thickness:
Gage Readings: Unrestricted
Spot Measurements: 20% of specified range
Area Measurements: Per Specification
Conformance to Specified Thickness:
Five different Coating Thickness Restriction Levels established. If no
Restriction Level is specified, default is based on 2004 conformance
Notes section contained principles of gage operation
and various substrate/surface conditions that may
affect measurements; overcoating; and correcting for
low/high thickness.
Notes section includes Overcoating and Correcting for Low/High Thickness
only ASTM D7091 describes principles of gage operation and various
substrate/surface conditions that may affect measurements.
Contained 6 appendices Contains 8 appendices. Six appendices from 2004 version included. Added
Method for Measuring DFT of Coating on Edges
Method for Measuring DFT of Coated Steel Pipe Exterior
Gage Types
SSPC-PA 2 addresses two types of DFT gages, both of which are supplied by a variety of manufacturers. Magnetic pull-off gages
are categorized as Type 1 (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Example of magnetic DFT gage categorized as Type 1 in
These gages were designed in the 1950s. While their use has declined, they are still readily available and used by some. For these
gages, a permanent magnet is brought into direct contact with the coated surface. The force necessary to pull the magnet from the
surface is measured and converted to coating thickness, which is displayed on a scale on the gage. The operating principle is
simple. Less force is required to remove the magnet from a thick coating, while more force is required to remove the magnet from a
thinner one. The scale is not linear, as will be discussed below.
Electronic gages are categorized as Type 2 (Fig. 3). These gages use electronic circuitry to convert a reference signal into coating
thickness and are more popular than Type 1 gages. They are typically regarded to be faster, more accurate, and easier to use.

Fig. 3: Example of electronic DFT gage
categorized as Type 2 in SSPC-PA 2
Gage Calibration, Accuracy Verification, and Adjustment
To help assure the reliability of the coating thickness measurements, ASTM D 7091 describes three operational steps that must be
performed before taking the measurements. These steps are (1) gage calibration, (2) verification of gage accuracy and (3) gage
adjustment. The steps are incorporated by reference in SSPCPA 2 and are completed before obtaining coating thickness
measurements to determine conformance to a specified coating thickness range. The steps to verify the accuracy of the gage are
based on the principle that you check the gage by measuring a known thickness before you use the same gage to measure an
unknown thickness. Verification of gage accuracy is typically performed using certified coated thickness standards (for Type 1 or
Type 2 gages) or certified shims (Type 2 gages). Adjustment of Type 2 gages to compensate for substrate characteristics
(described later) is typically performed using certified shims. Measured shims (individually labeled with a stated thickness value)
commonly supplied with Type 2 gages can also be used for gage adjustment.
Dry film thickness gages are calibrated by the equipment manufacturer, its authorized agent, or an accredited calibration laboratory
(under controlled conditions). A test certificate or other documentation showing traceability to a national metrology institution is
required. While there is no standard time interval for re-calibration, an interval can be established based on experience, the work
environment, and/or the internal equipment calibration procedures of the company using the gage. A one-year calibration interval is
a typical starting point suggested by gage manufacturers.
Verifying Gage Accuracy
To guard against measuring with an inaccurate gage, SSPC-PA 2 requires that gage accuracy be verified (at a minimum) at the
beginning and end of each work shift according to the procedures described in ASTM D 7091. If a large number of measurements
are being obtained, the user may opt to verify gage accuracy during measurement acquisition (for example, hourly). If the gage is
dropped or suspected of giving erroneous readings during the work shift, its accuracy should be rechecked.
Verifying the Accuracy of Type 1 Gages
The accuracy of Type 1 (magnetic pull-off) gages is verified by placing the gage probe onto a certified coated thickness standard
(Figs. 4 and 5). A one-point or two-point accuracy verification procedure can be performed; typically, the two-point verification
provides greater accuracy. If a one-point verification procedure is adopted, the coated standard should be selected based on the
intended range of use. For example, if the intended use is between 4 and 6 mils, then a five-mil coated standard is appropriate.
Using the same example, if a two-point verification procedure is adopted, then a two-mil and an eight-mil set of coated standards
(slightly below and above the intended range of use) is appropriate.

Fig. 4: (top) and 5 (bottom) Verifying the accuracy of Type 1 gages
using certified coated thickness standards
The final step in the process is to obtain a set of base metal readings (BMRs) to compensate for substrate characteristics including
(but not limited to) substrate metallurgy, geometry, thickness/thinness, and roughness (Fig. 6). These readings represent the effect
of the substrate conditions on the coating thickness measurement device. SSPC-PA 2 states that a minimum of 10 (arbitrarily
spaced) locations should be measured (one reading per location) and then averaged. This average BMR is then deducted from
subsequent coating thickness measurements to remove any effect of the base metal surface and its conditions.

Fig. 6: Obtaining base metal readings with Type 1 gage
Because Type 1 gages cannot be adjusted, some gage operators believed that a correction value could be applied to the coating
thickness readings to compensate for the inaccuracy of the gage. For example, if a gage reading was 5.7 mils on a five-mil coated
standard, a 0.7-mil correction value could be deducted (by the gage operator) from subsequent coating thickness measurements.
However, because Type 1 gages are non-linear, one cannot assume a linear (mil-for-mil) correction value across the full range of
the gage. While the gage may be out of tolerance by 0.7 mils at 5 mils, it may be out of tolerance by more or less than 0.7 mils at a
different thickness. Accordingly, SSPC-PA 2 states that the practice of using a linear correction value is not appropriate.
However, Note 6 in the standard states, A correction curve can be prepared by plotting the actual gage readings against the stated
values on the (coated) test blocks (standards). Subsequent coating thickness measurements can be corrected by plotting the
measurements along the correction curve. The correction curve may or may not cover the full range of the gage, but should cover
the intended range of use. The Base Metal Readings (BMR) described in 6.1 may also need to be plotted on the correction curve.
This requirement makes Type 1 gages very difficult to use. While some gage operators may simply subtract a fixed amount (for
example, 0.5 mils) from any reading, such a practice is not in compliance with SSPC-PA 2.
Verifying the Accuracy of Type 2 Gages
The accuracy of Type 2 (electronic) gages can be verified by placing the gage probe onto a certified coated thickness standard
(described for Type 1 gages) or certified shims (Figs. 7 and 8). The certified shim should be placed onto a smooth, uncoated metal
surface to remove any effect of the surface roughness during this process. A one-point or two-point accuracy verification procedure
can be performed (as described earlier for Type 1 gages).

Fig. 7: Verifying accuracy of Type 2 gage
on a certified coated standard

Fig. 8: Verifying accuracy of Type 2 gage
using a certified shim
Adjusting Type 2 Gages
The final step in the process is to adjust the gage on the surface to which the coating will be applied. Adjustment is accomplished by
placing a certified or measured shim (or shims) onto the prepared, uncoated metal surface and adjusting the gage (when feasible) to
compensate for substrate characteristics including (but not limited to) substrate metallurgy, geometry, thickness/thinness, and
roughness (Fig. 9). The gage reading is adjusted to match the thickness of the shim, which effectively removes any influence from
the underlying surface.

Fig. 9: Adjusting Type 2 gage using a
measured shim on the surface to which
the coating will be applied
This step sounds reasonably straightforward but poses several hidden challenges. First, once the surface is coated (for example,
with a primer), an uncoated surface may no longer be available for subsequent gage adjustments, so the user may want to have a
similar uncoated surface prepared and reserved for future gage adjustments on a given project. Naturally, this surface must be
representative of the metallurgy, geometry, thickness/thinness, and roughness of the actual surface, which can be a challenging
Second, some Type 2 gages cannot be adjusted. In such cases, the user will need to obtain BMRs from the prepared, uncoated
substrate (described earlier for Type 1 gages). While many Type 2 (electronic) gages have a zero-set function, the gages should
never be adjusted to zero unless the surface is smooth.
Required Number of Coating Thickness Measurements
The section of SSPC-PA 2, Required Number of Measurements for Conformance to a Thickness Specification, causes many users
confusion, which can result in either under- or over-inspection. Arguably the most critical section in the document, Section 8,
describes how many areas to check, the size of the areas, the number of measurements to obtain in each area, and the steps to
take if spot or area measurements do not conform to the specification.
SSPC-PA 2 contains three definitions that are critical to understanding this next area of discussion.
Gage Reading: A single instrument reading.
Spot Measurement: The average of at least three gage readings made within a 4-cm (1.5-inch) diameter circle.
Acquisition of more than three gage readings within a spot is permitted. Any unusually high or low gage readings that are
not repeated consistently are discarded. The average of the acceptable gage readings is the spot measurement.
Area Measurement: The average of five spot measurements obtained over each 10 m
(100 ft
) of coated surface, or
increment (portion) thereof.
An area is defined as approximately 100 square feet. Within each area, five randomly spaced spots are selected. Each spot consists
of a 1.5-inch diameter circle. A minimum of three gage readings is obtained in each spot, culminating in a minimum of 15 gage
readings within an area. Unusually high or low gage readings that cannot be repeated consistently are discarded. The average of
the three acceptable gage readings is the spot measurement; the average of five spot measurements is the area
measurement. Figure 10, from Appendix 1 in SSPC-PA 2, depicts an approximate 100-square-foot area containing gage readings
and spot measurements.

Fig. 10: Approximate 100-square-foot area containing gage readings and spot measurements, as
depicted in Appendix 1 of SSPC-PA 2. Courtesy of SSPC
The number of areas that must be measured for coating thickness varies, depending on the size of the coated area. There are three
categories of coated area: less than 300 square feet; 300 to 1,000 square feet; and greater than 1,000 square feet. For areas
containing less than 300 square feet of coated surface, every 100-square-foot area must be measured for coating thickness. For
areas of coating 300 to 1,000 square feet, three random areas are selected and measured. For areas of coating exceeding 1,000
square feet, three random areas are selected from the first 1,000 square feet, along with one additional area for each additional
1,000 square feet.
Because areas of coating often exceed 1,000 square feet, our example will be based on this third tier (>1,000 square feet). Lets
assume that the total coated area (perhaps the area coated during a work shift, although SSPC-PA 2 does not equate coated area
with work shift) is 12,500 square feet. A total of 15 areas must be measured (three in the first 1,000 square feet and one additional
area in each of the 12 remaining 1,000-square-foot areas or portions thereof). This culminates in a total of 75 spot measurements
(15 x 5) and a minimum of 225 gage readings (15 x 5 x 3). If spot measurement variances result in area measurements that do not
meet the specification, then additional spot measurements are acquired (radiating outward in eight directions from the
nonconforming area) to determine the magnitude of the non-conforming thickness. This process is described later in this article.
Acceptability of Gage Readings, Spot Measurements, and Area Measurements
While individual gage readings that are unusually high or low (and cannot be repeated consistently) can be discarded, there are
limitations on the thickness values representing the spot measurements (the average of three gage readings). A minimum thickness
and a maximum thickness are normally specified for each layer of coating. However, if a single thickness value is specified and the
coating manufacturer does not provide a recommended range of thickness, then the minimum thickness and maximum thickness for
each coating layer are established by SSPC-PA 2 at 20% of the stated value. For example, if the specification requires 3 mils DFT
and the coating manufacturer does not provide any additional information regarding a recommended thickness range, then, by
default, the specified range is established as 2.43.6 mils. Because the coating may not perform at the lower thickness, it is
important for the specifier to indicate an acceptable range for each coating layer. To assist the specifier, the 2012 edition of SSPC-
PA 2 incorporates a Restriction Level Table (Fig. 11). The Table enables the specifier to select from five different restriction levels
related to spot and area measurements.

Fig. 11: Coating Thickness Restriction Levels (as shown in Table 1 of SSPC-PA 2, Section 9)
Courtesy of SSPC
Level 1 is the most restrictive and does not allow for any deviation of spot or area measurements from the specified minimum and
maximum thickness, while Level 5 is the least restrictive. Depending on the coating type and the prevailing service environment, the
specifier can select the DFT restriction level for a given project. The specifier may also invoke a maximum thickness threshold for
Level 5 Spot or Area Measurements for a generic product type and/or service environment that will not tolerate an unlimited
thickness. If no Restriction Level is specified, then the default is Level 3, which is based on the 2004 version of SSPC-PA 2 (what
many users of the standard have become accustomed to).
For the purpose of final acceptance of the total DFT, the cumulative thickness of all coating layers in each area must be no less than
the cumulative minimum specified thickness and no greater than the cumulative maximum specified thickness.
For example, assume that the specification requires a four- to six-mil application of primer. The actual minimum and maximum spot
and area thickness requirements are shown in Fig. 12 for each of the five restriction levels.

Fig. 12: Coating Thickness Restriction Levels Based on a Four-to-Six-Mil Requirement
Derived using the 2012 edition of SSPC-PA 2, Table 1, Coating Thickness Restriction Levels
Determining the Magnitude of Nonconforming Thickness
Another change in the 2012 version of the standard is the procedure for identifying nonconforming areas (Fig. 13). In the 2004
edition, if spot or area measurements were out of conformance, each 100-square-foot area coated during the work shift had to be
measured, and nonconforming areas had to be demarcated. On a larger structure with multiple applicators, the measurement and
documentation process could be extensive, so the approach was changed in the 2012 revision. If a nonconforming area is identified,
spot measurements are made at five-foot intervals in eight equally spaced directions radiating outward from the nonconforming
area, as shown in Fig. 13.

Fig. 13: Depiction of procedure for identifying nonconforming areas, as described in the 2012
edition of SSPC-PA 2.
Courtesy of SSPC
If there is no place to measure in a given direction, then no measurement in that direction is necessary. Spot measurements are
obtained in each direction (up to the maximum surface area coated during the work shift) until two consecutive conforming spot
measurements are acquired in that direction, or until no additional measurements can be made. Acceptable spot measurements are
defined by the minimum and maximum values in the contract documents. No allowance is made for variant spot measurements (for
example, 20%), which is consistent with the practice followed when determining the area DFT.
On complex structures or in other cases where making spot measurements at five-foot intervals is not practical, spot measurements
are taken on repeating structural units or elements of structural units. This method is used when the largest dimension of the unit is
less than 10 feet. Spot measurements are obtained on repeating structural units or elements of structural units until two consecutive
units in each direction are conforming or until there are no more units to test.
Non-compliant areas are demarcated using removable chalk (or another specified marking material) and documented. All of the
area within five feet of any non-compliant spot measurement is considered non-compliant. For a given measurement direction or
unit measurement, any compliant area or unit preceding a non-compliant area or unit is designated as suspect, and, as such, is
subject to re-inspection after corrective measures are taken.
Appendices to the Standard
There are eight appendices in the 2012 version of SSPC-PA 2. Two of the eight appendices were added in 2012 (the remaining
were in the 2004 edition) and are highlighted below. The appendices to SSPC-PA 2 are not mandatory but may be invoked by
contract documents.
Appendix 6: Method for Measuring the Dry Film Thickness of Coatings on Edges
For decades, the industry was cautioned about taking coating thickness measurements within one inch of an edge, let alone on an
edge. However, several Type 2 (electronic) gage manufacturers offer a variety of probe configurations, some of which are less
affected by proximity to edges and are designed to better measure the thickness of coatings on edges (Fig. 14). Obviously, the gage
operator should consult the gage manufacturers instructions before measuring coating thickness on edges.

Fig. 14: One of a variety of Type 2 gage probe configurations
designed to better measure DFT of coatings on edges
Before measuring coating thickness on edges, the user should verify the gage and probe for accuracy by placing a thin, flexible
shim (certified or measured) onto the prepared, uncoated edge. Adjustments to the gage may or may not be required. This
procedure also verifies that the probe configuration will accommodate the edge configuration before acquiring coating thickness
Once verification of accuracy and adjustments are made, a minimum of three gage readings are taken within 1.5 linear inches of
coated edge. The average of the gage readings is considered a spot measurement. The number of spot measurements along the
edge will vary, depending on the total length of the coated edge.
Appendix 7: Method for Measuring Dry Film Thickness on Coated Steel Pipe Exterior
Appendix 7 was added to accommodate pipe coaters that need to determine coating thickness conformance on non-flat (or non-
plate) areas, including smaller pipe sections on a cart or rack and longer pipe spools.
Pipe sections loaded onto a cart or rack can be considered a complete unit (Fig. 15). The total number of spot and area
measurements is based on the total square footage of pipe on the cart or rack. The square footage is calculated as shown on p. 35.

Fig. 15: (top and bottom): Appendix 7 of the 2012 edition of SSPC-PA
2 describes a method for measuring DFT on non-flat steel, such as
pipe sections that can be loaded on racks or carts. Photos courtesy
of Turner Industries Group, L.L.C.
Some carts may have several small pipe sections, and the total coated surface may exceed 100 square feet. In this case, a Pipe
DFT Frequency Factor shown below may be invoked.
Pipe DFT Frequency Factor 2 = (length of each pipe x circumference) x number of pipe sections on cart or rack = (number
of spot measurements) x 2
Pipe DFT Frequency Factor 3 = (length of each pipe x circumference) x number of pipe sections on cart or rack = (number
of spot measurements) x 3
Pipe DFT Frequency Factor 4 = (length of each pipe x circumference) x number of pipe sections on cart or rack = (number
of spot measurements) x 4
Pipe DFT Frequency Factor 5 = (length of each pipe x circumference) x number of pipe sections on cart or rack = (number
of spot measurements) x 5
Pipe DFT Frequency Factor 6 = (length of each pipe x circumference) x number of pipe sections on cart or rack = (number
of spot measurements) x 6
Based on the example above, if Pipe DFT Frequency Factor 4 was invoked, 20 spot measurements would be taken (5 spots x
Frequency Factor 4)
Pipe spools that are not loaded onto a rack or cart are typically measured individually (Fig. 16). The number and locations of spot
measurements are based on Appendix 7s Table A7 (Fig. 17). Three sets of four circumferential spot measurements should be
obtained on pipe spools less than 10 feet in length.

Fig. 16: DFT of pipe spools not loaded on cart or rack are typically
measured individually.

Fig. 17: Number and Locations of Spot MeasurementsPipe Spools (Table A7 from 2012 edition of
SSPC-PA 2, Appendix 7)
Courtesy of SSPC
SSPC-PA 2 has undergone significant changes in an attempt to make it more complete; more in concert with ASTM D7091; easier
to use in the shop and field; and more flexible in providing the specifier with options for coating thickness restrictions based on the
type of structure, the coatings to be applied, and the service environment. SSPC-PA 2 and ASTM D7091 are both undergoing
additional technical and editorial changes to bring them into even greater alignment with one another.
Get the Latest Standards on Dry Film Thickness of Coatings
The 2012 edition of SSPC-PA 2, Procedure for Determining Conformance to Dry Coating Thickness Requirements, is available
from the SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings through, under the Standards tab at the top of the home page.
The 2012 edition of ASTM D7091, Standard Practice for Nondestructive Measurement of Dry Film Thickness of Nonmagnetic
Coatings Applied to Ferrous Metals and Nonmagnetic, Nonconductive Coatings Applied to NonFerrous Metals, is available from
ASTM International through under the Standards at the top of the navigation bar on the site.
Change is never easy. Communicating the new requirements of this standard to the industry is challenging but essential. One
conduit is through training and education. For example, SSPC offers a short course, Using SSPC-PA 2 Effectively, that was
recently updated to reflect changes made to the standard. Free webinars are available through SSPC/JPCL for those who cannot
participate in instructor-led training. Updates to SSPC and other industry-provided inspector training and certification courses (and
the associated instructor education) will be critical to fully understanding and effectively communicating the requirements of this
highly regarded industry standard.

6.Testing the cure of IOZ
From JPCL, April 2013
Is the MEK rub test a conclusive test to check the cure of inorganic zinc coatings?
From Rob Francis Consultant
The solvent rub test for cure of ethyl silicate inorganic zinc (IOZ) coatings, as described in ASTM D4752, is the accepted test for
checking if such a coating is cured. This is especially critical before overcoating, but even a single coat system can dry without
curing if applied under low humidity conditions. Other tests that are used include scraping with the edge of a coin (the Quarter test
in the USA) or simply a fingernail. If significant zinc powder is produced with either test, the coating is considered uncured. However,
these tests are considered more subjective than the solvent rub test.
An uncured coating will result in considerable zinc removal with a few double rubs, while a cured coating will be little affected with
the 50 double rubs required. It should be noted that even a fully cured coating will show some zinc discoloration on the white rag.
While as with any test, it may be possible to get ambiguous results, this test, in most situations, will be definitive, and certainly
superior to any other simple field test. If there is any doubt regarding the cure, leave the coating (if the humidity is high enough) or
water mist it and retest.
From Simon Hope BIS Salamis (M&I)
The MEK rub test is only subjective as proof of cure for IOZ coatings. The test is only valid for the actual area tested and can be
applied to the whole item only by extrapolation of the result.
Confidence in the result can vary wildly, depending on time, humidity, and temperature, because the curing mechanism of IOZ is
totally dependent on the integration of water into the silicate precursor to create the matrix to support the metallic zinc. Hence, the
best advice is that once touch dry, fresh water washing enhances the cure mechanism. High humidity and water washing will give
confidence, and MEK rub then gives verification.
From Gary Hall Consultant
I am answering the question about the MEK test as it relates to testing a coating in the field.
The ASTM test method that pertains to measuring cure of inorganic zinc coatings/primers by solvent resistance is ASTM D4752,
Standard Practice for Measuring MEK Resistance of Ethyl Silicate (Inorganic) Zinc-Rich Primers by Solvent Rub. This method has
been shown to correlate well with the results obtained with an analytical chemical test called diffuse reflectance infrared
spectroscopy, by which the degree of cure of inorganic zinc (IOZ) primers can be accurately determined. It should be noted that the
results of D4752 might not indicate when full cure has been achieved because the coating may become resistant to MEK before full
cure occurs.
A hardness test may also be used if the coating manufacturer can provide the appropriate hardness data. One such test is ASTM
D2240, which uses a Shore durometer. The Shore durometer test gives the amount of indentation made by a specific needle.
Because the ASTM D2240 test will deform the coating surface under the needle, this type of test is best performed on a companion
piece of substrate coated and cured in the same manner as the coating on the substrate on the actual project.
Problem Solving Forum questions and answers are published in JPCL and its sister daily electronic publication, PaintSquare News.
Upcoming questions in JPCL include the following.
Whose responsibility is safety on a bridge coating site?
If an inorganic zinc (IOZ) coating has not fully cured because of low humidity, can water be sprayed onto the IOZ-coated
surface to accelerate the cure?
What action should be taken if an inorganic zinc coating fails the MEK (methyl ethyl ketone) rub test?
What causes amine blush in epoxy topcoats?
Do water treatment processes to stop the transfer of invasive marine species in ballast water affect the performance of
ballast tank coatings?
How soon does metallizing need to be sealed after it is applied to concrete on bridges?
Responses to JPCL questions can be submitted to Readers may also propose questions.
Readers can also respond to PSF questions posted on PaintSquare News and can propose questions on PaintSquare
News at

7. Basics of corrosion of steel for applicators
From JPCL, January 2013
J oe Pikas
A good coating job requires the right steps to be performed to achieve the protection needed. It is important to know why things are
done, as well as how the various steps are performed. A primary reason for using protective coatings is corrosion protection.
For the purposes of this series, corrosion of steel is defined as the destruction of steel by an electrochemical process that is
characterized or recognized by the formation of rust or pits. To understand how protective coatings protect a steel surface, the
nature of corrosion must be understood why it occurs and how it can be prevented.
Steel is manufactured by taking the mined ore and adding a large amount of energy to it in the blast furnace. This produces an
unstable metal. Nature does not like all that energy stored in the steel. So upon exposure to the atmosphere, especially moisture
and oxygen, this energy is released, and the iron returns to its natural stable stateiron ore. Rust, therefore, is nothing more than a
pure form of iron ore (oxides). Protection of steel from corrosion involves methods to retard this natural release of energy (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: One approach to slowing the natural corrosion of steel and appearance of
rust is the use of protective coatings.
Courtesy of JPCL
To understand how coatings protect steel, we must understand the four conditions required for corrosion to occur. Unless all four of
these conditions are present, corrosion will not occur. These four conditions are:
a positive pole (a cathode),
a negative pole (an anode),
an electrical conductor, and
an electrolyte.
The terms anode and cathode have technical definitions in electrochemistry, but for our purposes, we will use them to refer to
areas on a substrate or materials of different electrical potentials. The electrical conductor is a means of conducting electricity,
similar to the copper wiring in your house. An electrolyte is a liquid solution (usually water) that also can conduct electricity.
To help illustrate these terms and how corrosion happens, lets look at the dry cell (battery). A battery represents a beneficial use of
corrosion, though the process is the same as corrosion that occurs with steel.
A battery has two terminals. Typically, one is connected to a carbon rod running down the center of the battery, while the other is
connected to the outer casing, which is made of zinc. These are the two dissimilar materials of different electrical potential, which
serve as cathode and anode. If you have ever taken a battery apart, you would have seen that there is a pasty material between the
casing and the carbon rod. This substance is the electrolyte.
If you wanted to use the battery, you would connect the wires to something such as a flashlight. The wires are the electrical
conductor. Once the wires are connected, the flashlight will keep on glowing until the battery has become corroded. In the battery, it
is actually the zinc casing that is consumed and corroded.
How does this example of a battery relate to corrosion of steel? You would see that steel is not a smooth, uniform material if you
looked at it under high magnification (Fig. 2). It actually consists of very small grains or grain boundaries. This means that steel has
spots on it with slightly different electrical potentials.

Fig. 2: Peaks and valleys of profiled clean steel
Courtesy of KTA-Tator
Adding stresses to the steel also creates areas of different electrical potential. This normally occurs by such processes as
differential heating of the steel during treatment, bending or cutting the steel, or even hitting it with a hammer. Any of these
processes adds small amounts of energy to the steel. So by its very nature, steel contains spots of different electrical potential, or
anodes and cathodes.
What about the electrical conductor? This was the wire in the example of the battery.
Does steel conduct electrical current? It certainly does, so wires are not needed. As you can see from this explanation, steel
contains anodes and cathodes, and is an electrical conductor. It already contains three of the four conditions necessary for
The fourth condition needed is the electrolyte or liquid that can conduct electricity. Where does it come from? Normally, atmospheric
moisture that condenses on the surface serves as an electrolyte. It can be in the form of rain, dew, or simply humidity in the air.
Some structures either are used to hold water or are used in water. They are constantly exposed to an electrolyte.
Our atmosphere is laden with moisture at all times, even in desert areas, although to a esser degree. Most steel surfaces are
exposed to dew at night and water vapor during the daytime hours in addition to the normal rainfall. In highly industrial areas such
as Houston, Los Angeles, and New York, airborne chemical contaminants contain substances called ions.
The point to be made is that steel (like most other manufactured metals) contains three of the four conditions needed for corrosion.
The most common way to slow down corrosion is to isolate the steel from the electrolyte. Therefore, the major function of the
coating is to keep moisture off the steel. Some coatings, such as zinc primers, perform other functions, which will be discussed in
subsequent Bulletins.
There are a few common forms of corrosion that a painter will see regularly: general corrosion, galvanic corrosion, pitting corrosion,
and crevice corrosion. General corrosion takes place fairly evenly over the metal. Usually, it begins as spots or freckles and
becomes progressively worse.
Galvanic corrosion occurs when dissimilar metals are in contact. The more active metal (the anode) corrodes to protect the less
active metal (the cathode). For example, if a brass valve were connected to a steel pipe, the steel would corrode to protect the
brass. The steel at the fitting would be consumed rather quickly, first appearing as a thinning of the metal and ultimately resulting in
penetration. Another example of galvanic corrosion is mill scale on steel. Steel is more active than mill scale, so when corrosion
conditions are present, the steel will corrode to protect the mill scale.
Pitting corrosion occurs when the corrosion forces are concentrated in a small area. Metal loss is into the steel rather than over the
surface. The rust pits that form have serious consequences because the pits represent metal section loss. This can result in
perforation if the structure is a tank or a vessel, and loss of structural integrity no matter what the structure is.
Crevice corrosion (Fig. 3) is another common form seen on structures, and occurs when there is a small space between structural
elements, be they metal-to-metal or metal-to-non-metal. Examples of places where crevice corrosion can occur are back-to-back
angles, where steel plates overlap, around rivets and bolts, near tack welds, and any other place where a small opening is present.
What happens is that moisture gets into the crack and completes the corrosion circuit. The moisture gets trapped in the crevice and
accelerates the corrosion compared to the surrounding area. The corrosion reactions are greatest at the bottom of the crevice, so
metal loss is concentrated in that area.

Fig. 3: Severe corrosion is seen at a weld seam.
Courtesy of KTA-Tator
There are many other forms of corrosion that a painter may see, including microbiologically influenced corrosion (deep isolated
pitting as shown in Fig. 4), cavitation corrosion, or erosion corrosion, to name a few. In most of these cases, the corrosion reaction is
accelerated by another factor beyond the general corrosion reaction explained above.

Fig. 4: Microbiologically influenced corrosion on piece of
steel pipe
Courtesy of the author
To stop corrosion, all that is needed is to eliminate one of the factors that produce the reaction. It is impossible to eliminate the
environment, and it is cost-prohibitive to make steels that corrode at a slow rate. Therefore, coatings are often used to prevent
corrosion by eliminating contact between the environment (electrolyte) and the steel substrate. Coatings are therefore a barrier
A coating may also be applied to enhance appearance. However, to protect against corrosion for a period of time, it is necessary for
coatings to possess features that make them effective barriers.
By isolating steel from the electrolyte, a good protective coating can prevent corrosion for extended periods of time. The better the
application, the longer the coating will serve its useful purpose.
On the other hand, a poor coating job may lead to the expense of premature failure, which requires reblasting and recoating. On
large projects, such premature failure can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Good coating work can also save steel
structures from unnecessary and costly deterioration. It is estimated that the cost of corrosion in the U.S. each year runs in the
billions of dollars. Your work as an applicator can help significantly to reduce these losses.
Upcoming Applicator Training Bulletins
The following are among the upcoming Applicator Training Bulletins.
Basics of Corrosion and Coatings
How Coatings Protect Steel
Basics of Concrete Deterioration for Applicators
How Coatings Protect Concrete
Surface Preparation
Why Surface Preparation Is Important
Introduction to Surface Preparation of Concrete
Mechanical Methods of Preparing Concrete
Chemical Cleaning of Concrete
Power Tool Cleaning for Steel
Using Paint Strippers on Steel and Concrete
Setting Up Air Abrasive Blasting Systems
Techniques of Air Abrasive Blasting
Containing Dust and Debris during Air Abrasive Blasting
Setting Up and Operating Wet Blasting Equipment
Using High Pressure Waterjetting
Product and Application Data Sheets
Mixing and Thinning Paint
Basic Training in Brush and Roller Application
The Basics of Conventional Air Spraying
Using High Volume, Low Pressure Spray Equipment
Using Airless Spray Equipment
Introduction to Plural Component Spraying
Applying Two-Pack Epoxies and Polyurethanes
Applying Zinc-Rich Coatings
Applying Water-Borne Coatings
Applying High Solids Coatings
Applying Polyureas
Applying Floor Coatings and Toppings
Special Concerns about Applying Coatings in the Shop
Quality Control
The Effects of Weather on Cleaning and Coating Work
Conforming with Job Requirements
Records of Work and Working Conditions
Why Good Housekeeping Is Important
Assessing Surface Cleanliness and Profile
Assuring Quality during Abrasive Blasting
Assessing Quality of Wet Methods of Surface Preparation
Computing Film Thickness and Coverage
Measuring Dry Film Thickness
Measuring Adhesion of Coatings
Recognizing and Correcting Paint Application Deficiencies
Quality Control in Coating Concrete
Safety and Health
Safety Considerations for Abrasive Blasting
Anticipating Job Hazards
Respiratory Protection: Hazards and Equipment
Fit Testing Procedures for Respirators
Job Hazards during Climbing and High Work
An Introduction to Confined Spaces
Identifying and Controlling Job Hazards When Working around High Voltage
Using Lighting Safely
Protection against Worker Exposures during Hazardous Paint Removal
Safety for Applicators Working near Process Equipment
Safety with Solvents and Paint Strippers
Where To Get Help in Safety and Health
Editors Note: This article marks the return of JPCLs Applicator Training Bulletin, a series first published from 1988 to 1992. The
series was intended to help industrial contractor firms train blasters and painters. The original series was developed and written by
the Coatings Society of the Houston Area in collaboration with SSPC, and Lloyd Smith edited it. The series was subsequently
collected in one volume. From 1992 to 1993, a separate series on safety was developed and written under the direction of KTA-
Tator. In 1997, the series was updated and expanded. Beginning this month, the series will again cover the basics of corrosion,
surface preparation, application, quality control, and safety. The series will be updated and expanded where necessary. Because
the basic theory of corrosion, how coatings protect steel, and the importance of surface preparation have changed little since 1988,
some of the original articles will also appear with minor revisions, including this first one on what applicators need to know about
corrosion. Written by Joe Pikas, with Transco Corporation at the time, the article was first published in the July 1988 JPCL, then
updated and re-published in the April 1997 JPCL.

8. Can in-process QC prevent premature coating failures?
From JPCL, January 2013

PCS, KTA-Tator, Inc.
Bill Corbett is the Professional Services Business Unit Manager for KTA-Tator, Inc., where he has been employed for 31
years. He is an SSPC-approved instructor for three SSPC courses, and he holds SSPC certifications as a Protective
Coatings Specialist, Protective Coatings Inspector, and Bridge Coatings Inspector. He is also a NACE Level 3-certified
Coatings Inspector. He was the co-recipient of the SSPC 1992 Outstanding Publication Award, co-recipient of the
2001 JPCL Editors Award, recipient of SSPCs 2006 Coatings Education Award, and recipient of SSPCs 2011 John D.
Keane Award of Merit.
Richard Burgess
Series Editor, KTA-Tator, Inc.
For decades we have heard that the incidence of premature coating failure would decline by explicitly
requiring the contractor to control the quality of workmanship (via contract document language) using
properly trained (and equipped) quality control personnel. In this Case from the F-Files, well take a brief
look at five case history failures and assess whether quality control inspection of the work as it proceeded
could have prevented the failure from occurring, or whether it would have happened despite the efforts of
knowledgeable quality control personnel.
Defining Quality Control
The ISO definition states that quality control is the operational techniques and activities that are used to fulfill requirements for
quality.1 This definition could imply that any activity, whether serving the improvement, control, management, or assurance of
quality could be a quality control activity. Quality control is a process for maintaining standards and not for creating them. Standards
are maintained through a process of selection, measurement, and correction of work, so only the products or services that emerge
from the process meet the standards. In simple terms, quality control prevents undesirable changes in the quality of the product or
service supplied. The simplest form of quality control is illustrated in Fig. 1. Quality control can be applied to particular products; to
processes that create the products; or to the output of the whole organization, by measuring its overall quality performance.

Fig. 1: The generic control process
Figure and photos courtesy of KTA-Tator
Quality control is often regarded as a post-event activity, that is, a means of detecting whether quality has been achieved and taking
action to correct any deficiencies. However, one can control results by installing sensors (e.g., inspection check points) before,
during, or after the results are created. It all depends on where you install the sensor, what you measure, and the consequences of

The Joint Certification Standard for Shop Application of Complex Protective Coating Systems (AISC SPE/SSPC-QP 3 420-10)
defines quality control as the inspection of work. Inspection includes but is not limited to confirming that procedures are met; workers
are properly qualified; equipment is appropriate and in acceptable working order; and the proper materials are used and are in
compliance with inspection criteria.
Lets take a look at a few case studies to see whether implementation of a quality control program using trained, properly equipped
inspectors makes a difference.
Case Study No. 1: Mirror, Mirror
Background: A contract was awarded to remove and replace the existing coating system on a large riveted structure. The
specification required abrasive blast cleaning to achieve a Near-White blast (SSPC-SP 10/NACE 2), followed by two coats of a
polyamide epoxy (standard gray) and one coat of polyurethane topcoat. Six months after the contract was completed, corrosion was
observed (Fig. 2).

William D. Corbett,
PCS, KTA-Tator,

Fig. 2: Corrosion products on the back sides of the rivets and edges
after six months service
Cause: Corrosion products remained on the back side of the rivets that were not subjected to direct impact by the abrasive stream
during blast cleaning. The coating was also applied from one direction, causing thin areas of coating on the back side of the rivets
and the adjacent flat areas of the steel plate. Inadequate attention was given to the coating along the edges.
Avoidance Through Quality Control Inspection? The QC inspector should have carefully examined the difficult access areas
after surface preparation and application of each coating layer. As a general rule, if the quality control inspector has difficulty
accessing the areas, then the coating applicators likely had difficulty as well. Verifying coverage on an abrasive blast-cleaned
surface with a gray coating can be challenging. Good lighting and the use of an inspection mirror would likely have revealed the
missed areas. The specifier could have selected a contrasting color for the primer and may have required stripe coating in these
areas (in accordance with SSPC-Guide 11) to help protect the edges.
Case Study No. 2: The Fix is in, and Thats the Problem!
Background: The project specification required abrasive blast cleaning to achieve a Near-White blast (SSPC-SP 10/NACE 2), and
the application of a single coat of an inorganic zinc primer to piping. Surface preparation and coating application were performed in
the shop. Once the piping was installed in the field, damaged areas (caused by the installation) were abrasive blast cleaned and
touched up with an organic (epoxy) zinc-rich primer. All of the touch-up areas performed well. However, within one year, portions of
the piping showed extensive pinpoint rusting and rust-through.
A closer examination of the pipe (Fig. 3) shows one of the rusted areas, with the edge of a repair area also shown (left portion
of Fig. 3). As illustrated, the repair area is performing well, but the surrounding area is exhibiting rusting.
Cause: When repairing damaged areas, the blaster failed to start and stop the flow of abrasive from the blast nozzle when moving
from one damaged area to another. Instead, the blast nozzle was moved to the next location while the abrasive was still flowing at
maximum pressure, which caused considerable damage to the coating. This is apparent in Fig. 3, where a round patch of coating
had been effectively removed by the abrasive impact, with the surrounding area nicked by the abrasive.

Fig. 3: Close-up of rusted area, with the edge of a
repair area also shown on above
Because the zinc primer is essentially the same color as the steel, the damage went unnoticed until the electrolyte (water) contacted
the surface and caused the formation of corrosion.
Avoidance Through Quality Control Inspection? Many would point to a misplaced repair procedure as the culprit in this case;
and perhaps, even with diligence, the overblast damage may have been unavoidable. However, during the start-up of the repair
procedures, the QC inspector should have observed the abrasive blast cleaning operations, recognized the potential for overblast
damage, and discussed the issue with the owner/specifier before work continued. The owner and inspector could have discussed
alternative methods of preparation. Anticipating potential problems and proposing resolutions before a widespread problem occurs
are intangible values that quality control inspection can bring to a project.
Case Study No. 3: You Know What They Say: Dry Heat Is More Comfortable
Background: The project specification required abrasive blast cleaning to achieve an SSPC-SP 10/NACE 2 Near-White blast and
the application of an inorganic zinc primer to structural steel components in the fabrication shop. Application of the intermediate coat
was also performed in the shop, while the topcoat was scheduled for application in the field after erection and bolting of the steel.
The work was done in the winter, and the shop was heated. The fabricators quality control specialist kept documentation revealing
that the shop coating had conformed to the thickness and recoat times recommended by the coating manufacturers technical
representative, who visited the shop during coating application. The steel was loaded onto trucks and shipped to the site. When the
coated steel arrived at the construction site, spontaneous cracking of the coating along the fillet weld (where the web and flange are
joined) was discovered (Fig. 4). Figure 5 illustrates the spontaneous cracking and lifting along the fillet, and the poor adhesion of the
coating system on the top of the bottom flange. Examination of a disbonded coating chip revealed the presence of zinc primer on
the back side of the chip and on the steel surface, indicating that the location of break was cohesive within the zinc primer.

Fig. 4: Spontaneous cracking of the coating along the fillet weld

Fig. 5: Poor adhesion of the coating on the top of the bottom flange
Cause: Ethyl silicate inorganic zinc-rich primers require moisture to cure. In this case, insufficient time was allowed before the
application of the epoxy midcoat. Once the epoxy was applied, no more moisture could react with the primer because the epoxy
sealed off the primer. The zinc primer remained in a dry but uncured (and weakened state). The solvents from the epoxy midcoat
penetrated the uncured primer, and the contractive curing stresses imparted by the epoxy caused the zinc primer to cohesively split.
Because a web and flange are adjacent to one another, the thickness of the epoxy was slightly higher along the fillet weld area. The
higher thickness exacerbated the problem and resulted in the cracking and detachment. When other areas were evaluated, it
became evident that the entire system was at risk for failure.
Avoidance Through Quality Control Inspection? Inorganic zinc-rich primers dry very quickly (especially in a heated
environment); however, they may not cure for many hours or even days if the humidity is too low within the prevailing environment.
The key is to verify that temperature and humidity (listed on the product data sheets) are present in the shop before application and
to verify the cure has been achieved, rather than relying on cure time tables provided by the coating manufacturer, or assuming that
drying and curing are synonomous. Quality control inspection by the fabricator should have included a curing test. In fact, there is
one specifically designed for the primer in this case study (ASTM D4752, Measuring MEK Resistance of Ethyl Silicate (inorganic)
Zinc-Rich Primers by Solvent Rub). Once a resistance rating of 4 or 5 is achieved (after 50 double rubs), the zinc-rich primer can
be considered cured and ready for recoating. Some manufacturers rely on pencil hardness data instead of solvent resistance to
assess cure. Either way, a competent QC Inspector knows how specific coating types cure, the conditions necessary for the
reactions to occur, and the tests available to verify coating film properties before applying the next coating.
Case Study No. 4: A Pictures Worth Thousands of $$$
Background: The project specification required abrasive blast cleaning to achieve a Commercial Blast (SSPC-SP 6/NACE No. 3)
and the application of a single coat of alkyd primer in the joist fabrication shop. The joists were shipped to the project site, where
they were stored outdoors (on the ground) for six months. Corrosion was visible within six months (Fig. 6).
Cause: SSPC-SP 6/NACE No. 3 requires removal of all mill scale. The surfaces may have staining from mill scale (provided it does
not exceed 33% of each 9 square inches). In this case, the pock marks in Fig. 6 clearly indicate that mill scale was left on the
surface and coated over. The hollow areas represent those locations where the mill scale was removed, while the surrounding
areas contain mill scale. The areas containing mill scale exhibit corrosion products. In a mild environment (and with the proper
thickness), this system should have lasted longer than six months. However, the application of a thin (3- to 5-mil) film alkyd primer
combined with damp storage conditions led to water permeation of the alkyd. The result was the formation of a corrosion cell at the
mill scale/steel interface. Mill scale is cathodic to steel, which means that the base steel becomes the anode in the corrosion cell
and begins to deplete, generating the corrosion products. Ironically, had the joists been stored indoors (or installed upon receipt),
the lack of quality may have never been revealed, because it is unlikely that corrosion would have occurred due to the lack of
Avoidance Through Quality Control Inspection? Careful visual inspection of the steel surfaces by the quality control inspector
after surface preparation (including the use of SSPC-VIS 1) would have revealed the presence of mill scale, which is not permitted
by the specified cleanliness standard. That is, quality control personnel need to know industry standards and need to use tools (in
this case, visual guides) for help in making intelligent decisions. While additional surface preparation before application of the primer
would have required additional labor and more abrasive, it would have been done at a significantly lower cost than the cumulative
costs associated with the failure investigation, transportation of the joists back to the fabrication shop (and then back to the project
site once the rework was done), the material and labor costs associated with re-application of the primer, and potential for liquidated
damages due to project schedule delays.

Fig. 6: Corrosion of steel beneath alkyd primer evident within six months
Case Study No. 5: Hey! I Followed the Spec; It Wasnt My Fault.
Background: The underside of a viaduct containing an aged lead alkyd coating was brush-off abrasive blast cleaned to remove
loosely adhering corrosion and paint (SSPCSP 7/NACE No. 4), followed by the application of an epoxy mastic overcoat. Figure
7 illustrates the condition of the coating prior to abrasive blast cleaning. Figure 8 illustrates lifting of the old alkyd by the epoxy
mastic overcoat. The number 10 written on the coating in Fig. 8 is in an area where the epoxy mastic was applied directly to the
steel, rather than the aged lead alkyd. Directly beneath that area is an area where the mastic had lifted the alkyd, and was removed
by scraping during the failure investigation. The area beneath the hand in the same photo represents epoxy mastic applied over the
aged lead alkyd. This area was not probed during the investigation.

Fig. 7: Condition of the coating on the underside of the viaduct
before brush-off blast cleaning
Cause: The aged lead alkyd coating was in poor condition, as illustrated by Fig. 8. While brush-off abrasive blast cleaning removed
the loosely adhering materials, the impact of the abrasive on the intact alkyd weakened (fractured) it, but did not affect it enough to
consider it loose by the dull putty knife test. Application of the epoxy mastic imparted curing stresses that weakened the cohesive
strength of the aged lead alkyd, causing it to lift and disbond from the surface.

Fig. 8: Area where epoxy mastic was applied directly to the steel rather than the aged
Avoidance Through Quality Control Inspection? Because the QC inspector does not have the authority to change the
specification, this project was doomed from the minute the work was awarded. Even though the QC inspector may have questioned
the specification, it is doubtful that that owner would have altered the spec unless the fracturing of the aged lead alkyd had been
visible to the unaided eye and the inspector had informed the owner of the damaged coating. Inspection personnel cannot use
magnification (according to the SSPC Surface Preparation Standards).
So while it appears that controlling quality as the work is performed reduces the opportunity for coating failure, quality control cannot
be a substitute for a well-written specification, quality coating materials, and quality workmanship.
1. THE JOURNAL OF PROTECTIVE COATINGS & LININGS 2013 Technology Publishing Company

9.New SSPC Standard Helps Determine Compliance with Profile
From JPCL, December 2012
Aime Beggs
SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings
Aime Beggs is SSPCs standards development specialist as well as SSPCs technical committee liaison. She has worked for SSPC for 32 years. She
has written and co-written articles for JPCL on SSPC surface preparation and visual standards. Aime was the recipient of the SSPC Executive
Directors award in 2010.
Heather Stiner
SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings
Heather Stiner is the staff technical expert on protective coatings at SSPC. She also performs technical writing, contributes articles to the JPCL,
responds to scientific inquiries, and acts as a technical resource for SSPC members. Heather is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, and is a
member of the American Chemical Society, ASTM, and NACE.
Steel surface profile, sometimes referred to as anchor pattern, is the textured surface (resembling a series
of peaks and valleys when viewed under magnification) that results from abrasive blast cleaning or power
tool cleaning to bare metal. The peaks and valleys of the profile provide additional surface area to enable a
protective coating to mechanically bond to the substrate. To enable the coating to adhere to the substrate as
well as provide a continuous protective film, the depth between peaks and valleys, along with the number of
peaks in a given area, must be carefully controlled. Most coating manufacturers provide a recommended
surface profile range on their product data sheets. Project specifications may also contain these
requirements, or reference those provided by the coating manufacturer. A recently issued (September 2012)
SSPC standard, SSPC-PA 17, Procedure for determining conformance to Steel Profile/Rough
Roughness/Peak Count Requirements, complements existing ASTM standards for measuring surface
profile and roughness. SSPC-PA 17 does not replace the existing ASTM standards. This article will review
current standards for measuring surface profile features and describe the development as well as the use of
SSPC-PA 17 to determine compliance with project specifications.
ASTM Standards for Measuring Steel Surface Profile or Surface Roughness
Over the years, a number of instruments have been developed to measure surface profile. ASTM Committee D01 has issued two
standard test methods describing instruments and their proper use to measure steel profile.

Courtesy of KTA-Tator
ASTM D 4417, Standard Test Methods for Field Measurement of Surface Profile of Blast Cleaned Steel, describes 3
methods and provides procedures for use of each.
Method A describes the use of a profile comparator, a metal replica containing several segments representing degrees of
roughness that can be visually or tactilely compared with the surface being evaluated. This method requires reporting the
range of results from an unspecified number of locations on the surface as the surface profile.
Method B describes the use of a depth micrometer, a gage that contains a pointed probe to measure the distance
between a single valley and the peaks of the profile. The mean of ten gage readings is recorded. The mean of all
locations (number is unspecified) measured on the surface is reported as the profile of the surface.
Method C describes use of a special tape containing a compressible foam attached to a non-compressible uniform plastic
film. The tape is pressed onto the steel surface to create a negative impression of the surface. The impression is then
measured with a specially designed micrometer. One gage reading is taken on each of three pieces of tape, and the
mean of the three readings is determined for that location. The mean for all locations measured (number is unspecified) is
reported as the surface profile.
ASTM D 7127, Standard Test Method for Measurement of Surface Roughness of Abrasive Blast Cleaned Metal Surfaces
Using a Portable Stylus Instrument, describes the use of a portable stylus instrument (often referred to as a
profilometer). The stylus is used to determine the number of peak and valley pairs, as well as the distance between the
highest peak and the lowest valley encountered during each of five traces over the surface being assessed. Averages of
each measurement parameter are reported, but the standard does not contain requirements for reporting surface profile
Rationale for Development of the SSPC Standard

Heather Stiner
Although both of the above ASTM standards provide recommendations for the number of instrument readings required to
characterize the surface profile, neither standard provides acceptance criteria to determine whether the profile over the entire
prepared surface is within the specified range. The frequency, location, and number of measurements to determine compliance, as
well as the method of profile measurement, are left to the specifier.
In 2008, SSPC formed a technical committee, chaired by Heather Stiner, SSPC Protective Coatings Professional, to develop a
standard that defined a procedure for determining compliance with specified profile ranges and that complemented the information
in the ASTM D4417 and D7127 standards. The SSPC committee consisted of representatives of coating manufacturers, painting
contractors, manufacturers of profile measurement gages and equipment, facility owners, inspectors, and protective coating
consultants. Members of the ASTM committees that developed D4417 and D7127 also participated.
Options for Determining Compliance
The Process Control Method
The committee recognized that many production factors contribute to the size and angularity of surface profile, including: equipment
used; size, hardness, and shape of abrasive media; type of steel; and accessibility of the surface, among others. Because any of
these variables can change frequently during the production process, the first drafts of the proposed standard were based on
process control requirements. The process control requirements call for the contractor
to produce a four-foot square field standard that meets the project specification,
to measure the profile of the field standard, and
to verify compliance of the field standard with project requirements.

Example of portable stylus instrument that measures
surface roughness and peak count as described in
ASTM D7127. Courtesy of KTA-Tator.
Following the owners acceptance of the field standard, the contractor must verify continued compliance with project requirements
by taking an additional profile measurement each time any of a number of specified processes changes occurs during the project. A
final profile measurement is taken following completion of production to verify compliance.

Compressible tape and micrometer described in ASTM D4417 Method
C. The burnishing tool is used to compress the emulsion on the
underside of the polyester film. Courtesy of KTA-Tator.
However, some committee members argued that the process control method would create unacceptable levels of documentation
and work stoppages because of the number of production factors requiring verification of continued compliance. Other committee
members argued that specific requirements for frequency, number, and location of measurements to verify compliance were
needed, and suggested a different approach, based on SSPC-PA 2: Procedure for Determining Conformance to Dry Film Thickness
Requirements. The approach based on SSPC-PA 2 was adopted by the committee, and the process control method was moved
out of the body of the standard into an appendix, giving specifiers the option of substituting it for the PA-2 Method below.

Surface profile comparator as described in ASTM D 4417 Method A.
Courtesy of KTA-Tator.
The PA-2 Method
The SSPC-PA 2 standard requires averaging three dry film thickness gage readings within a 1.5-inch circle to obtain a spot
measurement, then averaging five spot measurements within a 100-square-foot coated area to determine compliance. The
number of 100-square-foot areas measured to ascertain compliance is determined by the size of the total area coated.
Modifications for PA 17
Because various methods of surface preparation may be used on a substrate during a given work shift, and each method will
generate profile in a different way, the PA 17 standard requires that the profile created by each piece of equipment during a single
work shift (12 hours or less) be verified in three locations, regardless of the size of the area prepared.

Electronic depth
micrometer as
described in ASTM
D4417 Method B.
Courtesy of Elcometer.
The PA 17 standard requires averaging individual instrument readings within each of three randomly selected 6x6-inch locations on
the prepared surface to generate a location average for that location. PA 17 requires reporting the highest and lowest location
averages, and the average of the three location averages. Each location average must fall within the specified profile range.

Electronic depth micrometer as described in
ASTM D4417 Method B, showing probe.
Courtesy of KTA-Tator.
Using PA 17 to Determ ine Compliance with Specified Profile
Step 1: Identify the method used to take readings from the surface. This could be any of the three methods in ASTM D 4417, or
ASTM D 7127 could be specified. ASTM D 4417 Method C (tape) will be used for this example, as it is one of the most frequently
specified methods.
Step 2: Identify the pieces of equipment used to prepare the surface during a particular shift. If nozzles from Blast Pot A and Blast
Pot B were used to prepare the majority of the surface, and a power wire brush was used to clean several areas that could not be
reached by nozzle blasting, verification of the profile in areas prepared by Blast Pot A, Blast Pot B, and the power wire brush must
be performed separately.
Step 3: Select three 6x6-inch locations (L1, L2 and L3) on an area prepared by Blast Pot 1 during the work shift.
Step 4: Within each location, prepare and read 3 tapes in accordance with ASTM D 4417 Method C.
Step 5: Add the readings from Tapes 1, 2, and 3 and divide the result by 3 to generate the location average for L1. The location
average for L1 must be within the specified profile range.
Step 6: Perform Steps 3 through 5 in locations L2 and L3 within the area prepared by Blast Pot 1.
If the L2 and L3 location averages are also within the specified profile range, the area prepared by Blast Pot 1 is compliant.
Step 7: Report the highest and lowest location average, as well as the measurement (the average of L1, L2 and L3 values) for the
area prepared by Blast Pot 1.
Step 8: Perform Steps 3 through 6 in the area prepared by Blast Pot 2, and again in the area prepared by the power wire brush to
verify the areas prepared by each piece of equipment are also in compliance with the specified profile range.
Steps 1 through 8 are performed at a minimum of once per work shift. This frequency is intended to minimize work stoppages while
at the same time periodically verifying conformity with project requirements during the course of production.
Identifying Non-Conforming Areas
If any location average is outside the specified profile range, you must select four additional locations equidistant from each other
and 5 feet away from the non-compliant location, and obtain location averages for each of the four locations. Each of these four
location averages must comply with the specified profile range, or the process of selecting additional locations at five-foot distances
from the non-compliant location must repeat. If there is no room to take a measurement in a given direction, no measurement is
required. You must mark and report any non-compliant locations.
SSPC-PA 17 was developed to provide specifiers, inspectors, and contractors with a standard set of acceptance criteria to
determine compliance with steel profile requirements in industry project specifications. In many ways it is similar to the SSPC-PA 2
standard, which has been widely specified since its initial publication in 1996. As with all SSPC standards, PA 17 is subject to
periodic reapproval or revision at least every five years. Revisions may be made within that period if the committee agrees that they
are necessary. The committee anticipates that refinements will be proposed as the PA 17 standard becomes more generally
specified and used, and welcomes suggestions to improve the usefulness and clarity of this, and all other SSPC standards.

10.Temperature and Humidity Monitoring for Industrial Coating Application
From JPCL, November 2012
Don Schnell DRYCO
Don Schnell is the national strategic accounts manager for DRYCO, which is based in Downers Grove, IL. He has worked in the protective coatings
industry since 1977 and has more than 20 years of experience with dehumidification and temporary climate control. He has had an important role in the
development and expansion of climate-control innovations used in the protective coatings industry.
It has long been known that temperature and humidity have a significant impact on proper surface
preparation and application of liquid-applied coatings. High humidity near the surface of dry abrasive--
blasted steel increases corrosion rates and therefore causes flash rusting before the prime coat can be
applied. Surface temperatures impact the rate of polymerization and the evaporation rate of solvents in the
coatings as they are applied and cured. A quality coatings application can occur only when these conditions
are within the tolerance of the product being applied.
To assure that these conditions are maintained, the contractor and the inspector must employ good
practices to measure, monitor, and record these conditions. This attention to climatic conditions is important
on interior and exterior applications and with or without climate control measures. The accuracy and
completeness of this measurement and documentation not only assures a quality application, but also
protects all parties from culpability should a premature coating failure occur. This article reviews good
practices for measuring, monitoring, and recording ambient conditions during coating operations.

Objectives of Measuring, Monitoring, and Recording Conditions
To help ensure that the coating project is successful and that the service life of the coating is maximized, it is imperative that the
conditions be monitored from the time surface preparation begins until final cure is achieved. On the industrial coating project, the
facility owner should demand that regular readings be taken and recorded. To be sure that this occurs, a well-written specification
must be in place and followed. The owners representative should demand this documentation throughout the project, avoiding the
disappointment of learning after the fact that the readings were not taken or documented. Any reconstruction of condition data is
only supposition and a guess at best.
Current practice usually includes gathering readings for dry bulb temperature, surface temperature, relative humidity, wind speed,
and dew point temperature. (See the sidebar, Psychrometric Definitions, for more on the meaning of these different readings.) The
measurement and monitoring should include at a minimum, surface temperature and dew point temperature. Although relative
humidity is also important, the true relative humidity at the surface can be determined only by using the surface temperature and
dew point temperature. (See the sidebar, Calculating Relative Humidity at the Surface.) These readings should be taken in all
areas that are in the process of surface preparation, coating application, or coating cure. The specifier and inspector also need to
consider that conditions vary on different areas of the project. Here are some examples.
Psychrometric Definitions
Dew Point Temperature: The temperature at which moisture condenses from the air. A common example is when the air is cooled
adjacent to a cold beverage and condensation forms on the outside of the glass. Dew point temperature is important on the coating
job as condensation on surfaces causes flash rusting and coating cure problems. As mentioned in this article, dew point
temperature is also a useful metric when determining appropriate environmental conditions.
Dry Bulb Temperature: The temperature of the air as measured by a dry thermometer. On the coating job, dry bulb temperature
impacts surface temperatures, relative humidity, and material temperatures.

Don Schnell,
Relative Humidity: The moisture content of the air as a percentage of what it can hold when the air is saturated at that same
temperature. When the air is saturated, it is at 100% relative humidity.
Specific Humidity: Also called the humidity ratio. This is the ratio of the actual water that is in the air to the weight of the air itself.
Specific humidity is expressed in grains of water per pound of air. A grain is a simple unit of measure and there are 7,000 grains in
a pound. This is another way of expressing dew point temperature.
Wet Bulb Temperature: The temperature of the air as measured by a thermometer surrounded by a wetted wick. The wick draws
heat from the sensing bulb as the water evaporates. The rate of evaporation is dictated by the amount of moisture in the air,
therefore, the resulting temperature indicates the amount of moisture in the air. This is only valuable on the coating job when a
psychrometer is used. The wet bulb must be compared to the dry bulb temperature to determine the relative humidity or dew point
Calculating Relative Humidity at the Surface
At 100% relative humidity, the dew point temperature equals the dry bulb temperature and condensation begins to occur. If we can
keep the relative humidity (at the surface) below 50%, we can keep dry abrasive-blasted steel clean for some time. The relationship
between relative humidity and surface temperature is often misunderstood and misinterpreted on the jobsite.
On the coating jobsite, the only conditions that matter are those occurring adjacent to the surface being worked on. This is an
important point to make because condition readings taken elsewhere in the space can be misleading. As an example, consider a
bridge project that exhibits the following conditions:
dry bulb temperature: 70 F;
relative humidity: 60%; and
surface temperature: 60 F.
The observer measuring relative humidity may be satisfied that 60% is acceptable. In reality, the air at the surface of the bridge
steel is cooled down to 60 F, raising the relative humidity to 85%. This condition represents a dew point temperature of 55.5 F.
When compared to the surface temperature, this is a difference of only 4.5 degrees. Typical coating application guidelines call for a
maximum of 85% RH and a minimum difference of 5 F between the surface temperature and the dew point temperature. This
condition can easily occur at dusk on a clear night or in the morning before the sun can heat the steel.
The author has experienced many situations during tank work where panic calls come in from the jobsite regarding high humidity in
the tank when the cooling equipment may be maintaining a very acceptable relative humidity at the surface. The reverse also
occurs where the observer measures a nice low relative humidity in a heated tank while the cold tank surface is about to condense.
The solution is to forget about relative humidity. It changes with temperature and does nothing but confuse things. Dew point
temperature will equalize in a well-contained space and is very consistent from one end of the bridge to the other. If the monitoring
focuses on dew point temperature and surface temperature, we can all deal with accurate and meaningful metrics. Most
measurement tools now also display dew point temperature so conversions are rarely needed.
To make the leap from relative humidity at the surface to dew point spread, a little work with a psychrometric chart tells the observer
the following.
The often-specified maximum relative humidity of 85% equates to a surface temperature that is 5 degrees above the dew
point temperature.
To preserve dry abrasive-blasted steel (often referred to as holding the blast), the surface temperature should be at
least 20 degrees above the dew point temperature. This varies a little as temperatures fluctuate, but a 20-degree spread
is a safe middle ground.
Surfaces heat up when exposed to sunlight.
Surfaces cool when exposed to the night sky, particularly on clear nights. It is typical to experience surface temperatures
well below the ambient air temperature on a clear, still night.
Surface temperatures are highly impacted by exposure to wind or air movement.
Hot air rises.
Buried surfaces, surfaces on the ground, and surfaces below the water line react much differently than those exposed to
the atmosphere.
Dew point temperature equalizes very quickly throughout a space. Dew point temperatures will be fairly consistent in an
enclosed space unless the space is compartmentalized or elongated, or if there is excessive air flow or infiltration of
outside air.
(See the Sidebar, Sample Specification for Environmental Conditions.)
Sample Specification for Environmental Conditions
A. Do not apply coatings, under the following conditions, unless otherwise recommended by the coating manufacturer:
1. Under dusty conditions, unless tenting, covers, or other such protection is provided for items being coated.
2. When light on surfaces measures less than 15 foot-candles.
3. When ambient or surface temperature is less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. When relative humidity is higher than 85 percent.
5. When surface temperature is less than 5 degrees Fahrenheit above the dew point.
6. When the surface temperature exceeds the manufacturers recommendation.
7. When ambient temperature exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit, unless manufacturer allows a higher temperature.
B. Provide fans, heating devices, dehumidifiers, or other means recommended by manufacturer to prevent formation of condensate
or dew on surface of substrate, coating between coats, and within curing time following application of topcoat.
C. Provide adequate continuous ventilation and sufficient heating facilities to maintain minimum 45 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours
before, during, and for 48 hours after application of topcoat.
Courtesy of Russell Spotten, Corrosion Probe
Manual Readings
Before the surge in electronic measurement equipment, ambient conditions were obtained in the field using a sling psychrometer
(Fig. 1), and surface temperature was taken with a magnetic surface thermometer.

Fig. 1: Sling psychrometer
Courtesy of Bacharach, Inc.,
and KTA-Tator, Inc.
Infrared thermometers offer a much more convenient and accurate method for reading surface temperatures while giving the
inspector the ability to get readings on surfaces several yards away from the instrument (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Infrared
Courtesy of Raytek
The psychrometer is a device that holds two thermometers in an air stream. The end of one thermometer is covered with a cotton
wick that is wetted with distilled water. When the air passes over the wetted wick, it is cooled by evaporation until it reaches the wet
bulb temperature. By comparing the dry bulb and the wet bulb temperatures, one can determine the dew point temperature or the
relative humidity using a psychrometric chart, tables, or special software designed to make these calculations. There are two
common versions of the psychrometer, aspirated and sling-type. The aspirated psychrometer is housed in an enclosed case where
a small fan passes the air across the wetted wick at the prescribed 600 feet per minute. The more common tool on the job-site is the
sling psychrometer, which holds the thermometers in a tube that is spun around to create the air flow. When read properly and if the
water and the wick are clean, the psychrometer can be accurate within 5%, and it does not need calibration. The author prefers an
aspirated psychrometer over all devices for field measurements.
A common error in reading these instruments is taking average readings or spinning the thermometers too long or not long enough.
The most accurate reading is the lowest wet bulb reading the user reads. The wet bulb reading should be monitored as it drops and
then begins to rise again while the wick begins to dry out, with the lowest observed reading recorded. It may take five or more tries
to reach the lowest possible reading.
Magnetic surface temperature thermometers get the job done but can lose accuracy with use. It is not uncommon to see these
devices in use with cracked lenses, damage from falling to the floor of the tank, or paint overspray or steel grit caked on them.
Today, it is much more common to see electronic measurement instruments on the coating jobsite. These include instruments that
measure dry bulb temperature, relative humidity, and surface temperature while calculating and displaying the dew point
temperature. With on-board logging features, these devices are capable of logging the data collected with time stamps to later
download to spread sheets or other formats. These instruments are very convenient and can allow the user to take many readings
rapidly (Fig. 3). It is important to calibrate these devices regularly, particularly when exposed to extreme conditions.

Fig. 3: Electronic dewpoint meter Courtesy of Elcometer
Data Logging
Another approach to monitoring and recording conditions is to use some kind of electronic device that automatically takes readings
and records them on paper or in digital format (Fig. 4). Simple chart recorders have been around for decades and have been used
successfully on painting jobs. This mechanical technology uses a bundle of human hair or a polymer strand that expands and
contracts with humidity to move a pen on a revolving disk or drum chart. Another pen will record the air temperature simultaneously.
These devices must be calibrated every 6 to 12 months and are very susceptible to dust and physical damage that is quite likely on
a blast cleaning and painting site. (See the sidebar, Calibration.)
It is important that all instruments be calibrated properly and at regular intervals. This can be done by comparing the device to an
electronic condensation-based hygrometer. These hygrometers use a chilled mirror to make a very accurate determination of
exactly what temperature moisture begins to condense in an air sample. Quick field calibration can be done with an aspirated
psychrometer. Keep in mind that the psychrometers error margin will always be to the high side. Because the wet bulb
thermometer can only cool down to the wet bulb temperature, the psychrometer cannot give a humidity reading that is too low.

Fig. 4: Electronic data logger for temperature and relative humidity
Courtesy of Onset Computer Corporation
Electronic data loggers offer a fairly low-cost alternative to the chart recorder. Loggers add the ability to record the conditions into
commonly used spreadsheet files and email the data. Typically, these loggers are very small and battery powered. The data can be
downloaded to a computer with a cable link, or shuttle devices on some models allow the collector to capture the data in the field
and upload it to a computer later. These units can be quite durable but still must be protected from the very aggressive
environments typical to our industry.
Hand-held monitoring tools also have logging capabilities. Readings can be stored with a date/time stamp and the ability to
download to a file for processing later. The modern hand-held electronic hygrometers also have a surface temperature sensor,
which was a big step in the evolution of condition monitoring. To be able to read the surface temperature, relative humidity, and dry
bulb temperature in the same location is the most accurate and meaningful way to gather this information. (See the sidebar,
Calculating Relative Humidity at the Surface.) It is also important to take these readings where the work is occurring. Although
chart recorders and electronic data loggers can (and should) include surface temperature sensors, they are generally stationary,
taking readings in one location.
Enhanced Monitoring
It is important to know if climatic conditions were not acceptable at some point during a coating project, but a completely different
value is attached to being able to avoid adverse conditions. In the past decade, a significant improvement in monitoring technology
has emerged. The introduction of remote monitoring allows the contractor, inspector, and owners representative to monitor and
record site conditions in real time and to see these conditions online (Fig.5). In addition, it becomes possible to set up alarms that
will contact a party when conditions deteriorate past a pre-defined point or to have an alarm go off when there is an equipment
failure. These features offer the ultimate in documentation while adding the security of knowing immediately if the conditions on the
project have reached a critical point.

Fig. 5: Remote monitor for checking jobsite conditions while off-site Courtesy
Now, with a secure password, the interested party can check the jobsite conditions from anywherehome, a coffee house, the
office, etc.using a laptop, tablet, or other electronic device with Internet access. When a climate control provider is used, the
technician is notified when conditions are approaching the limits of the specification and can react to repair or adjust the climate
control system before things become critical.
To get the most value from remote monitoring, the user should specify that the device can provide the following.
The device should allow the user the ability to view current readings and historical data on site without the use of a laptop.
The contractor or inspector should be able to walk up to the jobsite in the morning and quickly view what had occurred
Data should be stored on the device and on the website for redundancy. This protects the data from loss due to website
failure or device failure.
Data should be available online in graph or tabular formats, with the date range sortable and downloadable into a
spreadsheet or tab-delimited format at any time with the correct password.
The system should be capable of reading and recording humidity and temperature in two locations and surface
temperature in four locations.
The data should include relative humidity, dry bulb temperature, dew point temperature, surface temperature; the
difference between the dew point temperature and the surface temperatures should also be clearly displayed.
The methods used for measuring, monitoring, and recording the climate conditions on industrial coating projects have advanced
significantly in the past decade. There are fast, accurate hand-held devices that can log the readings for later download. These
instruments should be calibrated and interpreted properly to get the full value from their use. Older technologies may be less
accurate and more cumbersome, but do not require calibration.
The latest technology available includes remote monitoring that measures and records conditions as well as sends them to a
website where they can be viewed or downloaded in real-time. This technology also allows the users to receive alarms by email or
text message when conditions on the job deteriorate.

11.The Ideal Coating Inspector
From JPCL, November 2012
Brendan Fitzsimons Pyeroy
Brendan Fitzsimons has nearly 30 years of experience in the protective coatings industry with over two thirds of this at Senior Level with International
Coating Contractors. He is a divisional director at Pyeroy, an international coatings contractor.
Fitzsimons has a Masters Degree in Materials Engineering, is a Chartered Scientist and a Fellow Member of the Institute of Corrosion. He is a NACE
Protective Coating Specialist, Coating Inspector, and Peer Reviewer.
Surface treatments and application of protective coatings are generally expensive and essential processes,
and they are critical tasks when surfaces are exposed to hostile environments. Inspectors, therefore, are used
extensively to check the quality of the work and reassure clients and customers that each task has been
conducted in accordance with the coating specification, international standards, and/or the manufacturers
product data sheets. The profession may be known as coatings inspector, painting inspector, or paint
inspector. Whatever phrase is used in the protective coatings industry, the term Inspector is used in this
article to reflect many activities and locations globally.
Inspectors are used at various levels during a project and may be employed by the painting contractor,
fabricator, engineering organization, or ultimate customer. It is not uncommon to have inspectors who have
worked at all levels and thus gained the experience of such to make the first and final decision on inspections.
Inspectors work in virtually every industry including nuclear, offshore, marine, petro-chemical, infrastructure,
pipeline, and general construction. Some inspectors remain specialized within a specific industry such as
offshore while others move from industry to industry depending on the length and extent of the project and location.

Photo of splashzone Courtesy of the author photo: iStock
Because of various recent regulations in the corrosion control industry, such as the IMO PSPC requirements in the marine industry,
there has been an increased need for qualified inspectors. Some of these regulations have certainly produced a number of training
courses and newly qualified inspectors who are now equipped with their ticket to conduct their inspection duties in their chosen
This article will review the various qualifications and training requirements of the inspector and try to establish whether the ideal
inspector really does exist.
For the purpose of this article, we will refer to the coating inspector because this is the most commonly used phrase in most of the
industries discussed.
Lifetime Experience
Having been in the coatings industry for almost 30 years, I can say in all honesty that I have met a lot of coating inspectors who do an
excellent job of maintaining the credibility of the training, qualifications, and good name of the profession as a whole. Unfortunately, I
have also encountered some coating inspectors who, in my opinion, should not be employed in the protective coatings industry at the
inspector level.
At a recent conciliation between a painting contractor and a bridge owner who hired an independent coating inspector, the conciliator
concluded: The coatings inspector can make or break a job. Unfortunately, in this particular case, the conciliator was correct, and
the painting contractor was awarded many thousands of Euros for the instructions given by the coatings inspector that breached the
terms of the contract. Unfortunately, some inspectors can be overzealous, difficult, or both.
There are many examples where the coating inspector has created problems on a contract through lack of experience, lack of
knowledge, or an intention to build a reputation for the wrong reasons. Common problems created include the following:
imposing particular tests that are not specified;
increasing levels of quality above those required in the specification and not being pragmatic, resulting in an increase in the
length of a contract and a corresponding increase in personal remuneration; and

Fitzsimons, Pyeroy
creating a poor working relationship with the contractors, such as the us vs. them approach.
There are also a few coating inspectors who are frustrated contract managers and believe they could manage the contract better. In
most cases, the coating inspector has been trained in quality issues but has little concept of planning, costs, practicalities, and
completing a project on schedule.
Coating inspectors have limited legal obligations within a contract and will not generally have professional indemnity insurance. That
said, inspectors should recognize the financial impact of recommendations and advice, and limit their recommendations to areas
within their field of experience and qualifications. More importantly, coating inspectors should recognize that they provide
recommendations, and not direction. Generally, the client should make the decisions, choosing whether or not to follow the
inspectors recommendations.
There are also many examples in which a coating inspector has passed on his or her wealth of experience and knowledge during a
contract and, by so doing, has benefited all parties, including the painting contractor. An engineer once said, a good coatings
inspector is worth his [her] weight in gold.
Coating systems may have been designed and tested for certain hostile locations, and, without the correct level of quality control,
premature coating failure is always a possibility. There are generally good reasons why high-performance systems are specified. The
coating inspector should make himself or herself fully familiar with any specified product. Product training may also be a requirement.
Industry Qualification Schemes
Various credible coating inspection qualification training schemes are used globally.
Institute of Corrosion (ICorr; UK)
The Institute of Corrosion is a professional body in the UK and has an established training scheme for paint and coating inspectors.
The scheme also has training and qualifications for inspecting metallic coatings, pipeline coatings, cathodic protection, and thermal
The paint and coating inspector scheme has three Levels: 1, 2, and 3. There is no pre-requisite for attending Level 1; however,
qualifications and experience are required for Levels 2 and 3.
Closed book specific and general examinations are conducted for all levels along with practical essays for Levels 2 and 3. Practical
assessments are also conducted.
The scheme is conducted and governed in accordance with the Institute of Corrosion Document ICORR REQ DOC.
SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings
The SSPC is based in the U.S. and is a non-profit organization focused on the protection and preservation of concrete, steel, and
other industrial and marine structures and surfaces through the use of high-performance protective, marine, and industrial coatings.
The SSPC has a Protective Coating Inspector scheme (PCI) with three levels, similar to the Institute of Corrosions scheme. There are
no pre-requisites for the entry level, but qualifications and experience are necessary for Levels 2 and 3. Level 3 consists of a four-part
examination that includes creating an inspection test plan based on a coating specification. The training program is well established
and specified globally. SSPC provides many other courses aimed at painting applicator skills, supervisor training, and other aspects
of protective coating work.
NACE International
NACE International is a professional organization for the corrosion control industry and has a large membership in over 100 countries.
NACE has an established coatings inspector program (CIP) that has gained worldwide recognition; it has been available for over 25
years and has some 19,000 certified Inspectors.
The CIP course consists of three levels. The first two levels are similar to other training schemes for coating inspectors; however, the
third level is a Peer Review. The Peer Review consists of a two-hour verbal examination in front of three experienced coating experts
who have many years of coating inspection experience as well as being NACE-qualified coating inspectors. As with other training
schemes, there is no entry pre-requisite for the course entry level.
The Norwegian Professional Council for Education and Certification of Inspectors for Surface Treatment (FROSIO) acts through
formulation of quality demands for surface treatment in accordance with the Norwegian Standard NS476.
FROSIO deals only with examination and certification, not training. A number of training bodies are used to deliver the training, which
consists of 80 hours of theoretical and practical training in accordance with NS476 as the syllabus.
There are three levels of qualification, with no experience required for Level 1 (white certificate). Level 2 (green certificate) candidates
must have two years of experience, and Level 3 (red certificate) candidates must have five years of experience, two of which are to
be documented inspection practice. Certification at Level 1 and 2 is achieved by examination. Level 3 is achieved by Level 2 plus
documented evidence.
The Welding Institute (TWI) is a worldwide organization and a reputable expert in welding techniques, training, testing, investigation,
and related areas. TWI has a Painting Inspector training scheme that consists of three levels, Grades 3, 2, and 1. No pre-requisites
are required for Grade 3, and candidates must have obtained Grades 3 and 2 to attempt Grade 1. Grade 1 is an advanced
qualification that specifically deals with offshore practices. The scheme was initially developed for personnel wanting to work for
British Gas only and, thereafter, other clients and locations as well.
Table 1 represents the various levels between the main global training schemes for coating inspectors. The writer recommends that a
light Internet reading on the various schemes and levels should be conducted before specifying one or all.

Levels in Main Global Training Screens
Level 1 Level 1-Basic Level 1 Level 1-White Grade 3
Level 2 Level 2-Certified Level 2 Level 2-Green Grade 2
Level 3 Level 3-Certified Level 3
Peer Review
Level 3-Red Grade 1
All of the above training schemes have one thing in commonno experience is required for a candidate to attempt the first level of
the scheme. One scheme provider states, No formal entry qualifications required, but knowledge of dry abrasive blast cleaning or
industrial paint application techniques would be advantageous. Some of the above schemes do not issue certification for the entry
Level, so it is worth checking on the specific scheme and type of certification. It is important to specify the scheme along with the
required Level, e.g., NACE CIP Level 2, not just NACE CIP.
Unless specifically requested, the trained coating inspector, regardless of the training scheme, should:
observe the work,
assess the work,
document the work, and
report the work.
All of the above tasks should be conducted in accordance with the contract Inspection Test Plan.
This author is not averse to new recruits entering the coatings industry. However, in the age of new and sophisticated coatings, high-
risk projects, and customer reliance on technical advice from the coatings inspector, the question arises about whether a newly
trained and qualified coatings inspector, who has possibly never been involved in the protective coatings industry, is a suitable choice,
given the potential exposure to extreme environments and the probability of working with contractors who have vast experience in
most types of surface treatments and protective coatings.
It is clear that there is a difference between highly experienced individuals who are acting almost as consultants to their customers,
and trained but inexperienced inspectors who should be regarded as quality control technicians and perhaps no more. Customers
should be, and are often not, aware that the provision of detailed technical advice is not appropriate for novice inspectors.
The question of comparing qualification levels from scheme to scheme is often raised and debated. It would not be politically correct
for this writer to give views on the schemes and what the equivalence between levels is. However, this writer would recommend that
the specifier review the syllabuses of the different schemes, the recommended experience required per level, and the type of
examinations to select the scheme best suited to a particular contract.
ISO Standard
An ISO standard for the qualification or certification for inspectors is under review. Certain European countries have expressed a
desire to certify inspectors who could then work in other countries, with that certificate being accepted by all other countries. What the
standard should be has not been defined, e.g., guidelines, qualifications, certification, or minimum course requirements. Because no
agreement could be reached at the initial meeting and in order to report back to TC35/SC14, it was agreed to send out a
questionnaire to national mirror committees for their views. The discussions were planned to continue when the questionnaires were
complete; however, it may be some time before an agreement is reached on what the ISO standard should address.
Online Training
A recent change in the training of coating inspectors is with the use of online training through the Internet (Fig. 1). There are potential
advantages and disadvantages with online training.

Fig. 1: Typical page in a web-based training program.
Courtesy of the author
Here are three significant advantages:
training can be conducted at any time to suit the student;
training is conducted at home or work, so there are no hotel bills or expenses; and
the training is updated easily and can be used as an ongoing source of information.
Here are two significant disadvantages:
the instructor has no direct interface with the student; and
a practical session is still required to cover the use of inspection equipment, etc.
Some of the schemes currently use the Internet for online training, and this approach to training is expected to increase dramatically
over the next few years. One paint company is using online training to educate and qualify over 600 staff.
There is no doubt the use of online training will increase. A balance of online training and practical training before examinations is the
recommended process. This will ensure that students are able to train with and demonstrate on the inspection equipment. Minimal
industrial experience is essential for the online training. Online use for general corrosion education is also set to significantly increase
in the coming years.
Ongoing Technology
Technology is forever changing in the coatings Industry. Standards are amended and updated at specific anniversaries (Fig. 2). Re-
certification of coating Inspectors usually consists of a CV, a possible questionnaire, and fees. The writer believes that coating
inspectors should

Fig. 2: Inspectors should keep up with
changing standards, such as those for
adhesion testing. Courtesy of the
be aware of new technology, including instrumentation, regulations, and standards, on an ongoing basis, possible through an IT hub;
prepare more concise information relating to what experience and knowledge they have attained.
Some of the scheme providers interrogate the coating inspector considerably more than others on re-certification. The process could
possibly be included in the proposed ISO standard. Consideration should be given to requiring the coating inspectors to compile and
continually update a CPDContinuing Professional Developmentwhich demonstrates that their knowledge and professional skills
are kept up to date.
The coating inspector should be able to keep up to date with coating technology, inspection equipment, new standards, etc.
A coating hub would be of great benefit to the industry. All scheme providers would, however, have to contribute and agree upon the
contents and updates, etc. Alternatively, an independent Internet hub could be approved by all training providers.
Health and Safety
All the above training schemes for coating inspectors cover aspects of health and safety. The regulations for health and safety in the
coatings industry have increased over the past few years. There is now a greater need for all personnel to have specific Health and
Safety training. All coating Inspectors should be able to write risk assessments and method statements. The aforementioned is not
generally covered in the coating inspectors training. This writer would strongly recommend additional health and safety training to that
which is usually afforded by the painting supervisor or painting manager.
The coating inspector should be generally fit and used to working at heights; in confined spaces; and in poorly lit, potentially dusty,
and hazardous environments. Any intake of medication, poor eyesight, or other health conditions should be declared before starting
the work or whenever the workers health status changes.
Inspection Test Plans
Inspection test plans that describe the methodology of the preparation and coating process step by step are an ideal tool for agreeing
upon the inspection activities in advance of the work. This writer is convinced that the use of agreed inspection test plans that detail
the level of inspection, type of test, and equipment (including exact details with regard to pass/fail criteria) would greatly assist
contracts and ensure disputes are resolved quickly. The contractor should be fully familiar with the painting specification as well as
where and how the inspection test plan is used. All parties must agree upon the hold (h), witness (w), and surveillance (s) points for
all levels of activity. All the above should be covered at the pre-contract meeting, which must have the contractor and coating
inspector present. One scheme provider has the development and use of Inspection Test Plans as part of the training course. Other
scheme providers have a cursory review while still others do not discuss the Plans at all.
The coating inspection industry could benefit from standardization of documentation. This writer has witnessed over 50 types of daily
inspection forms, logs, weekly reports, and other inspection documents. Internationally agreed-upon inspection reports could be
approved and placed on the coating inspection Internet hub approved by all scheme providers. Some scheme providers do give a list
of key forms used to document coating work and quality monitoring but these are suggestions only and not acknowledged by other
scheme providers. Some coating specifications stipulate the details that should be contained within the documentation and some give
specific examples.
Experience and Attitude
Experience is invaluable. If you are going to line a vessel with a specialty coating or work on a complex project, an experienced
coating inspector is essential. You should follow up on a CV submitted by an agency to ensure it is correct, and ask for references
wherever possible. What you will not find on a CV is the attitude of the coating inspector. Most coating inspectors have a good attitude
toward the work they inspect and desire to achieve a high-quality job. There are, however, a few coating inspectors who wish to
enforce the painting specification overzealously because they think they have the power to do so and do not understand that the
coating inspector should also be pragmatic and understand the costs of doing the work and possible program implications.
The writer would prefer a coating inspector who has limited but adequate experience with a good attitude rather than an experienced
coating inspector with a bad attitude. The importance of obtaining and checking references cannot be overemphasized.
So does the ideal coating inspector really exist?
If you can find a coating inspector who is mature, qualified, experienced in the specific contract or product, has a good attitude toward
helping the contract, is aware of the costs implications if wrong decisions are made, is safety conscious as well as flexible and firm,
has a good reputation, and is in good health, then the answer is a definite yes.
I would say, however, that the chances of finding such a coating inspector could be very low (<10%). Therefore, a wish list must be
produced and graded to suit the requirements of the contract and the client.
Although the clients requirements will vary, I would personally give 5075% of the grading to experience and qualifications. Ranked
next are the attitude and willingness of the coating inspector to work within the boundaries of the contract and to be fair and
If you are hiring inspectors, do not just rely on a CV. Acquire references, check them, and take time to interview wherever possible.
Finally, the coatings industry is truly global. It is, however, a small industry, and the reputation of an inspector, good or bad, travels
fast. The time invested in the correct recruitment will pay dividends in the long term.
About the Author
Author of the Fitzs Atlas of Coating Defects, he has written many papers on corrosion protection and is actively involved with the
development of training material for coating applicators and coating inspectors.
He is a recipient of the 2012 award, JPCLs Top Thinkers: The Clive Hare Honors, and was featured, along with the other winners, in
a supplement to the August 2012 JPCL.
Editors Note: This article, by Brendan Fitzsimons, is part of the series of Top Thinker articles appearing in JPCL throughout 2012.
Mr. Fitzsimons is one of 24 recipients of JPCLs 2012 Top Thinkers: The Clive Hare Honors, given for significant contributions to the
protective coatings industry over the past decade. The award is named for Clive Hare, a 20-year contributor to JPCL who shared his
encyclopedic knowledge of coatings in many forums. Professional profiles of all of the award winners, as well as an article by Clive
Hare, were published in a supplement to the August 2012 JPCL.

12. ISOs Standard for Field Joint Coating: Understanding and Using ISO 21809-3
From JPCL, July 2012
Marcel Roche
Marcel Roche, recently retired from Total in France, is the Project Leader of the ISO Task Group for Pipeline Field Joint Coatings. He has written
for JPCL and other publications, and he has presented papers at industry conferences.

Heating coil being positioned over field joint prior to coating Courtesy of Canusa
Premature failures of pipeline coatings and subsequent corrosion are often due to the lack of good specifications, including
product selection and surface preparation standards, and/or poor workmanship and inspection. Field joint coatings are an integral
part of the continuous corrosion protection coating system and must be specified and applied as such.
In response to this requirement, ISO formed Technical Committee (TC) 67 to create value-added international standards for the
oil, gas, and petrochemical industries. To date, more than 150 standards have been published, and 70 are currently in the work
program. The mission of TC 67 is to issue standards that could be adopted worldwide, nationally or regionally (e.g., EN, NACE),
and to enable companies to rationalize their specifications. Within ISO TC 67, subcommittee (SC) 2 is devoted to pipelines and
addresses all relevant topics, including corrosion. In terms of corrosion protection, several standards have already been published
by the various work groups (WG), including the following.
ISO 15589, Cathodic protection of pipeline transport systemsPart 1: On-land pipelines and Part 2: Offshore
pipelines (WG11). This was also published by NACE as a modified adoption titled ANSI/NACE SP0607-
2007/ISO15589-2 (MOD).
ISO 21809, External coatings for buried or submerged pipelines used in pipeline transportation systems. A series of
task groups was formed to address the various generic types of external coatings (WG 14). These include:
ISO 21809-1, Polyolefin coatings (3-layer PE and 3-layer PP);
ISO 21809-2, Single layer fusion bonded epoxy (FBE) coatings;
ISO 21809-3, Field joint coatings;
ISO 21809-4, Polyethylene coatings;
ISO 21809-5, External concrete coatings;
ISO 21809-6, (In preparation) multilayer FBE coatings; and
ISO 21809-X, Multi-component polyolefin based powder coatingsat the project stage.
Work on ISO 21809-3 started in 2002. At that time, the main standards and recommended practices in place were EN 12068
(Supply of tapes and shrinkable materials), EN 10329 (Field joint coatings), NACE RP 0402 (FBE at girth weld joints), and DNV
RP F109 (Field joint coatings). After nine meetings, the new standard was published in December 2008, and immediately after
publication, work was started on an amendment (ISO 21809-3, Amd 1) to take into account the introduction of new families of field
joint coatings and to correct some mistakes. This amendment was published in November 2011.
Following resolutions of WG3 of ISO TC 67, SC2, a vote on a New work proposal for the complete revision of 21809-3 was
approved, and that work is currently underway.
There are a number of generic coating systems that are currently covered by ISO 21809- 3:2008 and Amd 1:2011. These include:
tape coatingsbituminous, petroleum, wax, polymeric, and non-crystalline low-viscosity polyolefin;
mastic heat shrinkable sleeves;
3-layer, heat-shrinkable extruded polyolefin sheet (PE or PP);
FBEsingle or dual layer;
liquid coatingsepoxies, urethanes, vinylester;
polyolefin (PE or PP) systems thermally sprayed, hot applied tape or sheet, injection moulded; thermal-sprayed
hot-applied microcrystalline wax; and
elastomeric coatings.
How to Use the ISO 21809-3 Standard
The standard as published also gives advice to users on various elements within the supply chain for field joint coatings, and in
this article, the author, who is the Project Leader of ISO TC 67 SG2 WG14-3 (the Task Group for Pipeline Field Joint Coatings),
highlights some of the important points
The standard contains a library of field joint coating systems and materials. The standard is impartial and does not seek to
directly contrast one system with another. It sets a minimum standard for each type of coating in isolation from the others. It does
not address what cannot be used with what, i.e., parent coating compatibility is not discussed
It requires those who use the standard to use it constructively and wisely, and requires that the purchaser, applicator, and end use
ract in unison to obtain the best results. In using the standard, it is not enough to simply state in a specification that field joint
coatings must comply with ISO 21809-3. As stated in clause 6.1, designer needs to select the appropriate field joint coating
from those available in the standard, based on parent coating compatibility, line pipe construction, location and operating
conditions. The goal should always be to create a field joint coating with equivalent performance (and with full compatibility) to the
factory-applied coating to avoid any compromise in pipeline integrity
End users must be active in defining the standard they require and must take responsibility to define the required standard and
open up, or narrow, the choice available as appropriate to the circumstances. If the objective is clearly set, then the contractor
knows whether or not specialist materials, equipment, and applicators are needed and can plan and schedule accordingly
The standard also defines the following for users
Application Procedure Specification
Pre-Qualification Trial
Pre-Production Trial
Inspection and Testing Plan
Quality Assurance versus Quality Control
This allows the document to be further used as a tool to ensure proper and standardized procedures are used on all projects. The
following sections look at some of these points in more detail
Application Procedure Specification (APS)
APS is defined in the standard as document describing procedures, methods, equipment and tools to be used for coating
application. It should be prepared by the applicator and approved by the purchaser prior to the start of production or qualification
trial. The APS covers all items associated with quality control and any agreed options for the specific field joint coating (FJC).
Once approved, the APS shall not be changed by the applicator without prior written authorization of the purchaser. There is no
requirement for the applicator to have to divulge specific and particular know-how that would benefit his competitors.
Procedure Qualification Trial (PQT)
The PQT is defined as application of a field joint coating and subsequent inspection/testing of its properties to confirm that the
APS is able to produce coating of specified properties, carried out at the premises of the applicator or any other agreed
location. This is used when required by the purchaser (end user or contractor) to qualify a FJC so it can be considered in
projects. It is normally not project-specific, and it maybe used to qualify an applicator so that he is eligible to apply a given FJC
with a specific process, material, equipment, and personnel. PQTs are usually carried out under factory conditions, even when it is
a project-related PQT
Pre-Production Trials (PPT)
The definition of PPT is application of a coating and inspection/testing of its properties to confirm that the APS is able to
produce field joint coating of specified properties, carried out in the field immediately prior to start of production. When required by
the purchaser (end user or contractor), the PPT shall be carried out in his presence, or that of his representative, on the first joints
to be coated, or, if agreed, on a dummy pipe. The purpose of this is confirm that the application parameters established at the
PQT are repeatable in the field and that specified properties as verified by lab testing are correct. It should be noted, however, that
laboratories are not generally readily available close to the project site.
Inspection and Testing Plan (ITP)
The ITP is defined in the standard as document providing an overview of the sequence of inspections and tests, including
resources and procedures. The applicator shall perform inspection and testing during production in accordance with an ITP to
verify the surface preparation, coating application, and the specified properties of the applied FJC. The ITP shall be prepared by
the applicator and shall be approved by the purchaser prior to the start of the coating work, incorporating all agreed deviations,
and thereby superseding the original specification.

System compatibility results in the field joint coating fused to the 3LPP mainline coating
Courtesy of Canusa
The ITP should incorporate all installation and testing parameters that must be measured (that are known to deliver the required
properties) and the frequency of measurement. The application parameters should be measured on every joint. The applicator has
the duty to ensure that the applied coating complies with the APS, but the applicator doesnt always carryout the formal inspection.
If the contractor does the tests and fills in the Coating Record Sheets, a good dialogue with the inspector(s) is essential. There is
little to be gained by waiting to the end of the shift to point out defects. Inspectors should have appropriate qualifications and
experience (to be given precedence)
Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control
Quality Assurance (QA) tests are more onerous in terms of time and their destructive nature. Typically they would be done for
PQTs where coated joints can be cut up and sectioned for longterm testing. The purpose is to confirm that the measurable
parameters used will deliver the required quality, so that those parameters can be monitored during the production Quality Control
(QC) to give assurance that the required quality is being achieved.
For example, if it is shown that a combination of easily measurable parameters such as surface profile, surface cleanliness,
temperature, and final thickness will produce an FBE coating that passes the DSC, CD, and Hot Water Soak testing, then all that
needs to be measured and recorded during the field application are these properties.

Multi-component liquid field joint coating application Courtesy of Pipeline
Induction Heat
Application Methods
A choice, in order of priority where appropriate, should be presented; the onus is on the owner to stipulate which is preferred. The
goal should be to maximize process control and uniformity under the given practical conditions.
For liquid coatings, automatic spray should be the first choice, followed by manual spray, and then brush or roller, in that order (all
with abrasive blasting surface preparation).
For polyolefin-based coatings, abrasive blasting, induction heating, and automated installation (preferred) should be used. This is
to maximize process control for uniformity and control of surface conditions and installation temperatures wherever possible in
order to replicate factory conditions and parameters.
Considerations for Project Specification Development
Real world examples help to demonstrate best practices in specification development. For example, in the case of 3LPP-coated
pipelines, a review of numerous successful and representative major offshore projects completed over the past decade where
3LPP coating was used, including the Bluestream, MEDGAZ, Kashagan, and Dolphin Sealines projects, among many others,
indicated that in all cases, pipeline integrity was considered critical for these high-temperature and/or deepwater PP-coated
pipelines. Therefore, the 3LPP joint coating performance on these projects was required to be essentially equal to, or exceeding,
the performance of the factory-applied3LPP coating. The choice of 3LPP as the factory coating was made in order to provide a
certain key level of protection to the pipeline, given elevated operating temperature and/or offshore water depth, as well as the
desire to ensure effective performance under these conditions for the entire lifetime of the pipeline. It was deemed too much of a
risk to accept anything less on the joints for these pipelines.
In general, a small selection of joint coatings was considered as options to achieve this performance as follows.
3LPP Extruded Systems:
o Pre-Extruded Heat Shrinkable PP Wrap
o Hot Applied PP Tape Wrap
Injection Moulded 3LPP

Liquid-based field joint coating with dollies attached for adhesion testing
Courtesy of Pipeline Induction Heat
All coatings considered generally matched the 3LPP factory-applied coating design and performance with the following
components, which are common to each other and to those of the factory coating:
Initial epoxy layer for corrosion protection,
PP copolymer adhesive to provide an effective bond of the non-polar PP outer layer to the polar epoxy layer, and
PP outer layer to provide high temperature protection of the epoxy layer from moisture absorption and from external
mechanical forces during operation.
The coatings considered offered equivalent performance to the 3LPP factory-applied coating, and this is exactly what was required
in the joint coating specifications for the projects in question. Although specifications differ slightly, in general, the specifications for
major successful 3LPP-coated pipelines executed over the past decade have required the field joint coating performance to be as
summarized in Table 1.

Summary of 3LPP Performance
Test / Property (Test method in
3LPP Factory Coating Requirement /
Typical Project 3LPP Joint Coating Requirement for
Major Projects
Surface Prep Sa 2.5 Sa 2.5
Adhesion Strength (DIN 30678) 150N/cm @ 23C
40N/cm @ 110C
150N/cm @ 23C
40N/cm @ 110C
Impact Resistance (DIN 30678) 10J/mm 10J/mm
Indentation Resistance (DIN
Maximum Penetration
0.1mm @ 23C
0.4mm @ 110C
Maximum Penetration
0.1mm @ 23C
0.4mm @ 90-110C
Shore D Hardness (ASTM
D2240) 60 Shore D 60 Shore D
Other Project-Specific Considerations
The standard is not completely definitive; there are other considerations an end user and contractor must consider when applying
field joint coatings. For example, for offshore pipelines, the operating parameters, such as, but not only, temperature, water depth,
and lay method, need to be considered when selecting the optimum coating and application method. For onshore pipelines, soil
type and stress on pipeline, backfill methods, thermal cycling, and ambient environment can also be important. The required
design life is another important consideration that can affect the coating required.
In summary, ISO 21809-3 contains a library of available field joint coatings. It sets a minimum standard for each type of coating, in
isolation from the others, but does not fully address parent coating compatibility
.In all cases, the ultimate goal should be for the joint coating to match the performance and design of the given factory-applied
coating and to have full compatibility with that coating.
If the objectives and requirements for coating performance and surface preparation are clearly set and the endusers take
responsibility to ensure they are met by following the defined standardized procedures, then the contractor will understand his
responsibilities and can plan construction accordingly. This will result in a FJC that is an integral and strong part of the continuous
corrosion protection system.
Editors Note: This is an updated version of a presentation given at the BHR Group, Field Joint Coating Conference, Milton
Keynes, UK,2011. The editor would like to thank Ron Dunn, Canusa, and David Jackson, Pipeline Induction Heat, for their help.

13. The case ofsurprise blistering and rusting on a new tank lining system
From JPCL, July 2012
J ames D. Machen
Senior Coatings Consultant, KTA-Tator, Inc.
James D. Machen is a Senior Coatings Consultant with KTA-Tator, Inc., a NACE-Certified Coatings Inspector Level 3 (Peer Review), and an SSPC-
Certified Protective Coatings Specialist.
Richard Burgess
Series Editor, KTA-Tator, Inc.
In this months F-Files, blisters formed in a lining system installed on the interior of a raw water storage tank
that was constructed at a new power plant. Because careful quality control and quality assurance inspection
measures were taken from the time blast cleaning began through complete curing of the lining system, it was
very surprising when blisters (as well as localized pinpoint rusting on the tank floor) were discovered during
the first anniversary inspection.
Background of the Project
A new raw water storage tank was erected at the project site of the construction of a new coal fired power
plant located in the east central U.S. The open top tank was 75 feet in diameter and 50 feet in height with a
working capacity of approximately 1.6 million gallons. After erection of the tank was complete, hydro-testing
was performed using water from a nearby creek to verify the functionality of the tank system. The interior
floor and shell walls of the tank were bare rusted steel when the tank was turned over to the coating
contractor for lining work.
Because of an unusually mild winter, lining work on the tank was able to begin in mid-March, and weather
conditions remained favorable throughout the installation process. The contractor abrasive blast cleaned the
interior tank surfaces according to SSPC-SP 10/NACE 2, Near-White metal, using a coal slag abrasive
media that yielded a 2.0 to 3.0 surface profile depth. Following abrasive blast cleaning, the surfaces were
coated with a three-coat, amine-cured epoxy lining system. The total dry film thickness of the lining system was specified at 12 to 16
mils. All aspects of the lining work went smoothly, as the lining was installed by a reputable SSPC-QP 1-certified contractor and was
rigorously inspected by both the contractors Quality Control (QC) Inspector and the owners Quality Assurance (QA) personnel.
The project specification required that the tank be taken out of service and cleaned for a one-year anniversary inspection of the
interior lining system. To the surprise of all parties involved in the project, blisters were observed in the lining system on the shell
walls, and pinpoint rusting was evident on the tank floor.
The Site Investigation
Because the tank had an open top, a crane was used to place a lift unit inside the tank that was capable of reaching all coated
surfaces. At locations where blistering and pinpoint rust were evident, visual observations were made with both the unaided eye and
50X illuminated magnification, adhesion was evaluated, lining thickness was measured, the steel surface beneath lining areas was
inspected, and samples were obtained. The samples included lining chips and actual liquid that was extracted from unbroken
blisters using a hypodermic syringe.
Visual Examination
Blistered areas in the tank shell lining system were isolated to a few locations and were present in concentrations of 6 to 10 blisters,
which ranged in size from approximately to 1 inch in diameter (Fig. 1). Some blisters were intact, while others had a small pinhole
on the surface, from which a red-colored rust stain was seeping. Blister caps were removed from intact blisters to expose the
underlying steel substrate, which showed a darkened, black appearance (Fig. 2).

J ames D. Machen, a
senior coatings
consultant, KTA-
Tator, Inc.

Fig. 1: Unbroken, liquid-filled blister. All photos courtesy of KTA-Tator, Inc.

Fig. 2: After blisters were manually fractured, the underlying steel substrate
showed a blackened appearance.
What initially appeared to be individual pinpoints of rust on the tank floor, upon microscopic examination, turned out to be small
metallic fragments that were embedded in the surface of the lining (Fig. 3). The particles were located on the tank floor adjacent to
piping that was attached by angular steel brackets to the tank shell wall. The fragments had an appearance consistent with fine
shards or particles of metal that is produced by grinding, burning (i.e., torch cutting), and welding operations.

Fig. 3: What appeared to be pinpoint rust on the tank floor was actually
embedded metallic fragments in the lining.
Coating Thickness
Coating thickness measurements were acquired from various locations on the interior shell. Measurements were within the specified
requirements and ranged from 12.416.2 mils with an average of 14.9 mils.
Adhesion was evaluated by the tape test method (ASTM D3359, Method A). Aside from areas where blisters were present, the
lining system had good (5A) adhesion. The lining in and around blistered areas had poor (0A) adhesion ratings. Starting at the
blistered areas, the lining could be removed with only slight pressure from the tip of a razor knife. The area of poor adhesion
extended outward from the blistered areas approximately two feet, at which point, adhesion improved (5A).
All of the steel beneath the removed areas exhibited the same black color as was observed when the blister caps were removed.
The backside of the lining chips that were removed from these areas also had the same black-colored residue. At the point where
adhesion improved, the appearance of the steel beneath the removed lining changed from the black color to a clean, bright metallic
appearance and surface roughness that is consistent with Near-White metal blast cleaned steel.
The Laboratory Investigation
The laboratory investigation in this case consisted of visual and microscopic examination, scanning electron microscopy-energy
dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (SEMEDS), and ion chromatography of the blister liquid.
Visual and Microscopic Examination
Microscopic examination (with magnification up to 200X) of lining chip samples supported the observations made in the field. The
pinpoint rust observed on the floor was confirmed to be small rusted metallic fragments that were embedded in the surface of the
SEM-EDS was used to analyze the black-colored residue on the backside of sample chips obtained in and around blistered areas
(Fig. 4). The analysis revealed that the black material on the backside of the samples was composed primarily of carbon, oxygen,
and iron.

Fig. 4: SEM-EDS image of black material on the backside of sample lining
chips. Upper left section shows a view of the sample; upper right section
shows the analyzed sample portion; bottom section contains the spectrograph
of the elemental analysis.
Ion Chromatography
Ion chromatography (IC) was performed on a liquid blister sample. The analysis revealed that the liquid contained chloride
concentrations of 135 parts per million (PPM) and sulfate concentrations of 125 PPM.
Putting the Evidence to Work
The field investigation and forensic analysis yielded sufficient evidence to make conclusions as to why blistering and pinpoints of
rust formed in the tank lining film.
The Blister Formation Process
There are some well-known mechanisms that fuel the process of blister formation and assist in the accumulation or concentration of
moisture at given points within a lining film. Conditions that drive these forces are: contamination of the substrate by water-soluble
salts, water-soluble solvents trapped within the coating film, and/or thermal gradients (temperature differences) across the coated
The analysis of blister formation in the tank led the investigator to conclude that the isolated blisters formed as a result of the lining
system being applied over water-soluble salts. Laboratory analysis detected chloride and sulfate concentrations in blister liquid
taken from intact blisters on the tank interior shell wall. The presence of water-soluble salts beneath the lining created an osmotic
cell that fueled the osmotic blister formation process and the formation of the black-colored oxide layer on the steel surface at these
locations. The black-colored oxide layer was simply rust that formed in the absence of sufficient oxygen. When sufficient oxygen is
present, corrosion products possess the red/orange color that is often associated with rust.
The tank was reported to have been hydro-tested using raw water from a nearby creek. Fortunately, the water from the creek was
sampled on a bi-monthly basis to confirm that the construction project had no negative environmental impact on this waterway.
Analysis of creek water samples taken during the hydro-testing of the tank revealed significant concentrations of chlorides and
sulfates. As a result, it was concluded that the creek water was the likely source of the residual soluble salt contamination on the
tanks interior steel surfaces.
Although the substrate was abrasive blast cleaned after hydro-testing, dry abrasive blast cleaning did not completely remove all
water-soluble salts from the steel surface. Because water-soluble salts are invisible, they are impossible to detect before coatings
are applied unless specific test methods (i.e., extraction and analysis of surface samples) are employed. In the case of the raw
water tank, it appeared that some isolated patches where water-soluble salts were likely more concentrated remained on the
surface and were coated over, resulting in the formation of isolated blistering.
Blisters produced by water-soluble salt contamination on the surface form by osmosis; hence, this mechanism is termed osmotic
blistering. Osmotic blistering occurs when there is ample moisture in contact with a coating film (i.e., immersion service), and there
is a difference on each side of the film in the concentration of dissolved salts. This relative difference on each side of the membrane
creates osmotic pressure that causes water molecules to slowly penetrate through the molecular infrastructure of the lining. As
moisture penetrates, it attempts to dilute the more concentrated salt solution to reach equilibrium on both sides of the membrane.
The moisture does not egress from the film as fast as it ingresses, and moisture accumulates causing a pressure build-up. As a
result, an osmotic cell is created, and the driving force of osmotic pressure will accelerate the transport of water through the coating
to further dilute the concentrated solution. Osmotic pressure can exceed 15,000 psi, depending on the soluble contaminants in the
osmotic cell. Consequently, these pressures many times exceed coating adhesion to the substrate, and as a result, blisters form.
Because the hydro-testing was done before the lining contractor and coating QC inspectors were onsite, they were not aware of the
hydro-test process and the potential for surface contamination.
Pinpoint Rust Formation
Small metallic fragments that had rusted were embedded in the surface of the coating adjacent to piping that was attached to the
tank shell wall with angular steel brackets. Both field and laboratory microscopic examinations indicated an appearance consistent
with small (often hot), metal fragments that are produced from grinding, burning (torch cutting), and welding. When these particles
fall on a coated surface, they can actually melt into and become embedded in the surface of the coating.
It was also reported that, after lining work was complete, other crafts performed unanticipated retrofit work on the pipe supports in
the tank. The work involved grinding, burning, and welding on the pipe supports after the lining contractor had demobilized. This
post lining work was fast tracked to get the tank system online, and obviously, the embedded metal fragments were not identified
and removed before the tank was filled. As a result, the metallic fragments rusted, producing a pinpoint-like rust appearance on the
tank floor.
In summary, while rigorous QC/QA steps were taken during lining installation process, work performed by other crafts before the
lining contractors arrival onsite and after they had demobilized had a significant impact on the performance of the lining system. A
valuable lesson was learned: the entirety of the project must be considered when an immersion-grade lining system is to be
installed. What occurs before the first and after the last gallon of coating material is applied can have an unforeseen impact on the
long-term performance of the lining system.

14. Quality Measures: A Cure for Fear of Failure
From JPCL, July 2012

David Beamish
DeFelsko Corporation
David Beamish is president of DeFelsko Corp., a New York-based manufacturer of hand-held coating test instruments sold worldwide. He is a
Registered Professional Engineer and has more than 25 years experience in the design, manufacture, and marketing of these testing instruments in a
variety of international industries including industrial painting, quality inspection, and manufacturing. He conducts training seminars and is a member of
various organizations including NACE, SSPC, ASTM, and ISO.
Coated concrete is a commonly used building material, and arguably can be the most likely to experience
coating failures. These failures greatly increase the potential for premature degradation of the substrate
material and often result in additional expenditure of resources for repair.
The good news is that such failures are far from inevitable.
In many cases, the lack of a comprehensive Quality Control Procedure is at the root of coating failures. As
with other building materials, applying coatings to concrete requires specific measures to ensure coating
performance and longevity.
Assuming that the concrete surface has been determined to be sound, that it is not compromised by
contaminants such as dust, oil, and grease, and that the moisture level in the concrete is suitable for
painting, the following measures should be part of a quality control program for coating application.
Surface Preparation
One of the first considerations in assuring coating quality control is the compatibility of the concretes physical surface texture (also
known as the anchor or surface profile) with the coating to be applied.
The recently issued ASTM standard D7682, Standard Test Method for Replication and Measurement of Concrete Surface Profiles
Using Replica Putty, references both Method A (visual comparison) and Method B (quantifiable measurement) as means by which
to determine concrete surface profile.
Given the possibility for coating failure and both preparation and materials costs, it may be desirable to have a permanent record of
this profile for reference.

Quality-control measurements can play a key role in ensuring proper
surface preparation, substrate moisture, environmental conditions,
and coating thickness and adhesion. Restoration of the exterior of
Frank Lloyd Wrights Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, shown here,
was a subject of a feature story in J ournal of Architectural Coatings
(now D+D) in 2009. Photo by David Heald The Solomon R.
Guggenheim Foundation, New York
One such test method that satisfies both the visual comparison and quantifiable measurement for surface profile utilizes a rapid-
cure, two-part putty. By means of application and removal of the putty, a permanent relief mold of a surface sample is obtained. The
relief mold may be visually compared to ICRI (International Concrete Repair Institute) CSP (concrete surface profile) coupons or
measured with a specially-built micrometer at multiple areas on the mold in accordance with the testing method.

Substrate Moisture
Generally, moisture testing should be performed before painting to determine if a problem exists. Selecting proper test methods can
be challenging, however, and the specific requirements of the coating manufacturer should be implemented.
A typical test is the plastic sheet method (described by ASTM D4263), where a plastic sheet (18 by 18 in.) is taped to the surface
and allowed to remain for 16 hours. The sheet is then examined for any moisture that forms on the underside of the plastic. If the
test indicates moisture, the wall surfaces should be allowed to dry further before coatings are applied.
Moisture meters may also be used, but these instruments vary widely in their ability to detect moisture within a concrete/masonry
wall. Some meters only detect moisture on the surface of the wall, but not moisture that is present within the wall (e.g. cavity or
Meters that utilize radio frequency or electrical impendence have been found to offer more accuracy than others, and can determine
the moisture content below the surface. Some instruments also possess the ability to penetrate non-destructively to 0.75 in.
Again, the coating manufacturer should be consulted for the specific instruments to be used for moisture detection, and for the
associated acceptance criteria.
Environmental Considerations
The primary reason for measuring climatic conditions is to avoid rework and the premature failure of protective coatings.
Recommendations and requirements are covered under various internationally recognized standards in addition to those specified
by the coating manufacturer.
The ability to log results may also be important as evidence of the observation of these conditions before, during, and after the
coating process.
Surface preparation and coating application should be performed under optimum environmental conditions to help prevent potential
coating failure.
A major factor affecting the long-term performance of coatings on concrete is the climatic conditions during pretreatment and coating
application. Handheld, electronic devices enable painting contractors, inspectors, and owners to measure and record applicable
environmental conditions.
Coating Thickness
The primary purpose for measuring coating thickness on concrete is to control coating costs while ensuring adequate protective
coverage. Commercial contracts often require an independent inspection of the work upon completion.
Masonry coatings are used for a multitude of purposes including cosmetic appearance, durability, abrasion resistance, and
protection from elements such as moisture, salt, chemicals, and ultraviolet light. Common coatings for concrete include formulations
based on acrylic, polyurethane, epoxy, silicone, and polyester resins.
Traditionally, a destructive test method is used to determine coating thickness on masonry substrates such as concrete. Coatings
used on concrete range from hard to soft and smooth to textured, and span a wide thickness range. In addition, the surface of
concrete can be quite rough, which can create significant variations in thickness measurements.
ASTM D6132, Standard Test Method for Nondestructive Measurement of Dry Film Thickness of Applied Organic Coatings Using an
Ultrasonic Gage, details a nondestructive test method that eliminates the need to repair the coating after inspection, saving time for
both the inspector and the contractor.
Ultrasonic measurement testing equipment operates by sending an ultrasonic vibration into a coating using a probe (i.e., a
transducer) with the assistance of a couplant applied to the surface.
Ultrasonic coating thickness gages are also used within the scope of SSPC-PA 9, Measurement of Dry Coating Thickness on
Cementitious Substrates Using Ultrasonic Gages. The PA 9 method determines coating thickness by averaging a prescribed
minimum number of acceptable (under the method) gage readings within separate spot measurement areas of a coated surface.
Coating Adhesion
Once the coating has been correctly applied to the required thickness, is it desirable to quantitatively measure the bond strength
between the coating and concrete substrate. The test method for this purpose is detailed in ASTM D7234, Standard Test Method for
Pull-Off Adhesion Strength of Coatings on Concrete Using Portable Pull-Off Adhesion Testers.

The purpose of measuring coating thickness on concrete
is to control coating costs while ensuring adequate
protective coverage. Shown here is a wet-film thickness
gage. Photo courtesy of KTA-Tator Inc.
Pull-off adhesion testing is a measure of the resistance of a coating to separation from a substrate when a perpendicular tensile
force is applied. Portable pull-off adhesion testers measure the force required to pull a specified diameter of coating away from its
substrate. This measured pull-off force provides a direct indication of the strength of tensile adhesion between the coating and the
By eliminating sources of pull-off variation, such as unintended bond failures between the adhesive and poorly prepared dollies,
adhesion test results become even more meaningful and predictable.
The major components of a pull-off adhesion tester are a pressure source, a pressure gage, and an actuator. During operation, the
flat face of a pull stub (dolly) is adhered to the coating to be evaluated. After allowing for the bonding adhesive to cure, a coupling
connector from the actuator is attached to the dolly. By activating the pressure source, pressure is slowly increased to the actuator
within the system.
When testing on concrete, the pressure in the actuator typically exceeds the internal tensile strength of the concrete itself, at which
point a cohesive failure occurs within the concrete. The maximum pressure indicator of the systems pressure gauge provides a
direct reading of the pressure at which the pull-off occurred. With proper cutting around the dolly, the instrument can be used to
measure the tensile strength of uncoated concrete, as well as concrete repairs.
QC: Key Contributor to Meeting Cost, Performance Objectives
As the use of concrete as a building material continues to grow, so too does the need to establish proper Quality Control measures
when applying coatings. As outlined above, these measures ensure longevity of both the coating and the underlying structure and
are a primary contributor to meeting cost and performance expectations.

14. Laboratory Investigations into the Edge Corrosion Protection Capacity of
Organic Coatings
From JPCL, May 2012
Sascha Buchbach
Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research, Bremen, Germany
Dr. Peter Plagemann ,
Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research, Bremen, Germany
Dr. Andreas W. Momber ,
Muehlhan AG, Hamburg, Germany
Sascha Buchbach and Dr. Peter Plagemann are with the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research in
Bremen, Germany. The authors can be contacted through Dr. Andreas Momber,

Edge profiles in maritime steel constructions
From left: tank deck; offshore construction; cargo hold roof All photographs and drawings are courtesy of
IFAM, Bremen; and Muehlhan AG, Hamburg.
The morphology and geometry of free edges on steel structures have a notable influence on the corrosion protection performance of
coating systems. There is general agreement in the surface protection industry that a badly prepared edge, whether thermally or
mechanically generated, will be a starting point for coating deterioration and subsequent steel corrosion.
There are three basic strategies available to improve the corrosion protection performance of organic coatings over edges: edge
preparation, stripe coating, and edge retentive coatings.
The third approach is a material issue, while the other two are process issues. The second approach belongs to the painting
process, whereas edge preparation is situated between primary and secondary surface preparation of the steel, and was the subject
of a nationally funded, three-year R&D project.
An initial report on the project on how edge geometry and coating type affect the corrosion protection performance of organic
coatings on edges, with particular attention to ballast seawater tank applications, was presented at the PACE 10 Conference.
report covered a discussion of the testing scenarios, an introduction to three assessment methods, and the initial results. The
research program involved the use of different edge preparation tools and of different coating systems. The project focus, however,
was on the use of thermal cutting tools, because these are an integral part of construction lines in modern shipbuilding yards. One
aspect of the project was to investigate the applicability of these tools not only for cutting, but also for edge rounding.
Testing methods included the long-term testing of samples in a specially designed ballast tank coating test chamber (as per the IMO
wave tank quoted in the PSPC), condensation chamber tests (ISO 6270-1), electric impedance spectroscopy (EIS), and dry film
thickness (DFT) measurements on polished cross-sections of coated edges. The conclusions from this initial study were that edge
preparation tool, edge geometry (radius), and paint system all had notable effects on the corrosion protection performance of the
coating systems in condensation tests and the IMO test chamber. Also, the assessment methods used in the study allowed for a
differentiation between the above-mentioned variables. Correlations between edge coverage and macro-geometry (edge radius)
and the results obtained from corrosion protection tests (condensation and IMO testing, EIS) were observed.

Fig. 1: Sudden drop in the resistance of edge coating systems during the EIS investigations (edge
treatment method: solid-state laser)
The present article describes the results of the second part of this investigation project. The edge treatment methods/tools
considered in this study included mechanical (milling, grinding) and thermal methods (laser, plasma) and are described in Reference
Working Hypotheses
Based on the results of the initial systematic studies of effects on the edge protection performance of organic coatings and a
statistical interpretation of the results, the following four hypotheses were postulated and investigated in a further series of tests.

Fig. 2: Sample with cracked edge coating a - General view; b - Polished cross section
i. There is no definite, statistically proven effect of the edge radius on the DFT over edges.
ii. Edge preparation method/tool and coating system have definite effects on the DFT over edges.
iii. The effect of deviations due to coating application can be in the same order of magnitude as effects due to edge treatment
and edge geometry.
iv. A ranking of the edge treatment methods depends on the state of tool development.
Introduction of Deterioration of Edge Protection Coatings
The response of undamaged edge coating systems to early corrosive stress was simulated experimentally through electrochemical
impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The experimental set-up is described in reference 1. The criterion for the assessment of the system
performance was the time that went by until the electric resistance of a coating dropped to a value of 10
(considered poor
performance). This procedure is illustrated in Fig. 1. It can be seen that the failure of the coating systems occurred rather suddenly
and was not due to a gradual controlled decrease in the resistance.

Fig. 3: Corrosive loading regimes (drawing modified from IMO, London). SeeTable 1 for detailed
Closer examination of the failed samples indicated that the coatings cracked at particular edge locations. These locations were not
identical to the locations with lowest DFT, as can be seen inFig. 2. It is, from this point of view, questionable to define a particular
DFT as a sole guarantee for a good edge protection performance of coating systems in water ballast tanks. It rather seems to be the
response of coating systems to stresses generated due to thermal, physical, or aqueous stresses. This preliminary result would
support the approach to develop reinforced organic coating systems for this application.

Edge Protection Coating DeteriorationLocal Corrosivity
As can be seen in Fig. 3, the corrosive stress on the samples in the IMO wave chamber will depend upon the exact location of the
samples. Results of anti-corrosion effect (AE)-assessments (see reference 1 for how to assess AE) are given in Fig. 4.
The results are also summarized in Table 1 in terms of arithmetic mean and standard deviation of the anticorrosive effect numbers
shown in Fig. 5 for the individual zones.
The average edge corrosion protection performance of the coatings was lowest in the cyclically immersed zone #4, followed by the
thermally and cyclically loaded zones #1 and #2. The best performance was noted for the cyclically splashed zone #3. This zone
also showed the least standard deviation among all four chamber locations. This result looks surprising because experience from
offshore structures has shown that the corrosivity in terms of mass loss on steel due to corrosion is most severe in the splash zone
of the structures.

However, two notable differences should be considered. First, in the present study, coating deteriorationnot steel corrosionwas
evaluated. Second, the immersion was performed cyclically in the present study, and thermal effects were added in the other two
zones. Worthy of note is the high standard deviation in the very corrosive zone #1. In this zone, performance was very sensitive to
the effect of edge preparation and coating application, while changes in treatment and paint material were much less influential in
zone #3. Regarding the treatment method, it can be shown that the effect on the coating performance also depended on the position
in the test tank. The use of a plasma beam for generating a 1-mm edge, for example, led to very good corrosion protection
performance of the Edge coating in zone #2, whereas the plasma-treated samples did not perform very well in zone #1.
The same finding can be applied to edge radius effects. The 1-mm edge, covered with a conventional water ballast tank coating, did
not provide good corrosion protection in zone #4 but gave good results in zone #1, confirming that position in the test chamber, i.e.,
corrosivity of the environment, was the governing factor.

Fig. 4: Results of the AE assessment procedure (circled numbers correspond toFig. 1).
a = ; b = ; c = ; d = ;
Conv = standard BWT coating system; Edge = edge retentive coating system

Corrosive Loading Regimes
Situation /
(zone 1)
Loading regime Arithmetic
mean AE
deviation AE
Heated for 12 hrs to 50C
Cooled down for 12 hrs to 20C
Cyclically splashed
49 18
Temperature gradient of 20C
52 13
Cyclically splashed 61 9
Cyclically immersed 45 14
The specific hypotheses raised at the start of the project are discussed below in light of the testing carried out.
Hypothesis (i)
The effect of the different edge radii (1 mm, 2 mm), either on the DFT or on the parameter EC (edge coverage), was not statistically
significant. A major reason was that the measurement of only one DFT value over the edge could not represent the entire edge
geometry. Values for DFT varied notably in either direction of the edge. Examples are shown in Fig. 2, where DFT values over an
edge length of 10 cm are presented. Edge radius may be considered a local geometry parameter, and it does not characterize the
real situation at the edge. The definition of a global edge radius criterion cannot guarantee a definite DFT.
Cracks and coating failures do not necessarily originate at locations with low DFT. This is verified in Fig. 2. Cracks are a result of
unfavorable internal stress conditions. Swelling due to water absorption may be one reason. If the crack, or the local failure,
develops, the coating starts to deteriorate, and substrate corrosion is introduced.
Hypothesis (ii)
Edge preparation method and coating system both had statistically significant effects on the DFT over edges. Therefore, for a given
coating system, DFT is more dependent on edge treatment method and not on edge radius. Edge radius effects were not relevant;
the statistical significances were very weak. Further, for a given edge radius, the coating system would determine DFT. However,
DFT is not the target parameter, but corrosion protection performance is the target parameter. A definite unique relationship
between DFT and corrosion protection performance could not be established.

Fig. 5: Results of DFT measurements along edges (on polished cross sections) Upper
image: cross section (2 cm) with measurement positions; lower graph: Results
Hypothesis (iii)
Numerous features of the coating application process, such as temperature, stripe coat application, brush condition, spraying
process, and paint condition, affect the process and lead to variations. Surface preparation parameters, for example, cleanliness
and local roughness, will also affect both DFT and corrosion protection performance of the coating systems. Because the statistical
effects of the parameters varied in this study were not in general significant, it can be assumed that strong effects due to surface
preparation and coating application parameters mask the influence of other effects. This particular statement, however, needs to be
statistically verified.
Hypothesis (iv)
In terms of project time, three test cycles were carried out. The samples for the first test cycle were prepared with thermal tools that
were not optimized for edge rounding processes. The samples for the third test cycle, however, were prepared with optimized
thermal tools. The project partners responsible for the development improved the performance of these tools. Results of the
corrosion protection performance tests, based on the IMO wave tank tests, are presented in Table 2. It can be seen that CO2 laser
profiling was among the worst performing methods for the first test cycle, but, after optimization, became the best performing edge
treatment method for the last test cycle. These results clearly show that individual process parameters of the edge treatment
methods have notable effects on the corrosion protection performance of organic coating systems applied to edges.

Results of IMO Wave Tank Tests (Ranking Based on AE Assessment)
Cycle First Third
(Best to
1. Plasma Milling 1. CO2 laser
worst) 2. Untreated
3. CO2 laser Solid-state laser Grinding
2. Plasma 3-pass grinding Milling Solid-state laser
3. Untreated
The prescription of a particular edge geometry parameter does not help to control the corrosion protection performance of organic
coatings under simulated water ballast tank conditions. Other effectsedge treatment method/tool and coating applicationare
more important. It seems that DFT, or barrier resistance, is not a suitable parameter to control the deterioration of the coating
systems, nor does it control their corrosion protection capability. More complex processes, such as combined mechanical, physical,
and thermal loads, are responsible for the corrosion protection action of the systems.
The program was part of the national R D project BEKAS. This project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and
Technology (BMWi), Germany. Project partners were the following institutions: Center of Maritime Technologies e.V., Fraunhofer
AGP Rostock, Fraunhofer IFAM Bremen, IMAWIS GmbH, and SLV Mecklenburg-Vorpommern GmbH. Associated partners involved
in the project included the following: DNV Germany GmbH, Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH, Meyer Werft GmbH, Peene
Werft GmbH, TKMS Blohm+Voss Nordseewerke GmbH, and Wadan Yards. All photographs and drawings are courtesy of IFAM,
Bremen, and Muehlhan AG, Hamburg.
About the Authors
Dr. Andreas W. Momber is the head of research and development for Muehlhan AG in Hamburg Germany.

Editors Note: This article, by Dr. Andreas Momber and his strong team of co-
authors, is part of the series of Top Thinker articles appearing
in JPCLthroughout 2012. Dr. Momber is one of 24 recipients of JPCLs 2012
Top Thinkers: The Clive Hare Honors, given for significant contributions to the
protective coatings industry over the past decade. The award is named for Clive
Hare, a 20-year contributor to JPCL who shared his encyclopedic knowledge of
coatings in many forums. Professional profiles of all of the award winners, as
well as an article by Clive Hare, will appear in a special 13th issue of JPCL, to
be published in August 2012.
This article is based on a paper from SSPC 2011, the onference of SSPC: The
Society of Protective Coatings. The original appears in the conference
proceedings (

1. S. Buchbach, P. Plagemann, A.W. Momber . Laboratory investigations into the edge protection of organic
coatings, PACE Conference and Exhibition 2010, Phoenix, AZ, USA, January 2010.
2. M. Anders, K.H. Henkel, M.C. Wanner M.-C . Untersuchung zur Kantenbearbeitung an Schiffbaustahl mittels
Plasmaverfahren, DVS-Berichte, Bd. 250, Dsseldorf, pp. 384-390, 2008.
3. T.L. Pedersen, C.K. Jensen . Fiber reinforced crack resistant coatings for ballast tanks, Paper No. 06038,
NACE Corrosion 2006, San Diego, CA, USA, March 2006.

15.SSPC Gives Guidance on Protective Coating Specifications
From JPCL, January 2012

For many decades, some owners and engineers have considered protective coatings as incidental work not requiring any
specialized expertise. With the changes that have occurred in protective coatings in the past 60+ years, treating coatings as
incidental work can produce costly errors.
Up until the designation of hazardous materials in paint, it was common for owners to allow contractors to scrape these materials
and paint with primers. The replacement coatings are much more complicated, and there is less room for error in using high-
performance industrial coatings today.
The purpose of the report is to describe some best practices for preparing and administering a quality specification for application of
high-performance protective coatings and linings to industrial structures. The report focuses on developing an appropriate set of
requirements for applying coatings and linings.
All parties involved in coating contracts can benefit from the information presented in the report, but the primary audience includes
public and private facility owners, coating program managers and engineers, and architecture-engineering firms responsible for
preparing coatings specifications for clients.
The report does not cover the formatting of the specification document or contract language intended to manage risk. Also, the
document does not provide legal advice.
Part 1: The Contracting Environment
Part I describes the contract environment and outlines tools that the specification developer (designer) can use to develop
Types of Coating and Lining Contracts
A coating specification is the part of a coating contract that details the qualitative and quantitative requirements of the process and
finished product. There are many types and variations of contracts used in the construction industry. The report focuses on the
specifications for competitively bid contracts, or low bid contracts. The report is also applicable to other contracts, but some
tailoring of the requirements discussed may be necessary.
Creating a Level Playing Field
The competitive bidding process is generally thought by public agencies to be the most equitable way to distribute public contracting
funds. Competitive bidding is only competitive, however, when the entire process is fair to all potential bidders. Designing a good
specification can help work toward achieving a more equitable contracting environment. A level playing field encourages contractors
to be more efficient in all aspects of planning and executing work.

SSPC holds classes around the world on good
practice in all aspects of coatings projects.
Photos on pp. 63 and 64 are from recently held
courses. Photos courtesy of SSPC.
Identifying and addressing the root causes of competitive bidding problems and writing a specification to close gaps and potential
loopholes will most likely enhance project success as well as restore confidence in the competitive bidding process.
Roles of the Contracting Parties
The agreement between the facility owner and the contractor is typically one in which the contractor will perform the specified
requirements, and the owner will pay the contract price.
The Owner: The owner should develop a complete and unambiguous description of the work, enforce and manage the project
requirements, and coordinate actions. The design must be accurate and complete so that contractors can properly estimate the cost
of full contract conformance. Developing a good specification reduces the chance of getting wildly low bids.
The designers chief responsibility is to establish and convey project requirements in the specification. With a well-written and
executed specification, the owner is much more likely to receive the desired product. However, if the specification is weak, vague,
ambiguous or incomplete, the owner may encounter problems such as unrealistically high or low bids, bids from unqualified
contractors, costly change orders for additional work, costly delays resulting from disputes, costly litigation, and defaulted contracts.
SSPC supports owners hiring qualified coating specialists or having persons become qualified through SSPC, NACE, and other
industry programs. More information about the SSPC Protective Coatings Specialist (PCS) Program can be found
here: In addition, JPCL/PaintSquare maintains a list of coating industry
The Contractor and Subcontractors: The contractor is responsible for planning, scheduling, and producing work that conforms to
all contract requirements. The contractor is also required to provide objective evidence of conformity (documentation) of completed
work to project requirements.
When a subcontractor is used for specialized work such as coating, the prime contractor must provide documentation that the
qualifications of the coating subcontractor are equal to those of the prime contractor, or as specified.
The full report discusses steps that the contractor can take to clarify any vagueness in requirements.
The Inspector: The owner may or may not specify qualifications for the contractors inspectors and may or may not hire Quality
Assurance (QA) inspectors to monitor the contractors Quality Control (QC)/QA inspection and documentation.
Inspectors must verify that the work meets all specification requirements. Inspectors are expected to provide honest, unbiased data
in reporting of tests and observations that are specified for determining conformance of the work.

Legal Concerns in Coating Contracts
Because coating contracts are legal documents, it is important to consider various legal concerns when writing the specification and
drawing up the contract. The full report provides a suggested list of items that a contracts attorney should pay special attention to
when reviewing the final contract.
A well-written specification should eliminate or minimize issues such as contract deviations (often called variances), differing site
conditions (site variations), and nonconformities.

Corrective and Preventive Action
A set of tools to be used during contract performance has proven to be particularly effective in minimizing the occurrence and
recurrence of nonconformities with the specification. Corrective Action (CA) and Preventive Action (PA) can keep the contractor
focused on producing conforming work.
CA identifies the root cause of a nonconformity, takes steps to eliminate it, and then follows up to ensure that the nonconformity
does not recur. While CA is reactive in nature (responding to identified nonconforming work), PA is proactive in nature. It makes use
of knowledge and past experience to prevent nonconformities from occurring in the first place.
Basic Expectations from a Contractors QMS
A quality management system (QMS) addresses the principles and processes surrounding the design, development, and delivery of
a general product or service. Specifying a QMS standard as a preliminary requirement of the contractor sets up a process of
organized activities to meet established goals.
The owner should have expectations from the contractor concerning the work to be accomplished. The most important expectation
is that only work conforming to the specification will be tendered. The report provides more specific expectations of contractors
obligated to a QMS.
Part II: Items Commonly Required in Coating Specifications
Part II lists key elements of the specification and describes their functions.
Coordination Requirements
To be fully effective, the technical specifications must be coordinated with the owners front-end documents, as well as the general
requirements for each project. The front-end documents (e.g., General Conditions, Additional General Conditions, Special
Conditions, etc.) establish the legal contracting environment.
Foundation of the Specification
Coating specifications can be very complex documents, even without considering the thousands of seemingly mundane issues that
are encountered on every project. The coating industry has covered many of these issues for coating of industrial steel structures in
SSPC-PA 1, Shop, Field, and Maintenance Printing of Steel. Each coating specification for steel structures should start with SSPC
PA 1 as the foundation and be modified as needed to create a complete specification that gives both the contract administrator and
the contractor a complete description of requirements. SSPC-PA 7 should be used for concrete structures.
Key Elements
Scope of Project: Specifications should have introductions that describe the general scope of the project to prospective bidders.
Enough information should be presented in the scope section to permit potential bidders to determine whether they are interested in
investigating the proposed project further.

The specification must define all of the areas that are to be coated and all of the areas that are not to be coated.
The Site: The owner must provide contractor personnel with access to the work site. Sufficient area should be provided for the
contractor to store required equipment and materials.
Bidders should identify discrepancies they find prior to submitting bids, but a reasonable alternative is to require the contractor to
advise the contract administrator of any discrepancies within a reasonable time after contract award. The project site condition
should be fully described including any environmental limitations or other conditions that might affect project work.
References/Applicable Documents: A reference section of the specification should provide a listing of all documents cited in the
specification and no others. There should be a section detailing the precedence of documents in the event of a conflict. In addition to
SSPC, technical organizations that provide standards and other guidance relevant to coating projects include ASTM, API, AWWA,
A section should include definitions of all words and terms used in the specification that are not universally understood. Because
they are more widely used in the coatings industry, industry standard definitions such as those in SSPCs Protective Coatings
Glossary are normally preferred to those of governmental organizations.
Submittals: Submittals are the required documents, information, or products (samples) for owner or designer review to assure
conformity with the specification. Paint submittals are typically required to ensure the contractor is intending to use the specified
products in accord with the manufacturers recommendations and the specifications.
A submittal section requires the contractor to regulate the timely flow of materials and documents used on the project and ensure
their compliance with specification requirements.
Safety and Health Plans: SSPC-PA Guide 10, Guide to Safety and Health Requirements for Industrial Painting Projects, provides
guidance for specifying safety and health requirements for contractors. SSPC-Guide 17, Guide to Developing a Corporate Safety
Program for Industrial Painting and Coating Contractors, is also usable by owners to evaluate contractors safety programs.
Work Plan, Process Control Procedures (PCPs), etc.: A Work Plan is a written document containing a list of all actions and
procedures, assembled to describe all steps necessary for the contractor to produce a finished product conforming to all
specification requirements. The Work Plan requirements of the specification into a series of steps for field implementation.
Quality Assurance: A quality assurance section of the specification includes prerequisites, standards, limitations, and criteria that
define the quality for products and work.
Qualifications and certification statements may be requested to establish the capabilities of the contractor and those employed or
utilized by the contractor. SSPC-QP 1 can help assess a contractors ability to complete the project work in a satisfactory and timely
manner. Additional certifications (e.g., SSPC-QP 2) may be required for special projects, and SSPC offers additional industry-
specific contractor Quality Management Certifications for specialty applications such as Shop Coating (QP 3), Metallizing (QP 6),
and Coating of Concrete (QP 8).
The coatings industry has multiple certification programs for coating inspection personnel and coating inspection companies. It is
recommended that these certifications be used on coating projects (e.g., NACE CIP or SSPC equivalent for inspectors or SSPC-QP
5 for coating inspection companies).
Delivery and Storage of Materials and Equipment: The specification should contain a section with special requirements for
packing and shipping products, equipment, and their components, along with special storage, handling, and disposal requirements.
An emergency action plan should be in place to respond to accidents involving hazardous materials as well as an OSHA-approved
plan for collecting, storing, and disposing of hazardous waste.
Specified Type and Size Range of Abrasives: The specified abrasives should be tested by the referenced test methods, e.g.,
SSPC-AB 1, for conformance to specification before use.
Kits and Equipment for Testing: Equipment necessary for testing for surface cleanliness, profile, and coating thickness must be
available at the work site. The specific parameters and test requirements must be included in the specification if the owner/designer
expects those tests to be performed.
Specified Types of Coating Materials: A materials section of the specification lists the coating materials to be used on the project.
Occasionally, public works projects require the allowance of an or equal clause if a particular product or manufacturer is
referenced. Criteria should be specified for determining acceptability of or equal submissions. There are specific legal
requirements to be met if public owners want to try to sole source or limit the paint products.
The VOC content of coating materials is controlled in most U.S. locations. If commercial products are specified, their colors should
be selected from the manufacturers list of available colors. Upon delivery, the coating materials must be identified as those
specified and as having sufficient shelf life to complete the project.
Acceptable Ambient Conditions: A section of the specification should list acceptable ambient conditions for surface preparation
and coating application and curing or at least require the products to be applied in accordance with the manufacturers
recommendations (as prescribed in SSPC Technical Insight Report on Monitoring and Controlling Ambient Conditions During
Coating Operations).
Cleaning Surfaces: The report describes the required pre-cleaning actions (e.g., grinding of welds and sharp edges) before the
actual surface preparation for coating. It also describes the required levels of pre-cleaning.
Abrasive blast cleaning is the most commonly specified surface preparation method for cleaning industrial steel surfaces for coating.
Any required special equipment or procedures should be specified along with the required level of cleaning and profiling.
Coating Application: An application section of the specification specifies acceptable methods that may be used to apply the
specified materials. Manufacturers product or technical data sheets are commonly required to provide recommended procedures for
application for specific coatings. Application concerns are listed in the document.
Inspection and Documentation Requirements: Project documentation, including inspection and testing records, should be used
to determine the contractors compliance with specification requirements and approved procedures.
A list of action items needing completion is prepared before a final inspection to ensure that all work is complete and ready for the
final acceptance by the owner.
Warranty: The warranty section of the specification requires that the materials and equipment be new and of good quality, the work
be free from defects, and the work conforms to all contract documents. Warranties for coating work are typically for one year after
acceptance of the work.
Editors Note: The following is a summary of an SSPC report on Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications.
The article attempts to highlight the main points of the report but does not represent all information that SSPC has
provided to write a coating specification. The total report consists of two parts, which are summarized here, and four
appendices, which are not summarized. The subject of this article, Preparing and Using Protective Coating
Specifications, is available at no charge to SSPC members and facility owners. SSPC members can go to download the report. Non-member facility owners can request a
copy from Michael Damiano,

16. On the cleanliness of stainless steel
From JPCL, December 2011
How can I determine the cleanliness of stainless steel for painting after blast cleaning?
From David Lemke
Team Industries
Because we are discussing only a stainless steel substrate, I will refer to only the relevant portion of SSPC-SP 16, Brush-Off Blast
Cleaning of Coated and Uncoated Galvanized Steel, Stainless Steels, and Non-Ferrous Metals.
The stainless substrate should be tested for chlorides first (if suspected or if the specification requires the testing) to determine the
type of SSPC-SP 1 to perform. Solvent and alkaline cleaners are covered in SP 1, but chlorinated solvents cannot be used for
solvent cleaning on stainless steel. Also, solvents wont remove any chloride.
Once the substrate is cleaned, and rinsed if detergents were used, the substrate is ready to be abrasive-blasted. SSPC-SP 16 does
not cover what type of abrasive to use, but if something is made of stainless steel, I wouldnt think you would want to use steel grit
and risk problems with steel embedded in stainless. (Steel embedded in stainless creates a bi-metallic corrosion cell. When the
stainless is coated, the corrosion cell becomes a point of weakness, leading to poor adhesion.)
We have used garnet, which seems to be the preferred choice; however, aluminum oxide, glass beads, or stainless steel grit can
also be considered. But if the possibility of having carbon steel residue deposits embedded in your stainless steel isnt an issue, you
could use steel grit.
SSPC-SP 16 does state that a minimum profile of 0.75 mil has to be achieved. After removing the dust from blasting, you could do
an ISO 8502-3 Dust Assessment (tape test) to determine the cleanliness of the substrate. Magnification at 10X is associated with
ISO 8502-3, but the SSPC abrasive specification calls for the surface to be free of contaminants without the use of magnification. So
do the tape test, and if you cannot see debris without magnification, the stainless steel should be ready to coat.
From Dwie Hermanto
I think the best first step is SSPC-SP 1, Solvent Cleaning, and high-pressure, fresh water washing or steam to remove all
contamination. Then, the surface should be abraded, followed by fresh water wash or steam cleaning. Finally, the chloride levels
should be checked. If they are acceptable, proceed to painting.
From Trevor Neale
Blastech Corporation
I submit that the current SSPC surface preparation specifications do not adequately address preparing stainless steel. Following
specification of the essential thorough cleaning, the blast media and profile should be specified in detail. Generally, it is preferable to
use only extremely hard mineral abrasives such as aluminum oxide or garnet of suitable particle size to achieve the required profile
and density for the coating system being applied.
From R.K. Singh
Chemdale Coatings Pvt Ltd.
Blasting stainless steel should be avoided. Cleaning with chloride-free solvents, pickling, and passivation with chromic or phosphoric
acid will form a thin adhesive layer for paint to adhere.
Editors Note: The above Problem Solving Forum (PSF) question was posted on the free daily electronic newsletter,
PaintSquare News (PSN), on behalf of JPCL. PSF responses submitted through PSN as well as those sent directly
to JPCL are selected and edited to conform to JPCL style and space limitations. Send questions and answers to Karen
Kapsanis, editor, JPCL, kkapsanis@protectiveco

17.When specifications and product data sheets conflict
From JPCL, October 2011
When Specifications and Product Data Sheets Conflict
How should a conflict between requirements, such as film thickness, on a product data sheet and the
specification be resolved?
From Simon Hope
BIS Salamis (M&I)
This is an eternal debate! For a contractor, it is always difficult to know which way to go to resolve the problem. However, because
warranties will be involved, it is advisable to resolve any discrepancies at the bidding stage of the contract.
If there is a major and obvious error in the specification, the error should be brought up as a Technical Query to the client, and, if
possible, supported by evidence from the coating manufacturer so that all parties are aware of the discrepancy. At the end of the day,
both the coating manufacturer and the contractor will be expected to hold some form of warranty on the job done, so it is essential
that the work is done in line with the manufacturers guidelines on its technical data sheet.
Divergence from the technical data sheet should be done only with the manufacturers express permission in writing and verification
that the warranty terms will not be compromised. A properly conducted bidding process, in which both commercial and technical
personnel are involved, should not, on the whole, allow these discrepanies to occur. But at the end of the day, should a discrepancy
occur, there should first be discussions between all three parties to iron out an agreement that satisfies all requirements. Usually, this
agreement involves the warranty, which is invariably dictated by the coating manufacturer and its product data sheets. Manufactuers
will walk away from a failure if there has been any unauthorized deviation.
William Slama
International Paint/Ceilcote Products
We have seen instances in which the specifying engineer has included coating or lining thicknesses that were not consistent with the
manufacturers most recent specifications. This inconsistency has resulted from the use of obsolete information or casual
information from other documents. It should be understood that the manufacturers latest specifications, product data sheets, and
product installation procedure documents should be accepted for spec revision. Aside from the technical correctness of the
manufacturers most current documents, warranty issues may also result from incorrect thickness specifications.
Sometimes articles or promotional literature may list nominal or typical thicknesses, whereas manufacturers carefully establish
specified thickness ranges and targets so that the thicknesses can reasonably be attained by paint crews who have adequate training
and experience with applying the product type. This is especially significant for application methods other than spray, such as trowel,
squeege, etc. The basic premise is that the manufacturer has established the thickness ranges for the best coating or lining
performance and practicality of application.
From Joseph Brandon
QualityFirst Consultants LLC
There are many reasons how and why a coating specification may conflict with manufacturer recommendations, best practices, and
related issues. Such conflicts need to be resolved by the owners engineer at the earliest feasible time to prevent an adverse impact
on planning, production, or both. A discrepancy in dft and any other detected conflicts should be communicated to the owner using a
Request for Information (RFI) or other established process.
From Lee Edelman
During the pre-job meeting, these conflicts should be resolved. All parties should attend the pre-job meeting. At the meeting, the
owner and coating manufacturer should decide on the correct film thickness for the specification. The owners specification
supercedes the manufacturers data, but this does not mean the specification is always right. The manufacturers data tells the
minimum and maximum coating thicknesses. This information should not be overlooked.
All parties should review the steps for surface prep, anchor profile, and coating selection to make sure all elements of the system are
compatible before the project starts. Always request a pre-job meeting.
Editors Note: The above Problem Solving Forum (PSF) question was posted on the free daily electronic newsletter,
PaintSquare News (PSN), on behalf of JPCL. PSF responses submitted through PSN as well as those sent directly
to JPCL are selected and edited to conform to JPCL style and space limitations. JPCL invites additional responses to the
question; you may send your answer directly to Karen Kapsanis, editor, JPCL,

18.On measuring WFT to predict DFT
From JPCL, May 2011
James Prevatt
Asset Preservation Partners
Zinc-rich coatings, both organic and inorganic, have larger particle sizes and will not shrink like conventional coatings. The amount
of shrinkage will vary with the change of particle size of zinc. Apply a gallon to the prescribed sq. ft. area (e.g., 200 sq. ft. per
gallon), carefully noting the WFT. Once dry, measure the DFT, and you can estimate the true shrink of the coating from solvent
evaporation. It should be around 60-80% of a normal shrinkage. It is best to know in a shop situation to be sure on your estimate
of usage.
Tom Swan
The best way to measure the thickness of a zinc-rich coating before it dries completely is to put a shim of known thickness on the
zinc coating, and use a DFT gauge to measure the thickness of the coating. Then, subtract the thickness of the shim, and you
should have a pretty good estimate of the thickness of the coating. Its not perfect, but its probably the best you will do. I havent
tried it with organic zinc coatings, but it works reasonably well with inorganic zincs.
Lee Edelman
CW Technical Service
Organic zinc-rich primers are designed for ferrous metals and are formulated to dry fast. The spread rate is based upon volume of
solids. Most organic zinc-rich primers have product data sheets that recommend WFT be checked, but the accuracy of WFT
testing of these materials is questionable. Care should be taken not to apply heavy film build during the application process. Take
several WFT measurements to get an overall average. Organic zinc-rich primers are porous.
Richard D. Souza
Stoncor Middle East LLC
Shop-applied organic zinc primers dry too quickly to take meaningful WFT measurements; therefore, it is always advisable to
prepare different sample plates with a varying number of passes and to take DFT readings on the plates once the coating is fully
cured or on overnight curing. This way, the operator knows how many passes he should spray to achieve the desired DFT. The
thinning percentage and tip size should remain the same, and best practice is to carry out such test panels with different sprayers
and spray stations to keep variable to a minimum.
Guru Sankar
Sathya Hitec Solutions
By using the conventional WFT gauge, we can arrive at two calibration graphs. In the first one, we can maintain the same blast
profile, and by varying the coverage of the organic zinc rich coating, we can get the first graph. In the second one, we can maintain
that the coverage is the same, and by varying the blast profile, we can get a second graph. Through experience in correlating
these two graphs, we can predict the DFT from the WFT measurements.
Larry Muzia
Exceletech LLC
The difficulty in obtaining accurate wet film readings with zinc-filled coatings is that the metallic zinc particles can pack under the
outer edges of the gage and create a false bottom, so to speak. Remember, we have a metal-filled product, which will not always
move out from under the wet film gage edges, thereby not allowing the gage to properly seat on the steel member. Rapid drying is
another issue to consider, especially with inorganic zincs. Taking several immediate wet film readings and the application by a
professional applicator can help achieve a responsible procedure to achieve the necessary results. Although organic zincs are
more tolerant of excessive DFT than iozincs, more is not always better. Also, remember to account for magnetic base plane when
verifying the DFT gage.
John Fletcher
Elcometer Limited
The measurement of wet film is a very simple process that is described in ASTM D4414 Method A and ISO 2808-1A.
The principle of the measurement is that a series of notches are cut into the side or edge of the comb to form a series of teeth that
have known distances from the reference shoulders formed at either end of the notches. The notches are pushed into the freshly
applied, and still wet, coating until the shoulders are against the substrate. The WFT will be between the thickness value of the
highest tooth coated with the film and the lowest tooth that is left uncoated.
The DFT is calculated from the wet to dry ratio for the paint, which is normally quoted in the paint manufacturers data sheet, as a
percentage solids value.
DFT=WFT x Percentage solids for the coating
For example, if the coating has a wet to dry ratio of 2:1, this means that the volume solids will be 50%, and for a WFT of 120 m
the DFT will be 50% or 60 m.
There are three reasons why the wet film comb does not allow the DFT to be calculated accurately: the wet film comb is damaged;
the wet film comb is not being used correctly; or the paint has additional (unmeasured) thinners added, which are not reflected in
the wet to dry ratio quoted for the paint. It should be possible to determine if the wet film comb is damaged by inspection.
ASTM D 4414 gives some guidance on the possible misuse of the wet film comb. The document recommends that the
assessment of the WFT is determined at three locations on the item being coated, and the average value used for the DFT
calculation and the range of the readings is noted for the report. Some coatings may not wet the comb; however, the film on the
item will show which teeth contacted the film and which did not. The wet film comb may slip on the surface, and such readings
should be ignored. The surface being measured may not be flat, and this may cause false readings on the comb.
If wet film measurement with more resolution is required, then the wet film wheel should be considered. The method for the use of
the wet film wheel is described in ASTM D 1212 Method A and in ISO 2808-1B.
The wet film wheel consist of three rims, two concentric outer rims, one of which carries the scale, and an eccentric inner rim
ground to follow the distances marked on the outer rim. The wheel is rolled through the wet film for a complete revolution and the
WFT read off where the film finishes on the inner rim. The DFT is calculated in the same way as for the wet film comb.
The advantage of the wet film wheel is that the scale is continuous, by comparison with the wet film comb, and by rolling the wheel
for one complete revolution, any surface tension effect can be averaged out by calculating the average of the two readings.
Antonio Tolotto
Boat S.P.A.
Zinc silicate shop primers are inorganic, rust preventive coatings used mainly in the shipbuilding industry. These products must
have excellent welding and cutting properties and are required to present no health hazard to the welder. They must be in
accordance with IMO Resolution MSC.215(82) and have to be approved by the IACS Classification Societies that fix the
acceptable thickness at which they can be applied without interfering with welding performances.
According to the technical data sheets of the main producers, zinc silicate shop primers are currently applied at 15 microns DFT,
with a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 25-30 microns DFT. The roughness of a shot blasted surface is recommended from 30-
75 microns (Rz). The recommended application method is airless spray in automatic plants. It is impossible to check the right
thickness (wet or dry) of the shop primer with traditional methods.
The roughness of the plate plays a dominant role, because surface profile will affect the coating thickness value displayed by the
testing gauge. Roughness will vary from part to part and cause the instrument to overstate the true thickness of the coating.
Additionally, shop primers are typically coatings that dry quickly, following the surface profile, because they must also protect the
peaks of the shot-blasted surface (15 microns DFT must protect 75 microns!).
By the way, there is a method to check the exact thickness of the paint applied. This method uses a perfectly flat plate (1050 cm)
of steel fixed to a shot-blasted surface just before the plate enters the painting plant. After the plate dries in a few minutes, collect
the plate and check. The right thickness is the average of 10 measures on the 50 cm length. You obtain a number (for example,
28). This is NOT the real thickness of the paint applied on the shot-blasted plate. This number must be decreased by 30%: 28
6=22 microns. Twenty-two microns is the right thickness applied on peaks and valleys of the shot-blasted plate. The reason is that
when a flat surface is abrasive blasted, the surface typically increases about 30%.
Editors Note: This question was posted on the daily electronic newsletter, PaintSquare News (PSN), on behalf
of JPCL. Responses, including most of the ones here, were received from PSN readers. All answers have been selected and
edited to conform to JPCLs style and space limitations. To read other Forum questions and responses, click the JPCLProblem
Solving Forum of any issue of PSN. If you would like to receive PSN,

19.On overcoating existing tank linings
From JPCL, February 2014
When performing maintenance painting of tank linings, what are the pros and cons of overcoating an existing lining that
appears to be in good condition?
From Christian Favennec, DCNS
In my opinion, it is not recommended to apply a new full coat over an old one in a tank, even if it is assumed that the old one is in
good condition.
The only result you will have is to generate new risks of premature failure, including the risk of premature adhesion failure between
the old coats and the new one, and the risk of damaging the old coat by generating mechanical stress during surface preparation,
with the stress generated by the new coat.
In a tank, the only need for application of a new full coat over an old coating assumed to be in good condition is for cosmetic
reasons, generally based on the asking of the customer, and not for technical reasons. If you can assume that the old coating is in
good condition, there is no need to apply a new coat.
Some of the methods to define if the old coating is in good condition include visual inspection for blistering, cracking, flaking, etc.,
and repartition of these defects (localized or scattered); adhesion pull-off tests; thickness testing; and holiday detection.
Generally, on an old coating in a tank, you can detect the porosity by visual inspection. You can also damage the old coat if you use
too high a voltage during holiday detection. If you only have localized defects or less than 1015% scattered defective areas, its
generally better, both technically and economically, to only perform touch-up. If you have more than 15% of scattered defective
areas, I generally suggest completely blasting the old coating and reapplying a new one.
From Tom Selby, Rodda Paint Corporation
The pros, of course, are the savings in time and money from not having to remove and dispose of the existing coatings. The con is
whether or not there is enough adhesion to the substrate and the soundness of all existing coatings on the surface. Prior to making
a decision, adhesion tests should be done. If a sweep blast is done per SSPC-SP 7, then adhesion tests should be done after the
sweep blast to check and see if the adhesion of the old coating system has been compromised in any way.
From William Slama, International Paint/Ceilcote Products
This answer is in regards to internal tank linings and particularly thick, reinforced thermosetting systems. First, one must focus on
the functional challenges to the lining system, simplified here as permeation, direct chemical attack, and mechanical (i.e., abrasion,
etc.) Next, the percentage of intact film area must make the repair and over-coating approach worthwhile, as opposed to removal
and reapplication of the same or a different lining system.
Basically, the existing lining system must be judged to have given and to be able to provide good protection in the tank environment
(primarily chemistry and temperature). In those cases, the existing lining damage could be due to application variables or localized
challenges due to cold wall areas or abrasion. The intact lining areas should be assessed for remaining thickness and for through-
adhesion with emphasis on evaluation of underfilm condition of the (steel) surface. If tensile adhesion strength through the film is
acceptable (generally more than 1/3 of a new film), and underfilm corrosion is slight or none, overcoating is a good prospect. We
have seen this in many high-build, reinforced linings that can be expected to have a protective life of 10 to 25 years. In some cases,
localized areas have been compromised and/or the surface layer (top coat) has been severely degraded over many years, but the
underlying lining is still strong and well-bonded. The result has been that localized repair and reapplication of the top coat after
abrasive blasting has resulted in 20-plus years of service without the much higher cost and down time of removal and relining.
Problem Solving Forum questions and answers are published in JPCL and JPCLs sister publication, PaintSquare News, a
daily electronic newsletter. To subscribe, go Occasionally, PSF questions and answers are republished,
and participants company affiliations are listed as they were when the answers were initially submitted.
20.Assuring the quality of abrasives
From JPCL, November 2013
When you clean steel by abrasive blasting, you need to produce a finish that will allow maximum adhesion of the coating.
Thus, you need to create the specified profile and the specified degree of cleanliness, such as SSPC-SP 10/NACE No. 2, Near-
White, or Sa , Very Thorough (ISO 8501-1).
The abrasive itself will affect both the profile and the degree of cleanliness of the steel. To achieve the appropriate profile, you must
use the right size abrasive, and to achieve the specified cleanliness, you must use abrasive that will effectively cut away rust, scale,
old paint, and other contaminants that may be on the surface. You also must be sure that the abrasive is clean, so that it does not
recontaminate the surface. This bulletin deals with assuring the quality of the abrasive you are using. It will explain how to check for
cleanliness, size, and if you are recycling the abrasive, the proper operating mix.
Documents from the Supplier
Your abrasive supplier will have processed the abrasive before selling it to you. This process normally involves cleaning the
abrasive, testing it for chemical content, grading and separating it according to size, drying it, and preparing it for shipment in bags
or bulk units. ISO standard specifications exist for abrasives: the 11124 series covers metallic abrasives, and the 11126 series
covers non-metallic abrasives.

Courtesy of David Dorrow, President, Mineral Aggregates
When you purchase the abrasive, you will receive a safety data sheet (SDS) describing its chemical makeup and the precautions
you need to take when using it. You can also request documents on sieve analysis and detailed chemical content from a laboratory
analysis. In addition to these assurances from the supplier that the abrasive meets your requirements, there are some simple tests
you can conduct to verify that the abrasive is what you ordered and is acceptable for use.
Abrasive Cleanliness
Abrasive needs to be clean; otherwise, the contaminants on the abrasive will be transferred to the surface being blasted. The most
detrimental contaminants on abrasive are water, oil, grease, and soluble salt levels higher than those allowed. Any of these
contaminants, once transferred to the steel, can cause failure of the coatings applied over them.
One simple way to detect oil and grease is to place a handful of abrasive in a clean glass jar containing clean water. Place a lid on
the jar and shake it vigorously. If a film of oil appears on the surface of the water, then the abrasive is not clean enough to use. This
test is also described in ASTM D7393, Standard Practice for Indicating Oil in Abrasives.
Checking for oil and grease contamination is especially important when you are recycling the abrasive. In this situation, oil and
grease can easily be picked up from the steel surface or from faulty equipment, so it is useful to check for oil and grease at regular
intervals during the blasting-recycling process. ASTM D7393 provides recommended testing frequencies.
This test of abrasive with water in a jar will also let you see how much dust or dirt is in the abrasive. If the water gets very cloudy or if
dust rises to the surface of the water, then the overall cleanliness of the abrasive should be questioned. Excessive dust or fines in
the abrasive means more time cleaning the surface before painting.
Visual inspection should let you determine if the abrasive is dry. Alternatively, ISO 11125-7 gives a method for determining whether
there is moisture in metallic abrasives, and ISO 11127-5 gives the method for non-metallic abrasives. To keep your abrasive supply
dry, make sure that it is stored properly, off the ground, and under shelter. Avoid using abrasive that has been exposed to the
elements because of torn bags, improper storage, or other reasons. Damp or wet abrasive will clog up your blast equipment,
prevent efficient operation, and cause pinpoint rusting on a steel surface.
Detection of salt or other chemical contaminants on the abrasive can be done in the laboratory or with specialized equipment in the
field. If you suspect chemical contamination, you can check for contaminants with litmus paper. The abrasive should be nearly
neutral; that is, it should have a pH of 68. If the pH is higher or lower, the abrasive may be chemically contaminated, though a
higher or lower reading is not a definitive indicator.
You can do a conductimetric analysis to check for salt contamination with a minimum amount of equipment in the field. One such
method is described in ASTM D4940, Standard Test Method for Conductimetric Analysis of Water Soluble Ionic Contamination of
Blasting Abrasives. In this test, combine equal amounts by volume (300 ml) of pure water and abrasive, and after agitation, a waiting
period, and further agitation, filter the slurry, and check the water for conductivity with a conductivity meter. This test will let you
know if ionic contaminants (i.e., salts) are on the abrasive. According to ASTM D4940, a typical conductivity value for highly
contaminated abrasive is 500 mhos/cm, while a typical conductivity value for a low level of contamination is 50 mhos/cm.
The use of a conductivity meter to check for salts is mentioned in SSPCs four abrasive specifications: SSPC-AB 1, Mineral and
Slag Abrasives; AB 2, Cleanliness of Recycled Ferrous Metallic Abrasives; AB 3, Ferrous Metallic Abrasive; and AB 4, Recyclable
Encapsulated Abrasive Media. The meter is also referenced in SSPC Guide 15, Field Methods for Retrieval and Analysis of Soluble
Salts on Steel and Other Nonporous Substrates, and ISO 11127-6 for non-metallic abrasives. ISO 11127-7 gives a method for the
detection of water-soluble chlorides with non-metallic abrasives.
Field test kits are also available for the rapid determination of chloride contamination of abrasives.
Abrasive Size
The size of abrasive you use will influence the speed of cleaning and profile created on the steel. The initial condition of the surface
will influence the choices that must be made. Larger particles are most effective for removing old paint, layers of rust, and mill scale.
However, they create a deeper anchor profile. Small particles are most effective for removing oxides. They are also needed if the
steel is pitted.
A typical slag abrasive mixture is a 1040 gradation. These numbers mean that, typically, at least 90% or more of the abrasive will
pass through a#10 sieve (10 lines per inch) and be retained on a#40 sieve (40 lines per inch). Particles will be in the range of
approximately 0.1 to 0.025 in. (2.5 mm to 0.6 mm) in diameter. The larger particles provide more impact energy, and the smaller
particles provide optimum coverage. Steel abrasives are more dense and harder than slag abrasives. Therefore, finer particles are
used in making up the gradation.
The size and hardness of abrasives are two factors that will determine the profile and anchor pattern of the steel. So it will be
necessary to select abrasive that creates the profile range specified in contract documents.
Occasionally, the size of the abrasive will be specified for a cleaning job, but more often, only the profile size will be specified (and is
the preferred method). You can check abrasive size with sieve analysis as described in ISO 11125-2 and 11127-2 for metallic and
nonmetallic abrasives, respectively. Or you can check abrasive size using ASTM C136, Test Method for Sieve Analysis of Fine and
Coarse Aggregates, which is referenced in SSPC-AB 1 and AB 3. The sieve analysis is conducted with screens readily available
from industrial supply houses.
You can check profile height per ASTM D4417, Standard Test Method for Field Measurement of Surface Profile of Blast Cleaned
Steel, with replica tape, visual comparators, or digital profilometers to see that it conforms with specifications. If the profile height is
greater than the specified range, then use smaller abrasive. If the profile height is less than specified, then use larger abrasive.
SSPC-PA 17, Procedure for Determining Conformance to Steel Profile/Surface Roughness/Peak Count Requirements, provides
requirements for determining compliance with the specified profile range.
Operating Mix
When recycling abrasive in a centrifugal blast machine, a field-portable recycling system, or a vacuum blaster, abrasive will break
down. As the abrasive is used, it breaks up and is worn down as it impacts with the work surface. A separator in the recycling
system should remove abrasive fines, that is, particles that are too small to be useful for cleaning. Add fresh abrasive to the
system at regular intervals to account for the loss from breakdown and to maintain an operating mix of abrasive sizes that will
effectively clean the steel and create a consistent profile.
Quality Control
You can make sure that the abrasive you use will not have a detrimental effect on coatings performance by making a few routine
checks, such as testing for cleanliness in a jar of water, measuring abrasive size with a sieve analysis, and measuring profile with
replica tape.
More elaborate testing, such as conductimetric analysis or laboratory testing for salts, may be required in some instances.
Editors Note: This article is updated from the December 2005 version, which was based on the original, written in collaboration with
Ernestine McDaniel of the Coatings Society of the Houston Area.
On p. 16 of the September 2013 Applicator Training Bulletin, Tools and Methods of Hand Tool Cleaning, the following statement
should read as follows. For example, if a bid specification calls for a steel surface to meet C ST2, it tells the applicator that the
initial condition of the steel is rusted and it must be hand tool cleaned and have a faint metallic sheen, as shown in the photo
depicting C ST2. The original statement incorrectly references C SA2.
21.Testing adhesion of multi-coat systems
From JPCL, October 2013
When should the adhesion of an applied coating or lining multi-coat system be tested?
From Karen Fischer Amstar of WNY
Adhesion testing should be performed for one of two basic reasons:
if the specification calls for it as a qualifying test for acceptance of the coating system, or
if there is a failure or suspected failure in the coating system (material and/or methods) that cannot be evaluated (or fully
evaluated) by non-destructive methods.
One must always keep in mind that an adhesion test is a destructive test, so the resulting test area now becomes a repair that
could, in itself, fail. This is especially important to keep in mind in the case of linings or any system that will be in immersion service,
mechanical service, or a chemical/harsh environmental service. Because it may be necessary to perform adhesion testing in
multiple areas (depending on the size of the suspected areas), there will be multiple repairs. Destructive testing should always be
the last method employed, not the first method, when evaluating a coating for suspected or obvious failure.
From J ames Albertoni CA Department of Water Resources
Some good instances where a multi-coat system should be tested for adhesion include if the re-coat window is missed, if the
topcoat is not specifically recommended by the manufacturer to be compatible with the basecoat, if the basecoat and topcoat are
from two different manufacturers, or if it is suspected one of the coats was mixed slightly off ratio. Most importantly, the system
should always be tested for adhesion if the spec calls for it.
From Daniel Liu APC
First, it will be up the specifier to decide if an adhesion test is required, and, if so, the specification should include not just the testing
requirement but also the acceptance criteria and tester type. From my experience in the field of tank coating, this test is normally not
required in the specification because it is a destructive method. Any repair area creates a weak point in the lining, so the more repair
areas you have, the more weak spots you have.
However, it is quite necessary to make a proper adhesion test recommended by the paint maker when application has or may have
deviated from the specification, such as by exceeding the recoat interval, not maintaining the proper level of humidity, or using the
wrong mixing ratio for plural-component coatings. Adhesion is quite important for tank coatings that are to be immersed in liquid. But
passing the adhesion test does not mean the whole coating system is conclusively qualified for service. The test is only a reference.
From Tom Swan M-TEST
Its important to note that if an adhesion test is called for in the specification, the document should specify failure criteria as well as
the pull tester to be. All pull testers pull at different rates, and, when I discuss pull tests with most people, they have no idea what the
pass/fail criterion is or what adhesion tester to use.
If you want to use adhesion testing for pass/fail testing, the specifications should specify the minimum pull required and what test
instrument to use. Also note that if you stop the test before the coating fails, there is no guarantee that the pull fixture will not take off
the coating when you try to remove the fixture, nor does passing the test guarantee that the adhesion or coating integrity was not
affected by the pull.
From Manpreet Singh Spiecapag Australia PTY LTD
If the clients specification calls for adhesion testing, the paint system should be simulated on a test specimen of the same material
class, 100 mm
and 6 mm thick. ISO 4624 describes the method of performing the adhesion test. Acceptance criteria, unless
specified by the end user, shall be a minimum of 7 MPA at 23 C, and, at 65 C, no more than 40% decrease from pull-off at 23 C.
From Atanas Cholakov ACT
Adhesion should be tested after the complete cure of the coating system. Information on curing can be acquired from the paint
suppliers technical representative. In the product data sheet, curing is highlighted in a table in accordance with different ambient
temperatures and other conditions.
From Trevor Neale TF Warren Group
Critical service specifications typically call for adhesion testing, so I assume this question relates to field painting where weather and
other delays are often unavoidable and formal adhesion testing is not part if the job/project specification. If there is any suspicion
that adhesion may be compromised, then the appropriate form of adhesion testing is recommended to ensure the complete system
integrity. This is simply a CYA procedure to avoid possible conflicts, or worse, premature failures.
From Bryant Chandler Greenman-Pedersen, Inc.
Adhesion testing on coatings must be done after the proper cure time at the correct temperature. This enables the coating to
develop the full physical properties. If the coating is tested prematurely, the results often will not meet the specified minimum
requirement. The test may or may not be destructive, depending on the thickness of the coating/substrate, and whether or not the
test is continued until coating disbondment.
As called for in ASTM D 7234 (adhesion testing of coatings on concrete), scoring around the dolly down to the substrate will require
a repair even if the test does not go to failure and stops at the minimum test value; a thick coating system (>3040 mils) on a
metallic substrate may require scoring if called for in the specification. If the test can be stopped at the minimum value specified
without causing coating failure, than the dolly can be removed, often times by striking the dolly with a sharp blow from the side or
carefully inserting a sharp 5:1 tool (putty knife) at the glue line and shearing off the dolly. Repairing the top surface may be required
but is much better than having to repair the total coating system.
When testing thermal spray coatings, always perform the adhesion tests before application of the seal coat. Tests performed after
seal coat application will result in test values that are two to three times the value of virgin thermal sprayed coating.
22.The Crude Truth about Lining Tanks for Oil Transport
From JPCL, September 2013

Michael McGlamry
Hempel USA
Michael McGlamry is the Americas Protective Product Manager for Hempel, USA. McGlamry is highly experienced in the coatings
world, with almost 20 years in the Protective and Lining Segments. He has worked in a variety of roles including Product Manager,
Lining Technical Manager, Technical Service Manager, and Upstream Offshore Engineering Sales. He is NACE Level 1 certified
and also holds an international certification for Project Management.

Courtesy of Hempel USA
In the past, tank cars carrying crude oil had no protective linings for corrosion protection. Cargoes of light sweet crude (containing
less than 0.5% sulfur) have a passivating effect on the steel of the cars, and very little corrosion was ever identified during routine
inspections. Why is there now significant concern about corrosion in rail cars, when the industry has a track record (pun intended) of
over 100 years with very low corrosion rates in unlined cars? What has changed? Is crude becoming more corrosive? Are fracking
chemicals mixing with the oil and corroding our steel?
Before we answer these questions, lets consider some numbers about the rail business concerning crude shipments from a May
2013 report from the Association of American Railroads: The 2013 report noted that whereas five years ago (2008), U.S. Class I
railroads originated just 9,500 carloads of crude oil,
the number of carloads originated had increased to 234,000 in 2012, and in
the first quarter of 2013, the number was 97,000. Given the 2013 first quarter number, the report predicted another large increase in
carloads of crude originated by U.S. Class I railroads.

Given the above numbers, maybe we are seeing more corrosion on tanker cars just because we have a whole lot more steel
exposed. Or maybe we are carrying crude thats not only crude. The answer to our problem can be found by understanding oil
production and the constituents in crude. For this discussion, we are focusing on the developments in the unconventional onshore
oil market in North America, which is pushing the overall rail crude oil tank requirement capacity.
We must understand that there are several advanced completion techniques within the unconventional market, including, to name a
few, traditional welling/fracking, in situ mining, steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), and cyclic steam stimulation (CSS). For this
article, we will focus specifically on the fracking completion technique.
There has been a lot of discussion in the unconventional oil and gas market and in the media about fracking, so we wont go into
great detail here, but the fact is, there are corrosive chemicals used in the fracking process.
The presence of corrosive chemicals in fracking raises a question about transporting oil: When those chemicals are pumped into the
formation, do they return to the surface with the oil extracted and with enough corrosion potential to cause problems? The answer is
No. While the chemicals can be found in the produced crude, the concentrations are so low that they are not seen as problematic.
Its important to note that with traditional extraction methods, crude oil also contains water, chlorides, oxygen, and up to 0.5% sulfur
for sweet crude or higher for sour crude.
What about bitumen produced from mining oil sands? Oil sands are a naturally occurring mixture that typically contains 1012%
bitumen, 8085% minerals (clays and sands), and 46% water. Bitumen is a mixture of large hydrocarbon molecules containing
sulfur compounds (equivalent to up to 5% elemental sulfur by weight), small amounts of oxygen, heavy metals, and other materials.
Now that we are starting to get a clear picture of the composition of the cargo, we should take a closer look at the water, sulfur, and
oxygen. When we do, the ah-hah moment comes. Bitumen is extremely viscous at ambient temperatures, but crude can be just as
viscous in extremely cold temperatures, such as those occurring in North Dakota winters. In an effort to make the bitumen or crude
flow into the tank cars, it is heated. This heating causes the water, sometimes with high levels of chloride, to naturally separate from
the oil and sink to the heel, or bottom, of the rail car. So, weve created an environment that contains sulfur, high chloride levels, and
hot water, an environment ideal for supporting corrosion. To put this environment into perspective, even at ambient temperatures,
wet elemental sulfur has been shown to corrode mild steel up to 1 mm/yr (0.04 in./yr), with localized pitting rates of up to 7 mm/yr
(0.27 in./year). With the addition of chlorides, the corrosion rates have been shown to double and even triple, in research conducted
by Fang, Young, and Nei.

Now that we have a better idea of what were fighting, another question arises: How do we protect the interiors of tank cars carrying
crude oil or bitumen from oil sands? Well need an interior lining that must be resistant to high temperatures, and, since high-
pressure steam is often used during the cleaning of the tank cars, with steam temperatures that can be as high as 330 F (166 C),
the lining also must be resistant to thermal shock. In addition, during crude loading in the winter, the steel temperature could be -40
F (-40 C), while the crude temperature will be around 160 F (71 C). This condition leads to an immediate 200-degree F (111-degree
C) temperature swing, resulting in thermal expansion of the steel as well as the lining material. So the lining will also need to have
some level of flexibility to cope with the flexing of the tank car during loading and unloading operations, as well as the general
movement associated with transportation. This is a tall order, even before adding the chemical resistance requirements of hot
chloride water and the low pH environment associated with sulfur compounds.
The good news is that advanced technology phenolics and thick-film epoxy novolac linings on the market can withstand the
environment. Coating manufacturers focused on the rail industry have long, successful track records for this type of service. The
real question becomes, should you risk an unscheduled release and loss of an asset because the tank car wasnt lined?
1. Association of American Railroads, Moving Crude Oil by Rail, May
2. Haitau Fang, David Young, and Srdjan Nei, Elemental Sulfur Corrosion of Mild Steel at High Concentrations of
Sodium Chloride, 17
International Corrosion Congress, Paper #2592, Las Vegas, NV, October 610, 2008.

23.QA/QC: Some Things Are Old; Some Are New

Warren Brand
Chicago Coatings Group, LLC
Warren Brand is the founder of Chicago Coatings Group, LLC, a consulting firm he formed in 2012. Before opening his consultancy,
Brand was the president of Chicago Tank Linings. He has more than 25 years of experience as a coatings contractor, is an SSPC-
certified Protective Coatings Specialist and a NACE-certified Level 3 coatings inspector, and holds an MBA and a BA in Journalism.
When JPCLs editor invited me to write a piece about changes in quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) in the industry over
the past 30 years, I was honored and motivated. I love our industry and enjoy writing and learning as much about it as I am able to.
The editor also suggested that the piece not be a year-by-year account, but something that will be a review to veterans and an easy
introduction to newcomers.
And I liked that challenge. As I was thinking about the article, my mind wandered to what was really fundamental to QA/QC for
coatings. There are, of course, all the cool tools of our trade: gages, meters, electronics, comparators, etc. But I wanted to know
what was really, really fundamental, which led me to evaluate how I work for my clients.
What if I were being paid by a client to provide this type of presentation?
One of the things I try to focus on in my consulting business is root-cause analysis. That is, lets say weve been hired to design a
coating for the inside of a sulfuric acid tank. Instead of just picking a coating system, we would also look into keeping moisture out of
the carbon steel tank. If we could set up a dehumidification system, the tank would not actually need to be lined.
A better and real-life example of looking at corrosion (which is why were all here in the first place) from a truly fundamental lens is
the dome being built to cover the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. As some of you might recall, Chernobyl was the single worst nuclear
power reactor disaster in history.

Chernobyl nuclear reactor: The decision to use air conditioning instead of coatings to prevent
corrosion of steel in the extraordinary dome that will protect the reactor was based on root
analysis, fundamental to QA/QC for all coating issues. iStock
Dozens of countries contributed to the development of the new safe confinement (NSC). This is an unimaginably huge arch,
measuring 110 meters high, 250 meters wide, and 150 meters long, and weighing in at 30,000 tonnes. The NSC is being built 600
meters away from the damaged reactor and will be slid in place, over it, in 2015. The NSC is designed to last for at least 100 years
and to cost an estimated $1.2 billion dollars.
The arch is made of carbon steel and is hollowin order to provide monitoring of the interstice in case there should ever be an
internal breach. Well, the question was, how do you internally protect this interstice from corrosion? Painting, of course, is an option,
but too dangerous in this situation, because of the proximity of deadly radiation and access. How did they solve the problem?
Easy. Engineers are going to keep the interstice air-conditionedthrough dessicant dryersto keep the humidity below 40%, below
which carbon steel cannot corrode, due to the absence of the electrolyte, humidity.
So in thinking about my current task of what is new, I first started thinking about what was old and what was really fundamental to,
or at the root of, all coating issues.
Way Back Then and Now: Coatings and QA/QC
I thought about a video I had recently seen on the design of ancient byzantine floor mosaics. These mosaics, many of which are
thousands of years old, were designed to last well, for thousands of years. They were on floors, so they were, for example, walked
on, rained on, and cleaned (one presumes).
And many of them are in excellent condition today.
Whats different about an ancient mosaic and a modern-day floor coating application? Fundamentally, not a darn thing.

The basic processes for laying ancient floor mosaics and modern day epoxy broadcast flooring
are similar; QA/QC for the mosaic was largely qualitative, while for modern flooring QA/QC is
largely quantitative. iStock
The video showed that the mosaic surface, which is all we see, is actually on a bed of layered terra-cotta and other fill, in order to
provide a sound base. This would correspond to our concrete floor or secondary containment today.
Then a thick plaster of lime, plaster dust, water, and other materials was mixed and troweled onto the bed, and small pieces of glass
and other durable materials were placed, by hand, into the parge coat.
The plaster was designed to take a long time to cure, so that the artist would have plenty of time to place the mosaic tiles into the
How is this different, say, from an epoxy broadcast floor system? Well, again, its not.
In both cases were dealing with a solid substrate. With the mosaic, it would be a layered bed of stone with a solid parge coat.
Today, the solid substrate would be our concrete floor. (We are assuming that both are new and clean.) Then, a material (today, a
clear epoxy resinthen, a plaster parge coat) is appliedand aggregate placed inside the uncured material.
Did the artisans and contractors thousands of years ago have the tools that we do today to conduct inspections? Of course not. Did
that prevent them from successful coating applications? Same answerof course not.
But lets look back even further, say, 40,000 years. According to a June 14, 2012 National Geographic News article
(, Worlds Oldest Cave Art FoundMade By Neanderthals? there are some caves along Spains
northern coast that contain paintings that are more than 40,000 years oldso far, the oldest in the world. Located at El Castillo,
these paintings were made by some type of mineral-based paint.
(Dont even get me started on Roman frescoes, or ancient cisterns and viaducts that are as water-tight today as they were when
they were first specified and built, by contractors wielding camel-hair brushes and wooden trowels, and wearing loin cloths, and of
course, baseball caps.)
There are even products that have their ties to these same types of products used thousands of years ago. A company out of
Europe has been making a product to protect and beautify masonry since 1878. When I was working on a project not too long ago, I
asked the technical rep what the anticipated service life was, and he said something like, I think theres a church in Southern Italy
thats about 110 years old thats still in good shape.
There are hundreds of similar ancient examples, but suffice it to say that we humans have been in the business of painting and
coating for quite a while. After all, when the pyramids were built, they were originally lined and covered with marble.
So, in looking back and obsessively thinking about this topic, Ive concluded that, fundamentally, the only shift in the past 40,000
years has been from one of qualitative QA/QC to quantitative. That shift continues today, and, certainly, is the biggest difference in
the past 30 years as well. We are simply honing our quantitative tools and training.
Was there QA/QC during the time of the pyramids and before? Of course. But back then, it was, for the most part, qualitative. It was
the legacy of the tradesman-apprentice relationship that maintained the quality. It was the pride one took in his work. Or, if slavery
was a part of the mix, it was the fear of the repercussions for shoddy workmanship.
Not Nearly as Far Back and Now
When I first started out in the coatings industry at 15 (1977), a gentleman named Vic Johnson worked in our company. His
nickname was Rail because of the unusually elongated shape of his head. Vic was large and kind. (In fact, he took me to pick up
my first caran AMC Gremlinfrom a junkyard when I was 16.) And Vic knew coatings as well as anyone. He could barely read but
when it came time to abrasive blast, Vic could tell by looking and touching the surface whether or not it had the right mil-profile and
correct visual appearance for proper coating. Im certain if Vic were around today, he could tell the difference between a 1 mil profile
and a 2.5 mil profile by touch. I know there are people reading this article who could do the same.
So if qualitative inspection was sufficient for so many thousands of years, whats all the fuss, rush and research pertaining to
quantitative inspections? (For those seasoned folk reading this, yes, there are still qualitative aspects to some of our testing
protocols, such as the use of comparators and SSPC-VIS standards)
Its about one thing, and one thing only: consistency.
Today, you dont have to have an apprentice painting contractor with thirty years of experience to apply a challenging tri-coat
system. Because of advanced training techniques and highly effective testing tools and techniques, we can apply coatings around
the world, in the most challenging of environments and situations in a consistent, predictable, and quantifiable manner.
What Vic had learned from blasting millions of square feet of every material possible, we can now deduce and measure by using
visual standards, comparators, replica tape, and electronic as well as mechanical gauges to determine what Vic knew in an instant.
And yet, with all of our tools and training, we still get situations like the Sable Offshore Energy Project in Canada. The offshore oil
platform had a coating failure so profound that it was mentioned in a March 8, 2011 article on PaintSquare
News ( as, What may be the worlds priciest botched paint job [that] could cost hundreds of millions dollars
to repair.
Back in the day, when I was spraying thousands of gallons of different paints and coatings, I was able to tell, within a couple of mils,
the WFT by appearance. As I applied the coating (either conventionally or airless), I could see the profile of the substrate disappear
and the sheen, texture and appearance of the coating change. Of course I would use a wet mil gage to ensure my instinctual
hunches, but more times than not, I was spot on.
So, for beginners, I think it is critical to understand why we inspect. And for the more seasoned of us, I am hoping this was an
interesting read and, perhaps, put what we do in a different perspective.
So, now that weve established what we do (quantitative inspection protocols) and why (for consistency), lets discuss what has
changed over the past 30 years.
And, in keeping with the theme of fundamentals, were going to talk about two dimensions: Training and Equipment.
First, let me explain why were sticking with the fundamentals and painting the changes with very broad brush strokes (pun
intended). The reason is that any attempt to speak specifically about either Training or Equipment will fall far short of doing either
topic justice. For example, lets take a look at the April 2013 issue of JPCL. There is an excellent and informative article entitled
Measuring Dry Film Coating Thickness According to SSPC-PA 2.
The article is roughly 10 pages long and more than 4,000 wordsand its just about checking the thickness of a coating after it has
cured. The primary focus of the article is on SSPC-PA 2, the intellectual and training aspect of the duo, but, of course, it deals with
the tools of our trade. But without even discussing the difference between a Type 1 gauge (magnetic or banana gauge) and a Type
2 gauge (an electronic gauge), the article goes into exquisite and appropriate detail about all of the fundamentals of testing a cured

For the ancient pyramids, QA/QC was a matter of pride in craftmanship or fear of retribution for
poor work (or both). iStock
So, speaking too specifically about either aspect will dilute the importance of either.
When I asked Pete Engelbert, a well-qualified inspector, what had changed the most in the past thirty years, he did not hesitate:
Smarter inspectors. The biggest change has been with the level of sophistication of the inspectionnot the equipment, Engelbert
Engelbert has a keen understanding of the industry, and he teaches NACE courses around the world. (His credentials include CSP,
RPIH, CHST, CET, CIT, CSSM, NACE Certified Coatings InspectorLevel 3 [Nuclear/Bridge], BIRNCS Senior Nuclear Coatings
Specialist #12 NACE Protective Coating Specialist, NACE Corrosion Technician, and NACE instructor.)
I asked him to describe a typical inspection scenario from thirty years ago until today. So, we started with a pipe inspection job
(which Pete is currently handling).
Thirty years ago there were very few standards to measure conformance. Now we have multiple standards, Engelbert said.
He also said that thirty years ago during a pipe coating project, it would not be uncommon for an inspector to stand at the top of a
the excavation and watch the contractor slop on some stuff. It would not be uncommon to have a contractor brush on petrolatum,
tar, or other materials; wrap it with heavy paper; and bury it. Often, the inspector wouldnt even look at the bottom portion of the pipe
to see if it had been addressed. Surface prep wasnt even on the radar.
Today, pipes come shipped, typically, pre-coated with fusion-bonded epoxy (FBE). The inspectors job is to monitor the joint coating
Engelbert said that there are roughly 15,000 to 16,000 NACE 1 inspectors worldwide. And the demand for inspectors, particularly
overseas, is huge, with SSPC rapidly growing as well.
Training has taken off overseas, he said. The next standard (for inspectors) will shift from NACE 1 to a NACE 2 or NACE 3.
Training and development of new standards and guidelines are universal. There are, of course, SSPC and NACE, but there are also
IMO, ISO, ANSI, STI, and subsets to all of these. I am currently working on a project for a major oil company pertaining to CUF
(corrosion under fireproofing) and related issues. There is a whole universe of guidelines, standards, nomenclature, and tools that
are different for the CUF job than, say, a bridge coating project, even though the common denominator remains corrosion.
Another broad example of improved training is SSPCs cutting-edge Quality Programs (QP) and the Painting Contractor Certification
Programs (PCCP).
As summarized on SSPCs website (, the training is relevant to all aspects of a coating project.the selection of suitable
materials is just one aspect of a successful coating project. It is critical that work is done according to sound specifications, with
correct surface preparation and proper application techniques. Facility owners need to find top quality people to provide these
services trained people who know the current standards and practices and have a proven track record of success.
SSPCs QP series is extensive and has modules for contractors, owners/specifiers, and inspection companies.
The trend toward smarter inspectors is profoundly obvious in the introduction to the SSPC-QP 5
program, Certification for Coating
and Lining Inspection Companies. QP 5 is a certification for Inspection Companies whose focus is the industrial coating and lining
industry. QP 5 evaluates an inspection companys ability to provide consistent quality inspection of coatings & linings for its clients.
Engelbert said another major shift in terms of training has been documentation. Thirty years ago, there was very limited
documentation and even less that was standardized. Many of the daily forms we use today are an offshoot, a progeny, of one of the
originals, which was an ANSI standard for coatings in nuclear power plants.
In fact, one of the hallmarks of the SSPC-QP certification programs is an emphasis on documentation.
I think most would agree that the intellectual advances in guidelines, standards, practices, recommendations, etc., move at a
relatively slow, predictable pace. That is, a two-mil profile is a two-mil profile. But not so for the tools of our trade. In contrast, there
are changes in technology that will change more in the next ten years then theyve changed in the last 40,000.
When speaking with Engelbert about tools, I mentioned that I thought the biggest advance was the ability of the electronic gauges to
gather and store data and then network the data directly to other devices.
He laughed and quipped, Hey, I was just happy when they came out with batteries.
He said that thirty years ago it was unlikely to get a trained coating inspector on a job in the first place. Very often, inspection work
was designated and assigned to an individual who might be an inspector for another trade, perhaps a welder, or structural engineer.
You had welding inspectors or others signing off on coatings almost as an afterthought.
He said if a job was fortunate enough to have a coating inspector on site, and he was tasked, say, to measure DFTs, Youd have
one inspector taking measurements with a banana gauge and another walking behind him with a clipboard taking notes.
Now, modern gauges can store almost limitless inspection points and then download them for evaluation.
Fundamentally, it means the inspector has to get smarter. You have to know how to use a computer and, if you dont, find an eight-
year-old to teach you, he said.
Suffice it to say that the fundamental focus of inspection tools in the past thirty years has been in ease of use, storage capacity, and
data sharing (USB, Blue-Tooth, wireless), etc.
But the most exciting and most important advances are the cutting edge developments we are seeing now.
The breadth is breathtaking.
I attended a conference about eight years ago in conjunction with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS). One of
the latest (at the time) technologies for surface preparation of aircraft was the use of lasers to remove paint. With wings being
designed to unimaginable tolerances, the use of an abrasive was impossible because it might damage or warp the wing. The typical
means of paint removal was through highly toxic and dangerous paint removers, oftentimes methylene chloride. The technology was
in its infancy at the time but is now being widely used to remove paint from aircrafts.
Then theres a November 30, 2011 article from the United States Naval Research Laboratory entitled, NRL Researchers Develop
Streamlined Approach To Shipboard Inspection Process (
The article talks about inspecting the condition of exterior shipboard coatings. In the case study reported, the work was performed
on the USS Aircraft Carrier, the Nimitz.
In a quote from the article, The manual method required a 65-man-day effort to perform the inspection of the entire topside coating
with results taking an additional four weeks to complete. By contrast, we were able to perform the same inspection using digital
hand-held cameras with the new process in less than four days including immediate access to over 3,000 images depicting the
ships surface condition for in-depth inspection.
Briefly, the new process includes highly-detailed photographs downloaded and analyzed by algorithms used to quantify the
condition of the existing coating.
Going even a step further, we havent even touched upon the changing technologies pertaining to coatings and how those changes
will interact with, and change, technologies for inspection services.
For example, it is not uncommon to use a conductive primer on concrete in order to be able to use a holiday detector on the
subsequent topcoat. There are talks of nanoparticles that may communicate with various devices, the use of fluorescent additives to
indicate DFT, etc.
Are we far from the day when new coating systems will work in concert with new technologies to speed and improve our ability to
quantify and control coating applications?
I am working with an engineering company that is developing a visor that, using different light frequencies, can see the depth of
profile, DFTs, number of coats, wet and dry. After that, who knows? A paint ball gun that could paint an entire water tower tank? Its
only a matter of time, said Mr. Engelbert.

24.The No Big Bang Theory: An Introduction to Risk- Based Inspection
Systems for Mitigating CUI in Process Equipment and Piping
From JPCL, August 2013

Peter Bock
Capital Inspectors
Peter Bock is Inspection Sales Manager for Capital Inspectors, The Woodlands, TX. He is an Air Force veteran and has degrees
from Tulane and the University of Northern Colorado. Bock has 36 years of experience with sales, management, and technical
service in oilfield and petrochemical heavy-duty coatings in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Indonesia, and Taiwan. He has
experience with on- and offshore production, drilling and workover rigs, shipyard work, natural gas and LNG, pipelines, terminals,
refineries, and chemical plants. He is a specialist in elevated temperature systems and CUI mitigation.
The author gives special thanks for the photographs to Mr. Lawrence Joe Bordelon, Senior Coatings & Linings Technologist, Site
SME/Technical Support/Paint Operations, Global Paint/ Linings TRN Member, The Dow Chemical Company, St. Charles
Steelwork at all levels of industry in the United States is corroding despite our best efforts to stop it.
Unexpected atmospheric
corrosion damage (including corrosion under insulationCUI) causes tens of billions of dollars in losses annually from unanticipated
shutdowns of equipment; loss of production; unplanned maintenance; unexpected cleanup costs; and, in more severe cases,
damage to adjacent equipment, injuries to operating personnel or surrounding residents, toxic chemical releases, environmental
damage, and other long-term effects. Moreover, this unexpected corrosion damage affects everything from the largest and most
sophisticated refineries down to small local waterworks and sewage plants. While the damage can take many forms, one of the
most challenging is CUI, the focus of this article. Our news media regularly report big bangsfires, explosions, chemical spills,
toxic releases and other similar events. Many of these are caused by CUI.
CUI is as likely to be found on the boiler feed lines in a local hospital or food processing plant as in a coal-fired electrical generating
plant or a major petrochemical facility, where hot process equipment and pipeline are common. The larger and more complex a
manufacturing facility is, the more likely it is to suffer from CUI and unexpected atmospheric corrosion damage. In addition, the
larger and more complex a plant is, the more likely it is that a corrosion-related failure during operation will have major
consequences. Chemical and petrochemical plants can be quite complex, and the damage to them (and the surrounding area) from
CUI can be quite severe because CUI is usually well under way before it is detected. Unfortunately, it is often detected after it has
caused significant damage. Finding CUI before the damage occurs is challenging. This article describes using risk-based inspection
(RBI) to detect and mitigate CUI in chemical and petrochemical process equipment and pipeline before severe damage is done. The
article also illustrates a successful in-house CUI-RBI program in Figs. 1a and 1b; Figs. 2a, 2b, 2c, and 2d; and Fig. 3.

Fig. 1a: Vertical process vessel after complete reblast
and recoat with thermal spray aluminum. Thermal spray
is used under insulation on large, flat, easy-to-access

Fig. 1b: Vertical process vessel coated with thermal
spray aluminum after insulation and cladding have
been replaced, and before removal of scaffolding.
Photos courtesy of The Dow Chemical Company, St.
Charles Operations, Hahnville, LA 70057

Fig. 2a: Sphere being abrasive blasted prior to recoating and re-insulation. Maximum
operating temperatures are low enough that an epoxy system can be used.

Fig. 2b: Newly applied epoxy primer and stripe coats on the sphere. Each step of the
coating application process is closely inspected before the next step is allowed to start.

Fig. 2c: Epoxy topcoat of the sphere. After the epoxy had passed inspection and was fully cured to
accept insulation, the sphere was insulated and cladding was installed.

Fig. 2d: After work is complete and scaffolding has been removed, the newly recoated, insulated
and clad sphere is seen at the left of the picture in the plants sphere tank area.

Fig. 3: Five-year-old liquid-applied elevated temperature coating exposed for RBI inspection.
Liquid-applied coating is used under insulation on complex or hard-to-reach surfaces.
CUI: The Back Story
Most oil refining and petrochemical manufacturing processes are simply advanced forms of cookingcrude oil or intermediate
chemicals are cooked, heated under specific conditions or in specific temperature and pressure environments, to produce more
desirable end products. Process vessels and piping are usually insulated to conserve process heat and reduce the fuel required, to
reduce process temperature variations, to stabilize stored intermediates or end products, and to protect workers from exposure to
hot equipment. Insulation is normally covered with unpainted aluminum or stainless steel sheet metal cladding to protect the fragile
It is this sheet metal cladding over insulated piping and vessels that gives a refinery or chemical plants process units a shiny,
misleading good-to-go appearance. But dont be fooledbeneath that shiny exterior cladding and the insulation it covers, there
usually beats a hidden heart of rusty steel. And in many cases, no one has any idea of how rusty the steel really is. Once corrosion
eats into the steel, wall thickness is lost, and the vessel or pipe is no longer capable of resisting the temperature and pressure it was
originally rated for. Normally, there is a corrosion allowance of extra thickness in the steel. When the thickness of corrosion
exceeds this allowance, the pipe or vessel becomes unsafe. If corrosion continues, cracking, leakage, or catastrophic failure during
operation becomes more and more likely.
Until the 1970s, carbon steel under insulation for elevated temperature service was often left unpainted. It was thought that the high
operating temperatures would keep the steel from rusting, and there were no effective paints for high temperatures. There were two
major problems with this concept.
1. Nothing stays hot forevermost elevated temperature equipment actually cycles hot-cold fairly frequently. Even equipment that
runs hot almost continuously is cooled down for maintenance turnarounds and corrodes during those cool times if not protected.
2. CUI is normally invisible. The insulation and cladding hide the steel, and even if it was properly painted with a temperature-
resistant coating, there is usually no quick and inexpensive way to check that the coating is protecting the steel. To make matters
worse, most cladding leaks, and most insulation holds water to some degree, so the steel under insulation is exposed to a severe
immersion corrosion environment whenever it is operating below the boiling point of water.
Today, there are effective coating systems available for elevated temperature CUI service, but problems 1 and 2
Corrosion under insulation tends to be invisible, and no coating system gives 100% protection for tens of years under such
severe conditions.
The cost of removing cladding and insulation is time consuming and very expensive; replacing cladding and insulation is even more
expensive. Most insulated equipment receives only periodic spot checks of tiny areas during normal operation. Most of the steel
under insulation is not seen for the expected life of the coating system or the expected life of the uncoated steel. When the
expected life matches real life, cladding and insulation are removed, and the steel beneath is inspected, re-prepared, re-coated,
re-insulated, and re-clad. But real life becomes much shorter than expected life and catastrophes can occur when unexpected
moisture or chemical contaminants get beneath the insulation; when the steel is damaged; or when operating conditions change,
allowing increased corrosion under the insulation.
The currently circulating draft of API RP 583, Corrosion Under Insulation and Fireproofing, lists nearly a dozen different electronic
methods of checking remaining wall thickness of insulated and clad steel pipe or vessels.
These methods range from simple X-rays
to complex real-time systems using the latest nuclear technology. Many of these methods do not require the insulation and cladding
to be removed while doing the electronic testing, but none has been found reliable enough to completely eliminate removal of
insulation and cladding and visual inspection of the surface at problem areas indicated by the electronic test.
Risk-Based Inspection Systems for CUI
Other than the expense of removing and replacing cladding and insulation, a large part of the reason for unexpected atmospheric
corrosion damage from CUI or other sources is a lack of qualified plant inspection personnel and a lack of planning. All U.S.
industries now run with extremely lean staffs of qualified personnel. Even some major refineries and chemical plants may have only
one corrosion manager or corrosion engineer, and a few technicians at most. Moreover, the corrosion engineer is usually in charge
of all types of corrosion mitigation, not just atmospheric corrosion or CUI and not just mitigation through protective coatings.
Mid-sized facilities may have only a maintenance manager or maintenance engineer, for whom corrosion mitigation is only a
secondary duty. Very few successful, cost-effective facilities have enough people, time, and money in their maintenance budget to
do thorough, complete CUI inspections regularly without outside help. Because of their limited staffing and budgets, smaller plants
may actually operate on an inspection by perforation philosophy, which can be costly and dangerous.
One effective (and cost-effective) method of CUI mitigation that has been known and used successfully for a couple of decades is a
Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) Program. Unfortunately, RBI is a complex program that requires support and cooperation of the entire
company, from top-level management to field-unit operators. Initial setup of an RBI program requires extensive in-house work, a
fairly generous budget, and lots of time even for just the insulated piping and equipment in a plant.

Operation of a successful RBI program also requires a multi-year commitment. For CUI-RBI, a successful program may require a
multi-decade commitment because scheduled major maintenance programs on insulated piping and equipment can be at 10- to 15-
year intervals. Many companies shy away from setting up meaningful RBI programs because the programs seem too complicated
and too costly, the time horizons are beyond the companies normal planning ranges, and the companies plants do not have skilled
people or budgets big enough to do the required initial baseline surveys.
Setting Up an RBI Program
Setting up an RBI program requires an initial investment of time and thought by the companys top management, who need to
identify their companys concept of risk and to rank their companys sensitivity (and aversion) to the different types and levels of
risk they may encounter in operating their plants. Fortunately, this type of assessment needs to be done only once for the entire
company, or, at most, once for each type of operating unit and possibly each country the company operates in.
The Exploration and Production, Americas, division of one global oil and petrochemical producer has worked with the RBI concept
for more than two decades. On the one hand, the division has distilled the basic concept and philosophy of RBI into a simplified
matrix printed on two sides of one sheet of paper. On the other hand, the petrochemical division of the same company has
expanded it to a level where, for some process units in its South Louisiana petrochemical plants, every valve, every flange, and
sometimes even every set of bolts and nuts have been analyzed and given an individual criticality rating and inspection frequency
requirement. We can draw on both divisions use of the matrix to amplify our discussion of setting up an RBI program.
Producing a Risk Assessment Evaluation requires identification of potential events and their potential consequences, estimating
their potential severity and likelihood, and then estimating the level of risk based on the combination of severity and likelihood of the
event happening. A Risk Assessment Evaluation is required for every location. For the exploration and production division of our
model company, location is defined as the smallest individual unit assessed, down to each production platform offshore or each
flow station onshore. For a refinery or petrochemical plant, a location may be defined as one production unit within a larger plant,
or even one specialized portion of the plant (such as raw materials storage and handling).
A simplified typical Risk Assessment Evaluation Chart (Table 1) examines possible consequences of an unexpected event and their
effect on the following.
Neighbors: People, buildings, and land in the area of the affected plant
Equipment in the plant itself
Environment both in the immediate area and in general
Reputation of the owner or parent company, locally and worldwide

Risk Assessment Evaluation Chart
Possible Has
(0) No Injuries No Damage No Effect No Effect
(1) Minimal
Detectable Effect Short-Term
Local Effect
(2) Few minor
Regional Effect
Slight Short-Term
Regional Effect
(4) Death Long-Term
Serious Short-
Term Effect
National Effect >>>>>>>
(5) Multiple
Total Loss Long-Term Effect Long-Term
National Effect
Severity of consequences is rated from ZeroNo injuries, no damage, no environmental or reputation effectto Five Multiple
fatalities, massive damage to the facility, and a huge long-term impact on the environment and on the companys reputation.
A Serious effect, Three on the consequences scale, would be an event that produces many days of absence from work for
affected employees, or that results in long-term disabilities; a release of large amounts of crude oil or of any reportable quantity of a
hazardous chemical; an event that triggers an environmental fine; an event that incurs very high repair and mitigation costs; or an
event that causes partial shutdown of a facility and generates extensive regional media coverage.
The likelihood of such an event occurring is also rated in five steps, from Possible but unlikely, as the lowest rating to Occurs
Frequently for the most likely to occur. A simple chart of severity versus likelihood of an event produces the risk rating for that
particular event. The higher the likelihood of an event is and the more serious its consequences are, the more closely and more
frequently the equipment involved must be monitored to keep the potential event from happening.
The purpose of the RBI program is to reduce all such risks to a minimum ALAP (As Low As Practical), that is, to a level at which
the cost and effort of further risk reduction are unaffordable or disproportionate to the risk reduction achieved. Once the Risk
Assessment for all potential events has been completed, the actual evaluation of operating equipment begins in order to determine
the required Risk Based Inspection process for assuring that operation of the equipment will not produce negative events beyond
the ALAP level.
The second half of an initial RBI assessment involves personnel actually operating and maintaining the equipment being rated.
These are the people who actually live with the equipment day-in and day-out; they are most qualified to identify portions of the unit
or piece of equipment most likely to fail, and whose failure is most likely to cause damage. They also are most likely to know what
coincidental or collateral damage one failure might cause to other parts of the plant. This process allows a whole series of possible
events to be evaluated from each potential failure.
Plant maintenance records and equipment design blueprints are analyzed to determine the portions or pieces of equipment most
likely to corrode and cause an event. Then, potential events are rated for their effect on plant operation and production, and the
same potential events are rated against the companys Risk Assessment charts.
This initial survey can be done by outside consultants, but, ultimately, it is the plant operating personnel who are familiar enough
with plant components to know which are the most likely to fail, and local plant management who are best able to determine what
and how severe damage such a failure will cause.
Commitment to an RBI Program
The engineer or manager chosen to design and implement a CUI-RBI program faces a daunting task. First, he or she must be
assured of buy-in from upper management and from the field people who will be doing the site evaluation. After everyone
understands and agrees that an RBI program is a multi-year, continuing effort, not a one-time inspection, there comes the question
of return on investment (ROI). On the one hand, the initial survey and risk assessment are expensive and time-consuming. On the
other hand, preventing one Moderate event from the Risk Evaluation chart can mean a savings of $1,000,000; preventing a
Major event can save ten times as much. In comparison, the cost of the initial plant RBI survey may seem reasonable.
For a refinery or oil production facilities, and for many petrochemical plants, the in-plant riskssuch as a vapor cloud explosion,
petroleum jet fire, petroleum pool fire, or major toxics releasecan all do grievous harm to the plant, to the surrounding
environment, and to the companys bottom line as well as to its reputation. The in-plant survey needs to identify specific high-risk
areas or pieces of equipment whose failure might raise the severity of consequences on the Equipment column of the risk chart. Of
course, such equipment should already be closely monitored as part of the plant maintenance program, but identifying (or re-
identifying) key high-risk items helps the RBI initial survey become a defined risk-mitigation process.
Existing plant data on performance of unit vessels, piping, operating equipment, controls, and even electrical and electronic sub-
systems can be used to develop an RBI continuing inspection schedule and calculate its expected cost in terms of dollars per
square foot or dollars per linear foot of pipe per year of the RBI program. Remaining service life of an older unit, expected upgrades
or replacement, and the part one unit plays in the overall operation of the plant all need to be evaluated against the risk evaluation
for that particular unit.
Once data is collected, the proposed RBI program needs to be prioritized, based on highest possible event consequences, age and
replacement cost of equipment, turnaround schedules, and the ability to incorporate the RBI program into existing inspection
procedures (if any exist). Because there is not enough budget for 100% frequent inspection of all insulated areas, a priority ranking
program is set up, with the riskiest vessels, piping, and equipment receiving the most frequent and most thorough spot inspections,
and lower-risk equipment being inspected less often, or with less of the insulation and cladding actually removed as part of the
scheduled inspection. Lowest-risk or no-risk equipment may receive only the minimum required electronic wall thickness tests
annually. Some critical refinery areas may require 100% removal of cladding and insulation and 100% visual inspection.
A key factor in the frequency of visual inspections is the equipment owners confidence in the CUI coating systems used on
equipment included in the CUI RBI program. Where quality surface preparation, a suitable proven coating system, good application,
and thorough inspection have been done on equipment under insulation, the number of inspection spots may be reduced to areas of
known breakdown, and the inspection intervals may be extended. Table 2 shows a major global petrochemical companys
confidence level for length of service life of coatings under insulation, where operating temperatures never exceed the maximum
service temperature of the applied coating system.

Expected Service Life Performance of Typical CUI Systems
System Service Life Required Repair
Clad, insulated, uncoated bare steel
(Lose entire wall thickness corrosion allowance) 6 years; 100% re-do
Clad, insulated, organic coating without abrasive blast
(Lose entire coating system, portion of wall thickness) 12 years; 100% re-do
Clad, insulated, organic coating with SSPC-SP 10 abrasive blast
(Lose portion of coating system, portion of wall thickness) 16 years; 100% re-do
Clad, insulated, thermal spray aluminum with SSPC-SP 5 abrasive blast
(Lose small portion of TSA, small portion of wall thickness) 40 years; 25% re-do
Continuing the RBI Program
After the base plant (or unit) RBI survey has been done, and the risks and hazards have been agreed upon, quantified, and ranked
by plant personnel, then the actual annual (or otherwise recurrent) field surveys can be done by an outside survey firm that has
experienced, qualified inspectors, and follows the base survey. Many existing RBI programs actually combine electronic non-
destructive testing (NDT) with insulation and cladding removal and visual inspection of selected small areas. Both parts of the
survey may be done by the same firm, or NDT can be done by a specialist, and the results can be verified by a paint inspection
The findings of these recurrent surveys are summarized in electronic format, incorporating electronic testing results, digital
photographs, and the field contract inspectors eyeball on the steel evaluations. The plants corrosion engineer or maintenance
manager now can examine the corrosion state of his facility on a computer monitor in his or her office, at his or her convenience.
Management personnel can review the survey results, match them against expected results based on the initial RBI survey, and
decide on an appropriate course of action.
In simplified form, the recurrent RBI survey can have four possible results for a particular unit or piece of equipment.
Less corrosion is found than was expected. This result is noted in the survey. If the result is found to repeat in the next
scheduled survey of this unit, the unit or piece of equipment may be re-evaluated for lower risk or less frequent inspection.
Some owners also use such a finding to re-evaluate related equipment, working on the sound theory that if one unit or
piece of equipment is rusting less than expected, something else related to the equipment may be acting as an anode and
rusting more than expected.
Corrosion is as expected. The survey is submitted and repeated as scheduled.
A small increase in corrosion is noted over expectation. Additional portions of the unit are inspected at the same time to
confirm the increase in corrosion. For CUI work, inspecting additional portions means removing additional small areas of
cladding and insulation. The unit or area is marked, and the next scheduled re-inspection will determine whether
unscheduled corrosion-preventive maintenance may be necessary.
A large or unexpected increase in corrosion is noted. Additional portions of the unit are inspected at the same time to
confirm the increase in corrosion, and plant personnel are brought in to try to determine a cause. Budget and scheduling
are rearranged to give priority to corrosion-preventive maintenance on this unit or piece of equipment. The recurrent
survey schedule is rearranged to closely monitor this problem until corrosion-preventive maintenance is done, and then
afterward to determine whether the maintenance resolved the problem.
RBI programs for plants with large amounts of insulated piping and equipment require additional input during the initial set-up of the
program to assure that the spots selected for recurrent survey are actually representative of the worst case areas of each unit or
piece of equipment. The first few recurrent surveys done by a contract inspection or survey firm may actually include additional,
redundant spot inspection points, which can be phased out later if survey results are as expected. Where electronic testing or
thermal imaging produces reliable results and matches destructive spot testing over several recurrent survey cycles, the destructive
testing spots may be reduced, thereby reducing the overall survey costs without affecting reliability.
Figures 1-3 that accompany this article show an in-house RBI program in action at a petrochemical plant in South Louisiana. The
facility is an older plant, but equipment is meticulously maintained, and a very thorough RBI program is in place. Sections of
insulated piping, vessels, and equipment are inspected annually on a rotating basis, with a typical section being re-inspected every
three years on average. The plant uses a combination of organic coatings and thermal spray aluminum for CUI work; annual survey
results tend to confirm the plants RBI base surveys and the service life expectations for the systems used. Confidence is high that
the CUI-RBI program is working as it should.
A Houston-area industrial gas facility, which produces various gases by cryogenically refrigerating air and then separating its
components, has an entirely different approach to RBI for the companys piping for transfer, storage, and loading. The facility
doesnt do any RBI. Analysis of maintenance and operating records on these low-temperature piping systems in the plant has
shown that failures are always due to cracking of piping in cyclic service from cryogenic to ambient temperatures. A failed pipe is
quickly discovered through unexpected pressure loss; the insulation and cladding over the pipe act as an effective containment over
the ruptured pipe; and the only loss is of the product in the pipe, which, as a gas component of air, is inherently non-polluting.
The plant has been designed to allow effective isolation of failed pipe run sections, so when such a failure occurs, the affected pipe
run is shut in, insulation and cladding are removed, and the failed pipe section is replaced. Loss of product and loss of productivity
are minimal. The plant runs several parallel air separation trains, so the downtime required to replace a fractured length of pipe in
the transfer, storage, and loading piping produces only a small reduction in plant output and does not require other shutdowns.
Corporate management has determined that for these portions of the plant, this policy of neglect presents low enough risk and is
more cost effective than an intense RBI program.
Unfortunately, a great deal of corrosion-mitigation plant maintenance, both for CUI and for atmospheric corrosion damage, is done
reactively, rather than proactively. There is an Oh Sh** moment that comes in almost every unscheduled CUI inspection. Thats
when the plant corrosion engineer or maintenance manager looks at the large area of newly exposed corroding steel where
insulation and cladding were removed after serious corrosion was seen in a smaller exposed area, and the engineer says Oh Sh**.
Fixing this is going to take my entire maintenance budget for the year.
For these plants, CUI repair work is scheduled and done only after a serious problem is unexpectedly found. This work often
involves unscheduled shutdowns; loss of production; manufacturing bottlenecks or backlogs; and, occasionally, even fires,
explosions, or toxic product releases. This maintenance process is unnecessarily costly and can be easily improved. Improvement
requires only a small increase in budgets and no long-term increase in plant personnel, using RBI with an initial survey by plant
personnel and recurrent inspections by outside contract inspectors or surveyors.
Although commitment to a CUI-RBI program requires a substantial initial investment of time and effort, and a multi-year continuing
commitment, the relative security, peace of mind, and confidence in the plant corrosion state offer a positive return on investment
even before factoring in the cost savings of not having an unexpected event that might shut down the plant, pollute the
neighborhood, and irreparably injure the companys reputation.
1. George F, Hays P. E . Now is the Time, White Paper, World Corrosion Organization, Houston, TX,, 2007.
2. Control of Corrosion Under Thermal Insulation and Fireproofing Materials, a Systems Approach, NACE SP 0198-2010,
NACE International, Houston, TX,, 2010.
3. Corrosion Under insulation and Fireproofing, Currently circulating draft of API RP583, First Edition, First Ballot,
American Petroleum Institute, Washington, DC,, 2012.
4. Keith E. McKinney, Fred J. M. Busch, Andre Blaauw, Andrea M. Etheridge . Development of Risk Assessment and
Inspection Strategies For External Corrosion Management, Paper No. 05557, NACE Corrosion 2005, NACE
International, Houston, TX,, 2005.
5. William C. McRae, Nalton Thompson . CUI Project Development, Bring on the Heat 2013, NACE International,
Houston, TX,, 2013.

25.Tools and methods of hand tool cleaning
From JPCL, September 2013
Hand tool cleaning is one of the oldest methods of preparing steel surfaces. It is widely used for preparing small areas and for areas
that cannot be blast cleaned. A hand tool-cleaned surface is one that is free of loose rust, loose paint, and loose mill scale. Tight
rust, tight mill scale, and tight paint are allowed to remain on the surface. Before you start hand tool cleaning, remove dirt and
grease from the surface by solvent or detergent cleaning. A hand tool-cleaned surface is achieved with wire brushes, sanders,
chipping hammers, and other hand tools listed below.
Industry Standards
The SSPC specification for hand tool cleaning is SSPC-SP 2, defined as follows: Hand tool cleaning removes all loose mill scale,
loose rust, loose paint, and other loose detrimental foreign matter. It is not intended that adherent mill scale, rust, and paint be
removed by this process. Mill scale, rust, and paint are considered adherent if they cannot be removed by lifting with a dull putty
knife. However, SSPC-SP 2, Hand Tool Cleaning, requires you to remove all visible deposits of oil and grease in accordance with
SSPC-SP 1, Solvent Cleaning, before starting the process of hand tool cleaning.
Photographs that illustrate the appearance of an SSPC-SP 2 (Figs. 1 and 2) surface are found in the publication, SSPC-Vis 3.
These photographs were developed by SSPC. In Europe and other parts of the world, the industry standard is ISO 8501-1
(Preparation of Steel Substrates Before Application of Paints and Related ProductsVisual Assessment of Surface Cleanliness
Part 1: Rust Grades and Preparation of Uncoated Steel Substrates and of Steel Substrates After Overall Removal of Previous
Coatings), which uses photographs developed by the Swedish Standards Institute.

Fig. 1: (Left) Unpainted steel, pitted and rusted. (Right) The same steel specimen after hand tool
cleaning to SSPC-SP 2.
Courtesy of SSPC. Note: Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 are not equal in photographic quality to the actual
reference photographs in VIS 3 and should not be used as substitutes for the actual standard.

Fig. 2: (Left) Previously painted steel with rust and several layers of deteriorated coating. (Right)
The same specimen after hand tool cleaning to SSPC-SP 2.
In ISO 8501-1, the color and appearance (metallic sheen) of a surface after thorough hand tool (or power tool) cleaning are shown
as St2. The color and appearance of a surface after very thorough hand tool or power tool cleaning are shown as St3. The end
result will vary depending on the condition of steel before it is cleaned. The four initial conditions or grades of steel in the ISO
specification are:
Grade A: Adherent Mill Scale;
Grade B: Rusted Mill Scale;
Grade C: Rusted; and
Grade D: Pitted and Rusted.
For example, if a bid specification calls for a steel surface to meet C SA2, it tells the applicator that the initial condition of the steel is
rusted and it must be hand tool cleaned and have a faint metallic sheen, as shown in the photo depicting C SA2.
SSPC recognizes Grades AD but also recognizes three additional grades of steel.
Grade E: light-colored paint (mostly intact) applied to blast cleaned steel;
Grade F: zinc-rich paint (mostly intact) applied to blast cleaned steel; and
Grade G: painting system (thoroughly weathered, blistered, or stained) applied to steel with mill scale.
Therefore, the pictorial standards must be used with carethose of ISO only depict uncoated steel, whereas those of SSPC
additionally depict pre-coated steel.
Description of Tools
Common tools used for hand tool cleaning are sandpaper, non-woven abrasive pads, wire brushes, chipping hammers, scrapers,
and hammers and chisels. The type of equipment selected depends on the condition and location of the surface. A chipping
hammer or hammer and chisel are used in areas of heavy rust scale, deep rust pits, or thick build-up of paint. Various types and
styles of chisels are available for use, depending on the surface to be cleaned.
There are many types of wire brushes. Within each type, brushes are classified by wire stiffness and the size, number, and rows of
wire. The following are a few types of wire brushes.
Shoe Handle Scratch: all-purpose wire scratch brush for brushing pipe threads and removing paint and rust scale
Wire Scratch and Scraper: for removing loose, scaling paint and varnish
Hand Wire Scraper: curved wire face for removing paint, varnish, and wax from large flat surfaces (The curved face
enables better brushing control because fewer wires are in contact with the surface at one time.)
Flat Block Wire Scratch: longer and more flexible wires to remove paint, rust, and grease from large, flat surfaces
Sandpaper and non-woven pads are used to remove loose paint and rust and to achieve a feathered edge on well-bonded paint,
allowing touch-up paint to be applied consistently.
Assuring Quality Work
Hand tool cleaning is laborious and tiring. The quality of work can suffer as the day wears on. A worker must realize this and be
more aware late in the day that the specification is followed.
Before you begin hand tool cleaning, make sure that dirt, grease, and oil have been removed from the surface. This can be
achieved by solvent or detergent cleaning.
Some hand tools, such as chipping hammers, can cause a steel surface to burr. Special care must be taken because burrs may
protrude through the protective coating, causing a rust bloom and premature coating failure. After a surface is cleaned and is
suspected to have burrs, it should be wiped with a rag, and if burrs are found, they should be sanded smooth. A chipping hammer
should have a blunt edge. The intent is to remove rust, paint, and mill scale, and not to gouge the steel.
Proper safety procedures should be observed when hand tool cleaning a surface. Because these tools can create respirable dust,
flying paint chips, rust, and other contaminants, NIOSH-approved cartridge respirators, safety glasses or goggles, gloves, and other
protective equipment should be used. These dangers may seem trivial, but they can cause serious injuries.
Responsibility for the correct safety equipment should be based on the following guidelines.
The ContractorShould provide proper safety equipment for the job being performed; ensure that the workers are trained
to correctly use the equipment; and ensure that they do use the equipment.
The WorkerShould be familiar with the safety equipment provided; maintain it in proper condition; and notify the owner if
a replacement is required.
The OwnerShould assure that proper safety practices are followed; and not allow questionable materials on the jobsite.
When to Use Hand Tool Cleaning
A coating on a metal surface that has been abrasive blast cleaned to White Metal or Near-White Metal generally is expected to last
much longer than a coating on a surface that has been prepared by hand tool cleaning. Therefore, considerations of coating life
expectancy should be determined before a job is specified.
Hand tool cleaning can provide an important alternative to other means of surface preparation in a maintenance-painting program.
As areas of corrosion failure occur on a structure, hand tools are used to remove rust and failing paint selectively so that only the
areas affected are prepared. In this instance, hand tool cleaning can be accomplished quickly and inexpensively to maintain the life
of a coating system. Other benefits of hand tool cleaning are that it can be done in confined areas and that it produces a very small
amount of dust. Therefore, hand tool cleaning may be appropriate near sensitive equipment or in areas where people are working.
For small areas, it is often less expensive per square foot to use hand tools, but on larger jobs, hand tool cleaning becomes very
slow and labor intensive compared with other means of surface preparation.
The most proven coating for a hand tool-cleaned surface is a slow drying, oil-based paint. This type of paint will provide for good
coverage over uneven surfaces and will adhere adequately. This is important when applying paint on a failed area that has been
hand tool cleaned, because hand tools can scar the surface, leaving it with high and low areas. Epoxy mastics are also quite
popular for hand tool-cleaned surfaces.
A hand tool-cleaned surface is desirable for applications where a low-cost cleaning method is required and a short-life paint system
can be tolerated. Remember to be thorough in hand tool cleaning operations, and dont let fatigue lower the quality of your work.
Always clean the surface with solvent to get rid of grease and oil before you begin hand tool cleaning, and avoid creating burrs on
the steel.
This article is the ninth in JPCLs updated Applicator Training Bulletin Series. The Series was first published from 1988 to 1992. It
was expanded in 1993 and updated the first time starting in 1997. The current update began in January 2013. The series is
intended as an introduction to protective coatings work, with topics divided into five categories:
Basics of Corrosion and Coatings,
Surface Preparation,
Quality Control, and
Safety and Health.
Editors Note: The original version of this article, written in 1989 by Craig Henry (with Service Painting Company of Texas at the
time) and Burke Bennett (with Clemtex at the time), was published in the February 1989 JPCL as part of the original Applicator
Training Bulletin Series developed by the Coating Society of the Houston Area. The article was subsequently updated and
published in the February 2006 JPCL, and updated again for publication this month.

26.Recent Developments in SSPC Surface Prep Standards
From JPCL, Three Decades of Change in the Coatings Industry 2013 - Special Issue
The JPCL Staff
In the past five years, SSPC has added, replaced, and revised several standards for surface preparation and abrasives in response
to changes in the industry.
The documents cover power tool cleaning; blast cleaning galvanized steel, stainless steels, and non-ferrous metals; water jetting of
metals; mineral and slag abrasives; and encapsulated abrasives. The information below was provided by SSPC.
Power Tool Cleaning
SSPC revised two power tool cleaning standards in 2012: SSPC-SP 11, Power Tool Cleaning to Bare Metal, and SSPC-SP 15,
Commercial Power Tool Cleaning.
The types of power tools described by SP 11 and SP 15 have been reorganized and reclassified into grinding and impact
categories. The impact category now includes wire bristle impact tools, which were introduced to the U.S. market after the earlier SP
11 and SP 15 were developed. In both standards, the default method for measuring profile is ASTM D 4417, Method B (depth
micrometer) unless otherwise specified. Other methods (replica tape or portable stylus instrument) may be used if permitted by the
project specification. Feathering of remaining intact coatings is required unless otherwise specified. Compressed air used in power
tool cleaning must be verified to be free of oil and water in accordance with ASTM D4285, Standard Test Method for Indicating Oil or
Water in Compressed Air.
Non-mandatory notes have been added to both standards to caution against damaging surfaces, and to alert users that
characteristics of individual tools and variations in the steel may affect the appearance and depth of resulting profile.
For both standards, what did not change is as noteworthy as what did change, according to SSPC. The 2012 revisions have not
changed existing requirements for surface cleanliness and minimum surface profile in either standard.
Surface Preparation and Abrasives
In 2010, SSPC issued SSPC-SP 16, Brush-Off Blast Cleaning of Coated and Uncoated Galvanized Steel, Stainless Steels, and
NonFerrous Metals.
According to SSPC, this standard covers surface preparation of coated or uncoated metal surfaces other than carbon steel before
application of a protective coating system. Surface preparation in this standard is used to uniformly roughen and clean the bare
substrate and to roughen the surface of intact coatings on these metals before coating application. Substrates that may be prepared
by this method include, but are not limited to, galvanized surfaces, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and brass. For the purpose of
this standard, the zinc metal layer of hot-dip galvanized steel is considered to be the substrate, rather than the underlying steel. This
standard is intended for use by coating specifiers, applicators, inspectors, or others who may be responsible for defining a standard
degree of surface cleanliness.
SSPC-SP 16 is not to be used for cleaning coated or uncoated carbon steel substrates. The standard represents a degree of
cleaning similar to that defined for carbon steel substrates in SSPC-SP 7/NACE No. 4, Brush-Off Blast Cleaning, except that SSPC-
SP 16 requires a minimum surface profile depth on the bare metal surface.
SSPC-AB 1, Mineral and Slag Abrasives, was revised in 2013, its first revision in 22 years. The standard was developed to establish
quality benchmarks for non-metallic abrasives and to provide a classification scheme that would allow users to select the
appropriate size distribution (work mix) for a given project.
Key changes to the standard begin with the scope. It has been expanded to include manufactured, non-metallic abrasives that meet
the requirements of the standard, such as silicone carbide and other abrasives that are neither naturally occurring minerals nor slag
The revision also clarifies the responsibilities for testing the abrasives to determine initial qualification to the standard, conformance
testing for continued compliance, and testing for field quality control. The supplier is responsible for third-party testing to determine
initial qualification. The requirements for documentation of initial qualification testing include requirements for the credentials of the
laboratory performing the qualification testing of the abrasive.
The supplier is also responsible for conformance testing of material for continued compliance when such testing is required by the
The contractor is responsible for field testing for oil and soluble salt contamination of delivered new media before initial use, and, if
the use of recycled work mix is permitted by project specification, the contractor is responsible for testing the work mix before field
use. The standard calls for the latter testing to be done once every work shift or eight-hour period, whichever is shorter.
Also new to the standard is an appendix with additional requirements for non-metallic abrasives used by the U.S. Navy. This
appendix is non-mandatory unless specified by the purchaser, and it includes additional requirements for friability, radioactivity, and
inspection that are currently required by MIL-A-22262(SH).
In 2009, SSPC issued a new abrasive standard, SSPC-AB 4, Recyclable Abrasive Media (in a compressible cellular matrix),
developed to help those who use these composite abrasives to reduce dust generation and ricochet damage when blast cleaning
steel and other surfaces. The standard includes requirements for selecting and evaluating the encapsulated media (e.g., steel grit,
aluminum oxide) as well as requirements for quality control of new and recycled encapsulated media.
Four Waterjetting Standards Replace Existing Standard
The 2012 revision of the 2002 version of SSPC-SP 12/NACE No. 5 standard, Surface Preparation of and Cleaning of Metals by
Waterjetting Prior to Coating, replaced the single standard with four separate documents, each addressing a different level of
surface cleanliness. There were several reasons for the changes, according to SSPC, but much of the material in the new standards
was drawn from SSPC-SP 12/NACE No. 5.
The organization of the four resulting standards has been revised to more closely parallel the organization of the dry abrasive blast
cleaning standards, and allows the specifier to specify levels of cleanliness for waterjetting by use of separate standards, as is done
when specifying levels of dry abrasive blast cleaning.
The titles of the new standards are:
SSPC-SP WJ 1/NACE WJ-1, Waterjet Cleaning of MetalsClean to Bare Substrate (WJ-1);
SSPC-SP WJ 2/NACE WJ-2, Waterjet Cleaning of MetalsVery Thorough Cleaning (WJ-2);
SSPC-SP WJ 3/NACE WJ-3, Waterjet Cleaning of MetalsThorough Cleaning (WJ-3); and
SSPC-SP WJ 4/NACE WJ-4, Waterjet Cleaning of MetalsLight Cleaning (WJ-4).
The definitions of the four surface cleanliness levels have changed very little from the definitions in the 2002 version of the standard.
Clarification that permissible staining or tightly adherent matter must be evenly distributed over the surface has been added to WJ-2
and WJ-3. In addition, a clarification of tightly adherent (cannot be lifted with a dull putty knife) has been added to WJ-2, WJ-3 and
WJ-4 definitions.
As in the original standard, descriptions of three degrees of flash rusting are provided in each of the revised waterjetting standards.
These descriptions are based on the degree to which the rust obscures the carbon steel substrate and the degree of adhesion to the
substrate. The color of the rust is no longer addressed.
27.Surface Preparation: A Continuing Evolution
From JPCL, Three Decades of Change in the Coatings Industry 2013 - Special Issue
Charles Lange
If youre in the coatings industry, then youre well aware of just how vital surface preparation is to any protective coatings-related
endeavor. Whether its a matter of removing and containing existing lead-based paint from a structure, or providing a clean
substrate and a uniform surface profile to ensure proper coating adhesion, surface preparation is every bit as important as the actual
coating application, and it requires strict attention to detail, clear and concise regulations and standards, and the most up-to-date
equipment to get the job done right. According to Fred Goodwin, from an article in the July 2012 JPCL, Proper surface preparation
is one of the most important stages in achieving successful coating installation. (p. 45)
The 25th Anniversary issue of JPCL (August 2009) provided a general summary of surface preparation practices, equipment, and
standards dating back to the publication of JPCLs first issue in 1984. Industry growth hasnt ceased since then; in fact, surface
preparation methods and equipment continue to develop. In conjunction with these developments, SSPC has adapted its standards
along the way, providing a clear point-of-reference to surface preparation work and resulting in better execution of the work.
This article will take a look at some of the advances in surface preparation, with particular attention paid to the last four years. While
it is not intended to be comprehensive, this article can serve as a framework for some of the trends and continuing developments in
the surface preparation field. Trends identified are based on product developments reported by JPCL, PaintSquare News, and
individual companies.
19842009: A Brief Review
The August 2009 JPCL summarized and detailed the ongoing developments in surface preparation practices, equipment, and
standards between 1984 and 2009. Trends highlighted in the summary include the advances made in abrasive blast cleaning, as
well as the establishment of new standards to ensure quality during blasting operations and selection of abrasive materials (pp. 56
57). Advances in standards for power tool cleaning (pp. 5859), as well as the emergence of visual standards (p. 61), were also
The August 2009 summary also touched on the emergence of waterjetting, an alternative to dry blasting, and the establishment of
the original SSPC waterjetting standard in 1995 (pp. 5960). Wet abrasive blasting methods were also discussed (p. 60), as were
techniques and standards for preparing concrete surfaces (pp. 6263).
The equipment and practices covered in the August 2009 JPCL havent disappeared, just changed to adapt with technological
advances and the constant need for corresponding standardization. Some of the trends discussed in the 25th Anniversary summary
are still prevalent in the industry today. While there has certainly been plenty of new innovation in the surface preparation field, it is
more common that past methodology is developed and tweaked for use in the future. Pay attention to how some of these older
methods have been modified to reflect the changes in the industry, while others have been outright replaced by the new tools of the

High-tech equipment like robotic units offer many advantages, but surface preparation still needs
that human touch. iStock
Equipment & Practices: 2009Today
Robotics Revolution
One of the most visible trends in surface preparation equipment and practices is the automation of surface preparation processes
through the emergence of new robotic equipment. Debuted primarily during marine coating endeavors, robotics usage has
expanded across several different industries, and few technologies have had such far-reaching effects in these industries as
robotics. These new components have a wide range of benefits, helping contractors increase efficiency; reduce negative
environmental impacts; and, because robotics equipment can prepare dangerous or nearly inaccessible areas, often keep workers
out of harms way.
Over the past five years, weve seen a number of robotic waterjetting machines put to use for surface preparation jobs on vessels
and storage tanks. These machines include features such as increased coatings removal rates, mobile or radio-controlled operation,
magnetic attachment systems for horizontal or vertical surfaces, both vacuum effluent and vacuum-less containment systems, and
various safety devices.
Robotics arent just for waterjetting. Some new robotic gritblasting machines are designed to store blast process parameters for
different blasting operations, ensuring an even profile and consistent stand-off distances, nozzle angles, and surface speeds. In
addition to enhanced productivity, these features are intended to ensure quality control and consistency, as well.
Better Ways to Waterjet
JPCLs 25
Anniversary review of surface preparation techniques was published as waterjetting started gaining ground as a
preferred technique. As contractors looked for alternative preparation methods for jobs in which dry abrasive blasting was not the
best option, ultra-high pressure (UHP) waterjetting emerged as a suitable substitute. The first waterjetting standard, published by
SSPC and NACE in 2002, was expanded a decade later to reflect the technical and practical changes and developments that took
place. (For more information on the revised waterjetting standard, take a look at the Surface Preparation Standards article, p. 44.)
To go hand-in-hand with the revised waterjetting standards, equipment and practices have been modified, with increased efficiency
and user ease taking the lead as the driving forces behind new innovation.
Some of the aforementioned robotic waterjetting machines have the ability to tackle a variety of surfaces and substrates. But a
thorough surface preparation job cant be completed by robots aloneit needs that human touch, so to speak. Recent man-
powered waterblasting machines have been designed with a keen eye on ergonomic design and other considerations that could
help increase efficiency and productivity, as well as more portability and better access for usage across a variety of structures.
The past five years have seen several new versatile waterjetting components introduced, including water jet pumps that contain
multiple operating pressures and engines that run up to 1,000 hp. Others include new convertible waterjet units; new multi-gun
valves; new ergonomic equipment designed to make waterjetting easier; and revamped control gun handles, designed to be easier
to hold and operate, helping the worker complete the job in the most efficient manner possible.

Concrete needs surface prep and coating application tailored to its unique makeup. iStock
Conquering Concrete
If youve ever picked up and read a copy of JPCL, chances are you dont need to be reminded that concrete surfaces require
different methods of surface preparation than steel and other materialsbut well mention it, anyway, just to drive the point home
once more. Concrete demands a surface preparation and coatings application plan tailored for its unique composition, porosity, and
possible surface defects.
The 25
Anniversary JPCL described some early steps to establishing more tried-and-true concrete surface preparation methods,
including the establishment of and revamping of SSPC-SP 13/NACE No. 6, Surface Preparation of Concrete. With this
standardization as the foundation, surface preparation equipment and practices for concrete continue to develop.
Tracy Glew authored an article in the January 2013 JPCL, Preparing Concrete Floors for Coatings, which highlighted some of the
most common techniques for preparing concrete floors before coatings application. The methods Glew touched on include multi-
stripping, planing, grinding, and shotblastingwhich Glew says is one of the most cost-effective methods of preparing concrete,
given proper conditions (p. 32).
Not surprisingly, there have been plenty of developments in the equipment aiding these processes, such as new self-propelled or
walk-behind shotblasting machines intended to strip previous coatings and compounded residues from concrete at high production
rates. Other developments include new multi-level grinding kits and upgraded pneumatic surface planers, designed for use in
marine and other industrial settings.
Going Green
Nowadays, its impossible to ignore the negative impacts that industry has had on the environment. Among pollution, depletion of
natural resources, and the negative health effects on humans, it has become increasingly obvious that every industry needs to
rededicate itself to making sure the harm to the environment and people is kept to an absolute minimum, and the coatings industry
is no exception.
Some of the aforementioned technological developments have environmentally friendly features, such as vacuum blasters, and so
on. Indeed, preparing surfaces that leave large quantities of blasting dust and residue, or removing existing lead-based paint,
always poses a risk to the environment and requires the use of containment and other measures to make sure these harmful
byproducts do not enter into the ecosystem.

Protecting workers and the environment during surface prep is as
important as properly cleaning and profiling the substrate. iStock
While water jetting to avoid abrasive dust and waste has become an increasingly popular method of avoiding said byproducts, dry
blasting hasnt gone by the wayside. Instead, manufacturers have been hard at work developing more green abrasives that leave
behind less debris and pose considerably fewer threats to the environment.
In the October 2012 JPCL, David Dorrow answers the question, What is a Green Abrasive? Dorrow describes the different kinds of
recyclable abrasives, including steel, garnet, glass, and others. Dorrow says that these recycled, green abrasives can reduce the
overall waste generated by a project, and advises contractors not only to consider cost and convenience considerations when
selecting an abrasive material, but to also think about sustainability and effects on the environment. He also explains the ways of
producing abrasives from industrial byproducts, such as mineral aggregates (or slags), and post-consumer materials like recycled
household plastic and glass waste. The green abrasive products on the market today reflect Dorrows school of thoughtputting
environmental considerations at the forefront of the selection process.
Abrasives arent the only surface preparation materials that have been modified for better sustainability and less environmental
impact. Machines that use heat to remove coatings have been around for many years and continue to be developed, with focuses
on features such as reduced environmental harm, improved portability, and ease of access. Paint strippers also continue to evolve.
Old solvent-based versions had put workers and the environment at risk. Today, paint strippers come to market in formulations free
of solvents and other hazardous compounds.

More equipment is coming to the market to improve the
efficiency, quality, and safety of preparing ship hulls.
Portability & Access: Its All in Reach
Not all surface preparation jobs are created equal. While some jobs require one or two straightforward processes to clean uniform,
easily accessible surfaces, others present more complicated and challenging areas to prepare. Coating jobs often require especially
small or large surfaces, or hard-to-reach areas, to be prepared and coated with the same attention to detail and quality as the easier
parts of the structure. If these surfaces do not receive adequate preparation before coating application, the performance of the entire
structures coating system is put at risk. With this in mind, several new innovations in the industry have been designed with the
intent of helping contractors cover these crucial areas.
New blasting machines, designed to prepare surfaces of steel and concrete storage tanks, ship hulls, and other horizontal or vertical
surfaces, can disassemble to fit inside of a tight storage tank access hole, keeping workers out of dangerous areas. There have also
been developments in handheld units for dry and wet surface preparation. Such tools are designed to remove coatings from steel
structures that are too large for manual surface preparation, but too small for fully-automated equipment.
From the tools and machines created for small spaces where access is difficult, to self-attaching units that prepare large, vertical
surfaces at extreme heights and hand-held tools aimed at completing medium-sized preparation jobs, surface preparation
equipment is changing to meet the demands of the industry.
Whats Next?
So where does surface preparation go from here?
Its hard to predict innovationif we could, wed all be millionaire inventors, after all. It is, however, possible to study the trends
weve discussed in surface preparation equipment and practices, and try to make an educated guess as to what developments the
future may hold.

Waterjetting, once a novel method of surface preparation,
has become much more popular, and development of its
standards, practices, and equipment continues to meet
new demands. iStock
Take a look back on the past five years. Weve seen the emergence of new robotic surface preparation machines, versatile,
multifaceted waterjetting units, cleaner recycled abrasive materials, and new methods and machines for cleaning concrete. The vast
majority of the new products weve seen popping up in the marketplace now come equipped with features that increase efficiency
and productivity, allow for maximum portability, lessen harmful impacts on the environment, and keep workers safe.
Its safe to say that these goals will continue to drive innovation in the surface preparation field. Efficiency and productivity, in a
certain sense, will always be one of the top motivations for development, but they cant come at the expense of any of the other
benefits contractors strive for. It will certainly be interesting to see which considerations will take front and center as the
development of surface preparation equipment and practices continues.

28.Why surface preparation is important
From JPCL, May 2013
Coatings experts often say that surface preparation of a steel surface is the most important part of a coating system. By this they
mean that surface preparation affects the performance of the coating more than any other variable. Given that the proper coating
system has been selected, if the surface preparation is poor, coating performance will often be compromised, even when the
application is perfect. If surface preparation is good, then the coating applied over it is likely to perform well. For you, the applicator,
it is useful to know why surface preparation is so important, because knowing why can help you do a better job. The following
discussion focuses on the preparation of steel, but the concepts apply to other substrates as well.
Surface Preparation Is a Foundation
First, we can express the reason for the importance of surface preparation in a broad, general way, with the help of an analogy or
Surface preparation is to a coating system what a foundation is to a building. If a building has a poor foundation, it can list or lean,
as the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa does, or it can collapse altogether. If a coating system has a poor foundation (surface
preparation), it will fail sooner than expected (say, after five years rather than ten years), or it can fail catastrophicall y, within the first
year of application. In both instances, reduced service life and catastrophic failure can result in great financial losses to a facility
owner. The contractor may be held responsible for these losses if the surface preparation work is found to be faulty. As a
professional painter, you have a responsibility to your employer to make certain that the surface preparation work you provide
complies with the specification requirementsto provide the solid foundation necessary for the proper performance of the coating
When speaking about the function of surface preparation, it is important to go beyond the general concept of a foundation, and look
to specific attributes. Surface preparation creates a foundation in two important ways: a mechanical way, by providing an anchor for
the coating; and a chemical way, by allowing intimate contact of coating molecules with the steel surface. These elements of
foundation are best understood by their oppositesthe negative or detrimental conditions of slipperiness and debris on the surface.
Overcoming the Negative of Slipperiness
When a surface is very smooth, coatings have a difficult time adhering strongly. Imagine a coating on glass, for instance, and the
ease with which it can be removed by a scraper or even a fingernail. Imagine, on the other hand, a rough surface like sandpaper on
the same piece of glass, and how difficult it would be to remove a coating film from it. Steel, when it is abrasive blasted, has a
surface that is rough like sandpaper, with a series of tiny peaks and valleys called surface profile (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Scanning electron microscope photo of a steel cross-section. The steel
substrate is the shiny, smooth part toward the bottomthe granular,
crystalline lighter gray layer is inorganic zinc. The darker gray top layer is a
high-solids epoxy, complete with a large burst bubble in the middle.
Photo courtesy of International Paint Co./J ohn Cozine
Coatings anchor themselves to the valleys of the profile, and the peaks are like teeth. This is why surface profile created by blasting
is sometimes called an anchor pattern or mechanical tooth.
This article was first published in October 1988, as part of the original Applicator Training Bulletin series, and in January 2005,
when the series was revisited. The authors of the original article are Robert Barnhart (now deceased), then of Devoe Coatings (now
International Paint); Debbie Mericle (no longer in the coatings business), then of Sline Industrial Painters (now part of K2 Industrial
Services, which has partnered with the Halifax Group); Chuck Mobley, Mobley Industrial Painters (now Mobley Industrial Services,
Inc.); Tom Hocking, Sullair of Houston; Jeff Bogran, then with Bob Schmidt, Inc. (now Axxiom), and now working for Energy Clean;
and Ernestine McDaniel, then with Stan-Blast (now U.S. Minerals) and now working for GMA Garnet.
Overcoming the Negative of Debris
Debris on a steel surface can be comprised of many different materials. They include dirt, dust, grease, oil, rust, moisture, and in
some cases, millscale. When materials such as these are painted over, they interfere with both mechanical and chemical adhesion
of the coating to the substrate and make it likely that the coating will fail prematurely. On the other hand, when all debris is removed,
the coating can achieve complete and continuous contact with the steel substrate, thus assuring the best possible adhesion. When
a coating adheres well, it will create a more effective barrier, minimizing the moisture that reaches the steel substrate and that helps
Non-Visible Contaminants
Other forms of debris, not visible to the naked eye, are chemical contaminants. The most dangerous forms of chemical
contaminants are soluble salts such as chlorides and sulfates. When such contaminants are painted over, they have the power to
draw the moisture through the coating to cause blistering, detachment, and accelerated corrosion of the underlying steel.
When structural steel is going to be repainted, areas that were previously rusted and pitted may contain soluble salt contamination,
especially in the bases of the pits. Dry abrasive blasting typically does not remove these salts, so it is wise to check for their
presence with specially-designed field test kits before painting, and then to take additional cleaning steps to remove the salts, if they
are present in detrimental amounts. Testing for and removal of soluble salts will be discussed in detail in a later lesson.
Degrees of Separation
In any job specification, the degree of cleaning (Fig. 2) required for a given steel substrate before painting depends on a number of
factors. The service environment of the coating system is perhaps the most important and, normally, is the first consideration when
determining the degree of surface preparation. Generally, the more severe the environment, the better the surface preparation
required. Severe service environments include immersion in liquids, exposure to aggressive chemicals or environments, high
temperatures, or combinations of these conditions.

Fig. 2: Samples of degrees of blast cleaning
on steel covered with rust and millscale,
from SSPCs VIS-1, Guide and Reference
Photographs for Steel Surfaces Prepared by
Dry Abrasive Blast Cleaning. Courtesy of
SSPC. Not to be used in place of the actual
visual standard.
A second consideration is the generic kind of coating used. Some coatings, such as oils and alkyds, because they flow out and wet
the surface well, can tolerate application over minimally-prepared or hand-cleaned surfaces. In addition, some epoxy mastics and
other surface-tolerant coatings are formulated to be applied over hand-and power tool-cleaned surfaces. Coatings such as
inorganic zincs, however, are at the other end of the spectrum. They require a higher degree of cleaning than many other types.
Cost is another factor in selecting the degree of surface preparation. Blast cleaning to SSPC-SP 5 (White Metal) is about 45 times
more costly than to SSPC-SP 7 (Brush-Off) or SSPC-SP 3 (Power Tool). In some severe environments and with some coating
types, rigorous cleaning is necessary, but in other instances, the cost and cost-benefit of higher grades of cleaning relative to
increased coating lifetime will become an important factor in selecting the degree of surface preparation.
Finally, regulations may have an impact on the degree and method of surface preparation. In residential or congested urban
environments, open blasting may be prohibited; in addition, where lead- or chromate-based paints are being removed,
environmental and hazardous waste regulations may require containment and use of special surface preparation methods.
Determining the degree of surface preparation, as described above, is the job of a specifier or engineer. The task of doing the work
is the contractors. No matter what degree of surface preparation is required, it must be done thoroughly. If hand-tool cleaning is
required, then all of the surface area specified must be hand-tool cleaned, after it has been first cleaned by water or solvent
according to SSPC-SP 1 to remove dirt, oil, or grease. If SSPC-SP 5 is specified, then conformance with the written description of
SP 5 must be achieved on all designated surfaces.
In cleaning steel, it is also important to follow the proper sequence (Fig. 3). First, you must remove dirt and other debris. It is a lot
easier to sweep mounds of dirt and other loose material off a surface with a broom (or by vacuuming in the case of lead-
contaminated debris) than to try to remove it with surface preparation tools. The next step is removing visible oil and grease by
solvent cleaning. Then you must conduct the operation of hand tool, power tool, or blast cleaning.

Fig. 3: Observe the proper sequence when
cleaning steel.
If you reverse these steps, particularly with blast cleaning, the force of the blasting abrasive may drive the debris into the roughened
steel surface or profile, or spread it around as is the case with grease and oil. Then it is not easy to remove, and it may interfere with
coating adhesion.
In addition, it is important to achieve the surface profile required by specifications. When the profile is too rough, the coating may not
cover the peaks of the profile, and the result will be pinpoint rusting. When the profile is not rough enough, the coating may not
anchor well to the surface, and the result will be loss of adhesion.
Upcoming ATBs
The following are among the upcoming Applicator Training Bulletins.
Product and Application Data Sheets
Mixing and Thinning Paint
Quality Control
The Effects of Weather on Cleaning and Coating Work
Conforming with Job Requirements
Safety and Health
Safety Considerations for Abrasive Blasting
Anticipating Job Hazards
To make sure that a coating system will perform well as a barrier to prevent corrosion, you must roughen the steel surface for
mechanical adhesion and make sure that all debris is removed so that the coating contacts the entire surface of the steel. In
achieving these two conditions of cleanliness and profile, you will have assured that a proper foundation has been created for
application of a coating system. This good foundation should help to provide many years of service life for the coating.

29.Preparing Concrete Floors for Coatings
From JPCL, January 2013
Tracey Glew
Group Managing Director, The Preparation Group, UK
The successful application and durability of resins, coatings, and screeds on concrete floors depends on a sound surface. The key
to success is in the preparation. When selecting the correct equipment and methods, consideration must be made for potential
problems such as uneven joints, high spots, contaminants, worn coatings, sticky residues, old tiles, and friable substrates, which all
need to be tackled to achieve a clean, profiled surface suitable for the application of the specified coating or covering.
There is a wide range of surface preparation machines and accessories on the market and a vast array of techniques that can be
employed, with each unit and technique producing a different result. The model, size, and power requirements of the machine,
together with the accessories selected and the type, thickness, and composition of the material to be removed, will determine
production rates achievable. Other important factors to consider are area size; location and accessibility; the power supply available;
and, critically, the profile required for the coating specified. It is important to note that surface preparation machines are also
designed to work with dust collection and filtration units to minimize the dust contamination common in the preparation of concrete
When concrete is not finished correctly, or if it has been broom finished/tamped (packed down and having a light rippled effect), the
surface may have a large degree of laitance. To achieve a sufficient bond for the specified material to be applied, this laitance must
be removed.
This article describes common techniques and equipment for preparing concrete before applying a coating or other system.
The multi-stripping method is used to remove material from a surface or to clean it. Often, multi-stripping is selected when there are
no other effective options available.
There are 110-volt, hand-operated, walk-behind machines for clearing small areas, and large, ride-on, three-phase electrical or
propane-powered machines for clearing large areas.
Blades or picks are attached to the front of the machine and their type, weight, and position affects the removal of the designated
surface. A flat blade should be selected to scrape off tiles, latex, adhesives, and elastomeric systems, while a curved blade cuts
material into manageable lengths as it strips, so it is ideal to lift up membranes, carpet, and sheet vinyl. Picks are employed to break
up hard materials such as ceramics and terrazzo tiles.
The operator positions the machine to cut or lift the material as the machine drives forward. In this way, multi-strippers can remove
floor coverings such as waterproofing membranes, epoxies, polyurethanes, sticky residues, thermoplastic materials, asphalt,
bituminous materials, adhesives, and the various other coverings such as wood, vinyl, carpets, ceramic tiles, latex, and screeds.
Once the floor is stripped, additional techniques for floor preparation are often specified in order to provide a suitable surface for
application of the resin or screed, etc., such as the following.
You would select planing to remove materials in excess of 2 mm in thickness, when there are multiple layers of coatings, and when
a rippled profile is required. Applications include removing old screeds, asphalt, latex, and adhesives, and reducing tamped surfaces
and levels.
Machines range from small 110-volt, single-phase, to larger three-phase electrically powered petrol or diesel walk-behind models
and ride-on versions for large-scale projects and heavy-duty applications.
The planing operation is based on a drum rotating at high speed within the body of the machine. The profile or texture is created by
the accessories fitted to the drum known as flails (Fig. 1), or picks in the case of ride-on models (Fig. 2). Once contact is made with
the surface being treated, the flail configuration cuts with a downward rotary action.

Fig. 1: Underside of small planing machine showing milling flail drum Photos
courtesy of the author

Fig. 2: Profile created by ride-on
planing machine fitted with pick drum
There are different shapes and sizes of flails and picks available for specific tasks and they can be arranged on the drum for light
cleaning applications through to heavy-duty grooving. Generally, milling flails are for the removal of thermoplastic line markings (Fig.
3), bituminous materials, and rubber deposits; tungsten carbide-tipped flails are for cleaning, texturing, and roughening concrete;
and star flails and beam flails are for removing soft material compositions.

Fig. 3: Walk-behind planing machine removing
thermoplastic line markings
Picks can remove and reduce materials in excess of 2 mm and up to 25 mm.
It is important to note that hard surfaces may be a problem for smaller planing machines because there is not enough weight to cut
into the surface. This can result in the machine malfunctioning and becoming a hazard to the operator.
Grinding would be selected when a flat, level, and smooth concrete surface is required. It is used for removing surface
contaminants, adhesives, paint (Fig. 4), sealers, and coatings, and for cleaning.

Fig. 4: Paint removal by a single-head, three-phase grinding machine
Grinding models are available in single-phase or three-phase electric and in single-head, double-head, and multi-head versions.
There are also diesel- and petrol-powered alternatives and variable speed models that can be fitted with provisions for wet grinding
and polishing applications.
Grinding is achieved by diamond (Fig. 5), tungsten, or resin-bonded plates or discs that are secured to the single or multiple rotating
heads. There is a wide range of grades of diamond, resin-bonded, and PCD (Polycrystalline Diamond) shoes for removing
adhesives and coatings, and for grinding, smoothing, and polishing decorative screeds and concrete screeds.

Fig. 5: Underside of grinding
machine showing diamond
As a general rule, hard composition surfaces will require a soft bond diamond segment or disc, and soft compositions will require a
hard bond. The correct diamond accessory is important because incorrect selection will either simply glaze over the surface without
creating the profile or wear out extremely quickly in the initial stages of the operation.
Grinding is not recommended if the surface is uneven or if the concrete has been tamped.
In the correct conditions, shotblasting is one of the most cost-effective methods of preparation. It is often selected to clean and
profile power-floated concrete, to remove laitance (Fig. 6), coatings, and light surface contaminants. Surfaces to be shotblasted
must be sound and hard. Shotblasting is not suitable for removing or treating soft compositions or materials thicker than 2 mm.

Fig. 6: Shotblasting machine removing surface
Shotblasting machines are available in walk-behind, 110-volt single-phase and three-phase electric and ride-on versions, and all
offer different operating widths.
The process involves propelling steel shot or abrasive at high velocity (by a rotating wheel contained in the body of the machine)
onto the surface to produce the desired profile. The debris removed is then collected in a dedicated vacuum/filtration unit for
disposal upon completion of the process, and the shot is recycled.
Many profiles can be achieved; each profile is determined by the size or grade of shot or abrasive selected and the speed at which
the machine is propelled.
Shotblasting will also highlight surface defects in the substrate being prepared, and cannot be carried out in wet or damp conditions.
For optimum results, the process requires a smooth, even surface; otherwise, the shot will escape from the machine.
Selecting the correct technique for the nature of the concrete surface to be prepared is essential for obtaining the optimum substrate
for coating or further treatment.

30.On static electricity and abrasive blasting
From JPCL, December 2012
What causes static electricity during abrasive blasting? What risk does it pose, and how can it be
From Simon Hope Salamis
Static electricity is produced by the active transport of electrons to create a potential difference or charge (the classic example being
the Van de Graff generator), which then discharges back to earth when the voltage is great enough to jump as a spark. The spark
will take the shortest and easiest track to earth.
In abrasive blasting using compressed air, it is possible to charge up the blast nozzle with static electricity. Dry air, rather than damp
air, helps maintain the charge that builds up as the abrasive transports electrons to the nozzle and deposits them there. Eventually,
the charge becomes so great that the electrons jump to the nearest earth, which will be either the operator, if not wearing suitable
rubber-soled boots, or the substrate. Sparks can be over one foot (300 mm) long and have relatively high energy.
Sparks themselves do not pose a particularly high risk in normal operations such as in blast pens of general construction sites. They
do, however, become a problem in explosive or potentially explosive environments, where a spark becomes an ignition source. An
adjacent spray shop may have enough solvent vapor to be within the explosive concentration limits for the material. Similarly, in
petrochemical sites, there are zoned areas where equipment producing sparks or having a spark potential must be controlled by a
permit-to-work system due to the risk from hydrocarbons. Systems such as flour mills that produce fine dust likewise are high-risk
areas for static-producing equipment because the spark can cause ignition of the dust, with catastrophic consequences.
Control of the static is quite simple to achieve. The first and simplest thing to do is to provide a controlled discharge path without
permitting a spark. This path can be provided either by directly earth-bonding the nozzle using an earth wire from the nozzle straight
to earth or by using conductive blast hose with continuity to the blast pot, which is then earthed to a suitable point.
Another alternative control is the use of a wet abrasive slurry. It creates continuity with the nozzle and substrate, thus completing the
earth circuit.
The air from the nozzle can act as a purge to remove flammables from the vicinity of any discharge, although this practice is not a
substitute for proper earthing.
In Europe, static discharge comes under the ATEX (ATmosphere EXplosive) regulations, so any equipment with the potential to
generate static that is used in a zoned area must be built to be compliant with these regulations and must be certified accordingly. In
the U.S., OSHA should be consulted for regulations, standards, and guidance on explosive environments and static discharge
Also, for work in high-risk areas, the use of suitable gas monitors set to pick up any potentially explosive situations is a must.
Editors Note: This Problem Solving Forum was also posted on JPCLs sister publication,PaintSquare News. Online responses to
the question as well as other Problem Solving Forum questions and answers can be found at Problem
Solving Forum is an interactive column on PaintSquare News and on JPCL. Additional answers to this months question may be
submitted to PaintSquare News or to JPCL. You can also submit questions for Problem Solving Forum on PaintSquare News, or
you can submit questions to Karen Kapsanis, JPCL,

31.Preparing stainless steel for atmospheric salt service
From JPCL, October 2012
What is the proper surface preparation for stainless steel before coating to resist a salt-laden
From William Slama International Paint/Ceilcote Products
Over the years, there have been many of these applications in which the original alloy was found to be inadequate for the operating
conditions (usually chloride fluoride chemistry) of the vessel or equipment. In some cases, the inadequacy was identified even
before the structure was placed in service; other times, the inadequacy was identified when the alloy didnt perform as expected.
A recurring recent case is the many FGD vessels (absorbers and other vessels) constructed of Alloy 2205. Apparently, buildup of
scale creates a concentration of chlorides/fluorides under the scale buildup, which results in extreme pitting of the alloy.
The surface preparation, not surprisingly, is not much different than that needed for lining carbon steel. Basically, the alloy requires
a clean surface with a sharp profile with the required blast profile (depth) for the system being applied. For most high-build linings or
coatings, a 3-mil profile is needed.
For most alloys, adjacent unlined surfaces should be protected during abrasive blasting to ensure that the surfaces are not
contaminated by iron. The protection is needed because the most commonly used slag abrasives contain iron. In some cases, that
possibility is avoided by using a blast abrasive that does not contain iron. Garnet or aluminum oxide abrasives are suitable,
providing they are able to produce the required sharp profile.
As with carbon steel, the surface must be tested for salt contamination and cleaned if necessary to the lining manufacturers
One differing feature is that the surface must be coated or primed soon after blasting, unless dehumidification (DH) control holds the
relative humidity (RH) to less than 40-50% because the surface will not show the typical discoloration due to surface oxidation as
carbon steel does.
From Derek Righinni Certified Coating Inspection Ltd
There is no clear consensus on a cleanliness standard that stainless steel is required to meet before the application of coatings to
protect it from chloride-induced pitting or stress corrosion cracking.
Here is the question that should be asked: Is the chromium oxide passive layer that forms rapidly on the surface of stainless steel
tightly adherent and suitable for painting?
The answer to the question dictates the time allowable between the start of blasting to the maximum time the stainless steel
substrate can be left before coating. It would be helpful if NACE, SSPC, ISO, and ICORR would give the industry some clear
guidance on the preparation of stainless steel for painting with protective coatings and linings.
Editors Note: This Problem Solving Forum was posted on JPCLs sister publication,PaintSquare News. Answers have been edited
to conform to JPCL style and space limitations. For more Problem Solving Forum questions, go to
Solving Forum is an interactive column on PaintSquare News and on JPCL. Additional answers to this months question may be
submitted to PaintSquare News or toJPCL. You can also submit questions for Problem Solving Forum on PaintSquare News, or
you can submit questions to Karen Kapsanis, JPCL,

32.What is a Green Abrasive?
From JPCL, October 2012
Do YOU consider a green abrasive when planning for your surface preparation project?
David Dorrow
Mineral Aggregates Inc.
David Dorrow is the president of Mineral Aggregates Inc., which develops marketing solutions for mineral co-products from the steel, smelter, and other
industries. With more than 30 years of experience in the abrasive markets, he is a member of SSPC and has served on its Abrasive Steering
Committee; Surface Preparation Steering Committee; and Development Committee for SSPC-AB 1, Mineral Abrasive Specification.

Photo courtesy of the author
On the market today are a multitude of abrasives that are described as green, but what actually is a green abrasive? Generally,
the use of green is a kind of shorthand term referring to the effect of the abrasive on the environment. More specifically and
practically, the question that really should be asked is: What environmental impact and sustainability of our natural resources will
my selection of abrasive for my next surface preparation project produce?
Our society has become more and more focused on how we are affecting the world we live in with our everyday behavior as our
population continues to grow. We should all be accountable to future generations for decisions we make today, including our
activities in the surface preparation industry. Our focus should be on using the best practices available that prevent pollution of our
environment, use sustainable technologies, and eliminate waste that crowd our already brimming landfills.
The surface preparation industry has made some tremendous strides over the past two decades in improving the environmental
footprint of a blasting and painting project. Some of these changes have centered on the abrasive blasting segment of the project.
Increased use of containment, improved engineering controls and a focus on proper abrasive waste characterization and reduction
have all produced significant environmental strides in the right direction.
With todays multitude of abrasives and surface preparation technologies, making a choice can often be confusing. Coupled with all
of the different claims about reduced environmental impact that manufacturers are making about their surface preparation products,
decision makers may become overwhelmed. If the abrasive you have selected can reduce waste generated, be recycled, be
produced from an industrial byproduct or a post-consumer waste stream, or be beneficially reclaimed, should it be considered a
sustainable abrasive technology with reduced environmental impact? Of course, the answer is yes, depending on the perspective
one is taking.
Recyclable Abrasives
The ability to recycle an abrasive for more than one use can be viewed as an environmentally sensitive technology because of the
reduction in waste generation. If an abrasive has the characteristics that result in limited breakdown after the initial use, it should be
collected and processed for reuse as an abrasive.
Steel abrasives have been used for many years in fixed site facilitiesfabrication and paint shopsthat are set up to recycle the
abrasive hundreds of times. In the early 1990s, with the increased awareness of protecting the environment from the impact of lead
paint removed from structures, the development of portable/mobile recycling equipment expanded the use of steel abrasives to
projects in the field such as bridges and water towers. A project using recyclable steel abrasives reduces the amount of total waste
that is generated. This abrasive recycling process may also produce a potential waste concern because the removed paint waste is
concentrated during the cleaning of the abrasive. Proper characterization and handling of the collected waste product with the
intention to protect the environment is a prerequisite to maintaining an environmentally responsible position.
High-quality garnet is also an environmentally responsible abrasive selection because it can fall into the recyclable abrasive
category. Along with recyclability, the fast cutting rates and low consumption rates achieved when using garnet abrasives can also
reduce their environmental impact.
Producing Abrasives from Industrial Byproducts
The focus of the industry on developing additional market applications for byproducts generated during production processes
continues to increase. Industrial byproducts are evaluated for chemical and physical characteristics and targeted for corresponding
markets that can beneficially use the materials as abrasive as an alternative to immediately disposing of them after they are
Coal-fired power plants, metal smelters, and steel mills generate byproduct mineral aggregates (slags) that have been successfully
used as abrasives. Sometimes the generation processes of these byproduct minerals are engineered to produce enhanced
byproduct characteristics. The use of these materials to produce abrasives can be viewed as a green application because a material
originally destined for a landfill can be used to add value to the surface preparation industry.
Other byproduct minerals are generated during the mining and recovery process of valuable earth minerals. The use of the mineral
staurolite is a co-product separated during the refining process of mineral deposits containing high value metals and minerals. This
material is a sought-after abrasive for certain blasting applications and can also be viewed as green.
Producing Abrasives from Post-Consumer Materials
Many of us participate in recycling of our household waste: paper, plastic, or glass. These materials that were originally destined for
a landfill are now finding beneficial uses in various products. Several companies in the surface preparation market are offering post-
consumer recycled glass as an abrasive product. The glass bottles that we leave at our curbside are collected, crushed, cleaned,
and processed, enabling the green label to be applied to this reuse technology.
Whats Next?
It can be noted that once the value as an abrasive is used up, the used abrasive and accompanying paint and rust debris from the
blasting project typically become a waste and will likely end up in a landfill. Sometimes the waste is hazardous and will have to be
treated before disposal; other times, the waste will not be hazardous but will still require disposal.
There are, however, some in the industry taking the next step by beneficially using the spent abrasives as raw materials for alternate
industries. This additional green step is regionally dependent, and this technology has not yet been developed to its full potential.
In parts of the country, the lead-bearing paint debris from steel grit recycling systems has been successfully introduced back for
beneficial reuse to the smelter industry. Slag abrasives continue to have value even after use as abrasive because they have a
chemistry desirable to the Portland cement industry. Perhaps because of economics or logistics or indifference to being green, this
final important step in closing the loop has lost momentum in the abrasive market.
Closing Thoughts
Making the correct decision in selecting a green abrasive technology reminds me of the following fable. Three blind monks were
walking down a familiar path when they happen upon a sleeping elephant that was blocking their way. Having never experienced an
elephant before, the three eagerly spread out and began to touch different parts of the elephant. One wrapped his arms around the
sleeping elephants front leg; the second grabbed a hold of one of the elephants ears, while the third took hold of the elephants
trunk. Sensing that the elephant was beginning to wake, the three quickly ran off. When they stopped to rest, the three monks began
to talk about the elephant and what the elephant looked like. The first man said, An elephant is round like a tree trunk with no
branches. The second man said, No, an elephant is flat and leathery like a drum skin. Then the third man said, No, no, noyou
are both wrong! An elephant is long and thick and strong like a snake.
Each individual has his or her own perspective when it comes to selecting a green abrasive, and each of us has assigned a different
importance associated with each abrasive technology. The significance for all of us as an industry is increasing our awareness of
and focus on future sustainability by using the best available technology and minimizing our environmental impact. The abrasive
selection should not be based solely on cost, convenience, or what we have always done in the past, but should also include an
evaluation of how we are affecting our environment for future generations.

33.Preparing Surfaces at Wastewater Plants: An Overview of Substrates,
Practices, and Standards
From JPCL, September 2012
Vaughn ODea
Tnemec Company, Inc., Kansas City, MO
Vaughn ODea is director of saleswater & wastewater treatment for Tnemec Company, Inc., where he is responsible for strategic sales, marketing,
and technical initiatives. He has written numerous technical reports and articles for various waste-water industry journals. He is active in the technical
committees of NACE, SSPC, and ASTM and is a member of AWWA, WEF, ACI, ICRI, NASSCO, and NAPF. He is a contributing editor for JPCL, was
awarded the JPCL Editors Award in 2008 and 2010, and received aJPCL Top Thinker award this year.
Our valued wastewater infrastructure has been underfunded, under maintained, and under attack for many
decades. Corrosion and deterioration are winning the battle. Wastewater infrastructure in the United States
is clearly aging, and the required investment is not able to keep up with the need. The 2009 Report Card for
Americas Infrastructure issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) assigned wastewater
infrastructure a D minus.
In accompanying comments, the ASCE indicated that as much as 900 billion
gallons of combined sewer overflows are released yearly because of the poor state of our sewerage
infrastructure. To complicate matters, a 2011 ASCE report titled Failure to Actdetermined that the investment
gap has significantly increased because of our failure as a nation to respond.

According to the ASCE report, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated the cost of the capital
investment required to maintain and upgrade waste-water treatment systems across the U.S. in 2011 was
$58.3 billion. However, only $16.1 billion was funded, leaving a capital funding gap of nearly $42.2 billion. By
2020, the predicted deficit for sustaining waste-water treatment infrastructure will be $60 billion, a staggering
42 percent increase in less than 10 years. The funding gap is expected to widen by 2040.
These statistics are nothing short of alarming. Perhaps we can look to Adam Smith and his diamond-water paradox to explain why
our wastewater infrastructure has deteriorated to such perilous conditions. In his epic book, The Wealth of Nations, Smith notes that
although water is essential for life while the value of diamonds is mostly aesthetic, the price of water has always been far lower than
that of diamonds. Consequently, our tendency to place little economic value on water has arguably resulted in the neglect on our
water and wastewater infrastructure. Whats more, it is said that the sustainability of a community is directly related to its waterworks
system. Overburdened or failing wastewater infrastructure not only has a negative economic impact, but, worse, conditions caused
by the result in unsanitary conditions increase the likelihood of public health problems.
Recognizing that investments made now have a profound impact in the long-term, the EPA issued the Clean Water and Drinking
Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy as part of its effort to ensure robust and sustainable waterworks systems moving
The overarching goal of thisPolicy is to encourage the adoption of sustainable practices, such as embracing the
philosophy of capital asset management. Simply put, sustainability is effectively maintaining a desired level of service life at the
lowest life-cycle cost. This forward-thinking management of our infrastructure assets minimizes the total cost of owning and
operating them while delivering the desired service levels. Asset management is the framework to achieve effective wastewater
The use of high-performance protective linings contributes to the sustainability of wastewater infrastructure. Lets take a look at how
the protective coatings industry can support the sustainability concept beginning with surface preparation. This article discusses the
prevailing views and current practicesfrom the authors perspectivefor the surface preparation required for the common
substrates found within severe wastewater environments: concrete, carbon steel, ductile iron, and stainless steel.
The term severe wastewater environment is used colloquially in this article to describe any confined-space wastewater environment,
whether a sewer pipe or enclosed structure, containing a headspace (or vapor area above the flow of sewage).
The Useful Lives of Wastewater System Components

Component Useful Life (Years)
Collections 80100
Treatment plantsconcrete structures 50
Force mains 25
Pumping stationsconcrete structures 50
Interceptors 90100
Source: EPA (2002, Table 2-1, adapted)

Wastewater headspaces are areas susceptible to corrosion from biogenic sulfide attack.
These areas are typified by elevated
concentrations of hydrogen sulfide and other sewer gases. Despite a useful design life in excess of 25, 50, or even 80100
many of these structures commonly experience significant corrosion that ultimately requires replacement in dramatically less
time. One such example is that of a lift station in Florida where the concrete, ductile iron, and stainless steel material were all
severely corroding in less than five years of service (Fig. 1). The lift station is scheduled for complete replacement (a far cry from the
50-year design life).
Not surprisingly, the coal tar epoxy on the concrete and ductile iron in Fig. 1 is clearly unable to withstand the elevated headspace
exposure and therefore certainly not able to provide the requisite corrosion protection. The wastewater industry is now recognizing
that high-performance lining systems with low-permeation properties to sewer gases and acids are paramount to achieving the
service life expected of these structures.
Equally important, and often overlooked, is the proper surface preparation of the
construction materials to maximize the service life of the lining system. Although sound in principle, surface preparation is fraught
with challenges and met with resistance because of the variety of surface preparation techniques offered in the wastewater

Vaughn ODea

Fig. 1: A wastewater lift station experiencing significant corrosion of concrete,
ductile iron, and stainless steel materials. Note the failing coal-tar epoxy that
was applied to the concrete and ductile iron materials. Photos courtesy of
Concrete is inherently durable and is used extensively in wastewater construction. The alkaline nature of concrete, however, makes
itrelative to other substrates discussed in this articlemost susceptible to the effects of biogenic sulfide corrosion. Sewer pipes,
manholes, lift stations, screening structures, grit chambers, equalizations basins, junction boxes, and many additional headspace-
containing structures are commonly constructed of concrete and require corrosion protection by high-performance protective linings
to achieve the anticipated service life of the structures.
Preparing concrete surfaces appropriately to maximize the performance offered by high-performance protective linings is, in this
authors view, the most commonly overlooked aspect of coating concrete. Unfortunately, the wastewater industry sees a myriad of
preparation recommendations, including the proverbial pressure wash or sand blasting techniques. With no standard of quality,
the outcome often leads to premature failuresmost commonly resulting in disbondment because of improper removal of the
laitance layer (Fig. 2) or insufficient substrate rugosityor profile (Fig. 3).

Fig. 2: Delamination failure due to inadequate removal of
laitance layer

Fig. 3: Delamination failure due to insufficient substrate anchor profile
So how do you ensure consistent preparation on what is unquestionably considered an inconsistent substrate? First, follow industry
consensus standards and practices such as the SSPC-SP 13/NACE No. 6, Surface Preparation of Concrete
and NACE (Standard
Practice) SP0892, Coatings and Linings over Concrete for Chemical Immersion and Containment Service.
Both documents detail
standardized and reproducible methods for inspection, surface preparation, and sample acceptance criteria to ensure that current
preparation methods and coating system design requirements are achieved. Specifically, SSPC-SP 13/NACE No. 6 defines a
standard degree of cleanliness, strength, profile, and dryness of prepared concrete surfaces while NACE SP0892 sets forth
guidelines for the selection and installation for concrete surfaces that will be exposed to immersion conditions or chemical splash
and spillages.
Second, it is important to specify the appropriate anchor profile to ensure a satisfactory mechanical profile is created for the lining
specified. A tactile method for determining a substrates profile is by using the ICRI Technical Guideline 310.1R
concrete surface
profile (CSP) comparators. It is the authors experience that for severe waste-water exposures, the substrate profile should be equal
to an ICRI-CSP5; a lesser profile may not provide sufficient mechanical interlocking of the system to the substrate to resist the lifting
forces exerted on the film from exposure to the severe sewer environment.
Third, it is important that all voids, gouges, bugholes, and other surface anomalies on the substrate be repaired with the appropriate
patching materials before applying a coating system.
Repairing new and existing concrete levels the substrate and creates a
paintable surface (Fig. 4). Concrete substratesincluding new, cast-in-place and pre-cast structuresshould be repaired to allow
the topcoat to achieve a continuous, monolithic film.

Fig. 4: Properly prepared concrete (above) and concrete repair via a
cementitious resurfacing material (below)
Ferrous Metals
Ferrous metals, such as carbon steel and ductile iron, are also commonly used in wastewater construction for a variety of
components including tanks, pipes, fittings, valves, and structural members. Ferrous metals are subject to microbiologically-
influenced corrosion and direct molecular attack from hydrogen sulfide gas, so they require barrier protection in severe wastewater
Carbon Steel
It is well understood that the surface preparation of carbon steel is the key foundation to achieving long-term performance of heavy-
duty, high-performance protective liners. Carbon steel members are typically abrasive blasted to achieve a prescribed degree of
substrate cleanliness and to achieve a suitable anchor profile (waterjetting is occasionally used for rehabilitation where a satisfactory
profile exists). Similar to concrete, proper surface preparation is consistently achieved by following industry consensus surface
preparation standards. SSPC-SP 5/NACE No. 1, White Metal Blast Cleaning,
with a minimum 3.0-mils (76.2-microns), angular
anchor profile ensures optimum surface cleanliness and adhesion of the protective coating system in severe sewer environments.
Ductile Iron Pipe
Ductile iron (DI) is also a common material for many appurtenances, including pipe and fittings found in severe sewer exposures.
Although inherently more corrosion resistant than concrete and carbon steel, ductile iron nonetheless requires a high-performance
protective lining to achieve the useful design life when exposed to sewer environments. Similar to carbon steel, ductile iron surfaces
require attention to surface preparation to make the substrate suitable for topcoating. While ductile iron and carbon steel are both
ferrous metals, there are inherent metallurgical and manufacturing differences between the two metals that preclude ductile from
meeting certain parts of the SSPC/NACE surface preparation standards. But there is an industry consensus standard to provide
consistency in surface preparation: the National Association of Pipe Fabricators developed NAPF 500-03, Surface Preparation for
Ductile Iron Pipe and Fittings in Exposed Locations Receiving Special External Coatings and/or Special Internal Linings.
NAPF 500-03 contains several standards that can be selected based on whether the piece is a pipe or fitting, what surfaceinterior
or exterioris to be prepared, and what exposure conditions are expected (See box). For example, the method in 500-03-04,
Abrasive Blast CleaningExternal Pipe Surface, is selected if a ductile iron pipe exterior is scheduled to receive a high-performance
protective coating for heavy-duty exposures (Fig. 5). This standard is written specifically for exterior DI pipe because unlike carbon
steel surfaces, it is possible to overblast the external surfaces of DI pipe, causing slivering of the substrate.
NAPF 500-03 Standards
NAPF 500-03-01 Solvent Cleaning
NAPF 500-03-02 Hand Tool Cleaning
NAPF 500-03-03 Power Tool Cleaning
NAPF 500-03-04 Abrasive Blast Cleaning of Ductile Iron Pipe
NAPF 500-03-05 Abrasive Blast Cleaning of Cast Ductile Iron Fittings

Fig. 5: Ductile iron pipe exterior prepared in accordance with NAPF 500-03-04
External Pipe Surface
High-Velocity Jet Sewer Cleaning: No Flushing Matter
Sanitary sewer overflows caused by blocked or corroded pipes result in the release of as much as 10 billion gallons of raw sewage
yearly, according to the ASCE.1 Interruptions in sewer service are thought to be avoided by strict enforcement of sewer ordinances
and timely cleaning and inspection of sewer systems. This is commonly accomplished using what the sewer cleaning industry
refers to as high-velocity jet cleaning techniques (aka jetting or hydrocleaning) with pressures commonly 2,5003,000 psi (172207
bar; Fig. 9).
Jetting is a hydraulic cleaning method that removes grease buildup and solids debris by directing high velocities of
water against the interior pipe walls at various angles.
As the procedure connotes, hydrocleaning is extremely aggressive on
high-performance linings applied to sewer interceptors. For context, visualize a 2,500 psi pressure washer with the 0-degree tip (jet)
operating at a distance of 2 in. (51 mm) from the lined surface. The hydrodynamic forces (stresses) produced by high-velocity jet
cleaning are considered extreme by any measure.

Fig. 9: High-velocity jet cleaning a ceramic epoxy-lined ductile iron
An extremely durable, low pigment-volume-concentration (PVC) coating formulation with excellent adhesion is certainly a requisite
to withstand hydrocleaning. In the authors experience, certain specialty, ceramic-modified amine epoxies have demonstrated their
ability to withstand high-velocity jet cleaning.
Additionally, it may be said that the foundation for success the surface preparationplays a significant role. Assuming that the
coating achieves certain physical properties, what exactly allows this lining to withstand the hydrodynamic stresses? An objective
observer cannot rule out superior adhesion to the substrate. Further, it is well understood that a uniform, angular anchor profile
directly contributes to maximum adhesion. Therefore, the author submits that, in addition to a high-quality coating film, the ability to
withstand high-velocity jet cleaning is a function of the quality of surface preparationin this case, thorough rotary blasting of
carbon steel or ductile iron sewer pipe.
Conversely, the interior surface preparation of DI pipe is defined by the method in NAPF 500-03-04, Abrasive Blast Cleaning-
Internal Pipe Surface. The standard requires that the entire surface to be lined shall be uniformly struck by the blast media. And like
carbon steel pipe diameters of less than 4248 inches, the interior preparation can only be accomplished adequately by employing
rotary blasting equipment. Rotary blasting establishes a 90-degree angle of impact of the abrasive media to the interior surface to
ensure removal of the annealing oxide layer on DI pipe as well as to properly profile the surface for optimum adhesion (Fig. 6).
Otherwise, the annealing layer and other foreign contaminants may not be satisfactorily removed from the center section of the pipe,
causing potential delamination or undercutting of the coating film. Damage from overblasting to the interior DI pipe normally does
not occur.

Fig. 6: Rotary abrasive blasting the interior surfaces of ductile iron pipe
Ductile (Cast) Iron Fittings
NAPF 500-03-05, Surface Preparations Standard for Abrasive Blast Cleaning of Cast Ductile Iron Fitting, details four degrees of
abrasive blast cleaning. The selection depends on the type of service for which the DI fitting is intended and on the type of
coating/lining specified. (Typical abrasive blasting of DI fittings is shown in Fig. 7.) Briefly described, the four degrees of blast
cleaning are

Fig. 7: Uniformly abrasive blasting the interior surfaces of cast iron
fittings using an angular abrasive
Blast Clean #1: no staining;
Blast Clean #2: no more than 5% staining;
Blast Clean #3: no more than 33% of staining; and
Blast Clean #4: no limit on staining that may remain on the surface, provided it is tightly adherent.
The Blast Clean #1 condition is the recommended degree of cleanliness, with a minimum 3.0-mil (76.2-micron), angular anchor
profile for high-performance linings for severe wastewater environments (Fig. 8).

Fig. 8: Internally lining a ductile iron fitting following a Blast Clean#1
condition, 3.0 mils anchor profile
Stainless Steel
Stainless steel, a non-ferrous metal, is often selected as a construction material for sewer exposures because of its general
corrosion resistance to these environments. This corrosion resistance is primarily attributed to a thin, inert, chromium-rich,
transparent oxide film on the surfacethe result of a process called passivation. However, some types/grades of stainless steel
succumb to the aggressive nature of severe sewer environments and eventually corrode. A high-quality, high-performance lining
system with low permeation properties to sewer gases can significantly extend the service life of stainless steel in these
As with ferrous metals, surface preparation is the key to achieving optimum adhesionand ultimately protectionon stainless
steels. Stainless steels should be uniformly abrasive blasted in accordance with SSPC-SP 16, Brush-Off Blast Cleaning of Coated
and Uncoated Galvanized Steel, Stainless Steels, and Non-Ferrous Metals, again with a minimum 3.0-mil (76.2-micron),
anchor profile (Fig. 10). (Some manufacturers may require greater anchor profile.) Exercise care when selecting an abrasive
material to ensure that it will not embed into the substrate, potentially causing bi-metallic corrosion. Generally, it is preferable to use
only extremely hard mineral abrasives, such as garnet, aluminum oxide, and stainless steel grit, of suitable particle size. Also, given
the reactive nature of stainless steels, this author suggests top-coating as quickly as possible after surface preparation, generally
within 2 to 4 hours.

Fig. 10: Stainless steel surface following uniform abrasive blasting
Capital spending has not been keeping pace with the needs for wastewater infrastructure. While todays sewerage systems have
become more severe, municipal owners and engineers are expecting increasing performanceit is imperative these structures
meet their anticipated design expectancy. This tenet also applies to the protection offered by high-performance lining systems. To
maximize the service life of quality lining products it is critical that all substrates in the sewerage systems be prepared in the very
best manner. The use of industry consensus standards and prevailing industry practices are paramount to achieving optimum
protection of our critical wastewater assets with high-performance protective lining systems.
Editors Note: This article, by Vaughn ODea, is part of the series of Top Thinker articles appearing in JPCL throughout 2012. Mr.
ODea is one of 24 recipients of JPCLs 2012 Top Thinkers: The Clive Hare Honors, given for significant contributions to the
protective coatings industry over the past decade. The award is named for Clive Hare, a 20-year contributor toJPCL who shared his
encyclopedic knowledge of coatings in many forums. Professional profiles of all of the award winners, as well as an article by Clive
Hare, were published in a supplement to the August 2012 JPCL.
1. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 2009 Report Card for Americas Infrastructure March 2009.
2. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in
Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure, 2011.
3. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Clean Water & Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability
Policy,, Washington, D.C. (2010).
4. ODea, Vaughn, Understanding Biogenic Sulfide Corrosion Materials Performance, November 2007, pp. 3639.
5. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis,
EPA/816-R/02/020, Washington, D.C. (2002).
6. ODea, Vaughn, Caleb Parker, and Rmi Briand, Testing Permeation Resistance in Coatings for Wastewater
Service, Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL), September 2010 pp. 1628.
7. SSPC-SP 13/NACE No. 6 (latest revision), Surface Preparation of Concrete, (Pittsburgh, PA: SSPC, and Houston, TX:
8. NACE International (NACE) SP0892 (latest revision), Coatings and Linings over Concrete for Chemical Immersion and
Containment Service, Houston, TX.
9. International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) Technical Guideline No. 310.2, Selecting and Specifying Concrete Surface
Preparation for Sealers, Coatings, and Polymer Overlays, (Rosemont, IL: ICRI).
10. ODea, Vaughn, Protecting Wastewater Structures from Biogenic Sulfide Corrosion, JPCL (October 2007), pp. 5256.
11. SSPC-SP 5/NACE No. 1, White Metal Blast Cleaning, (Pittsburgh, PA: SSPC, and Houston, TX: NACE).
12. National Association of Pipe Fabricators (NAPF) 500-03, Surface Preparation Standard for Ductile Iron Pipe and Fittings
in Exposed Locations Receiving Special External Coatings and/or Special Internal Linings, Edmond, OK.
13. SSPC-SP 16, Brush-Off Blast Cleaning of Coated and Uncoated Galvanized Steel, Stainless Steels, and Non-Ferrous
Metals, (Pittsburgh, PA: SSPC)
14. National Association of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO), Jetter Code of Practice, (Owings Mills, MD: NASSCO).
15. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Collection System O&M Fact Sheet: Sewer Cleaning and Inspection,
EPA/832-F/99/031, Washington, D.C. (1999).
16. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Sewer Sediment and Control: A Management Practices Reference Guide,
EPA/600/R-04/059, Washington, D.C. (1999).
34.Influence of UHP Waterjetting on Shop-Primed Steel in New Construction, Part
From JPCL, August 2012
Philippe Le Calv
DCNS, France
Philippe Le Calv is responsible for R&D, paint technology, for DCNS, a military shipyard in France, where he has worked for 25 years. For the past 10
years, he and his co-workers have been involved with, and have written articles on, the use of UHP waterjetting as a surface preparation technology.
J ean-Pierre Pautasso
Direction Gnrale de lArmement, France
Nathalie Le Bozec
French Corrosion Institute, France
Surface preparation processes influence the performance and lifetime of coating systems applied to steel
substrates. The state of the steel surface immediately before painting is crucial. The main factors influencing
the performance are the presence of rust and mill scale; surface contaminants including dust, salts, and
grease; and surface profile. For aggressive environments such as marine atmospheres of C5M corrosivity
category and for high-performance coatings that require cleaner and/or rougher surfaces, blast cleaning is
often the preferred method of surface preparation. However, it is well known that abrasive cleaning can
produce a considerable amount of waste, mainly containing blasting media, old removed paint, and rust
products. As an alternative to abrasive cleaning for maintenance work or complete renovation, ultra-high-
pressure (UHP) waterjetting is becoming common as long as the performance of the coatings on steel
structures is not affected. UHP waterjetting technology has been described intensively in previous papers.
There are, however, questions about its suitability for new (naval) constructions.
Philippe Le Calv

Courtesy of DCNS.
Due to these questions, a project was started with the purpose of reinforcing the knowledge about the behavior of different paint
systems for highly corrosive marine environments (C5M) and, more particularly, for assessing UHP waterjetting performance in
relation to abrasive blasting on steel coated with a zinc-rich shop primer (ZRP).

All other images and figures are courtesy of the authors.
Courtesy of DCNS.
In the first stage of the study, the characterization of surfaces after UHP waterjetting of shop primed steel surfaces was reported in
the April/June 2011 issue of PCE as well as the May 2011 JPCL, and in the second part (reported in July/Sep 2011 issue of PCE
and September 2011 JPCL), the performance of seven paint systems applied on UHP (DHP4) treated ZRP-coated steel flat panels
and welded panels was studied in laboratory and field tests.
The results were compared with conventional abrasive blasted (Sa
2.5 MG) surfaces. It was concluded that UHP waterjetting was a promising technique for steel surface preparation within the scope
of new constructions (on ZRP-coated steel). The results showed behavior of UHP waterjetting comparable to standard surfaces
after abrasive blasting. Despite a slight difference in the roughness compared to abrasive blasting, coating performance did not
seem to be affected. However, some results remained inconclusive regarding welded panels as a consequence of inhomogeneous
weld area.
In this article, the authors describe the third and final part of the study, which involved testing three paint systems over UHP
waterjetted ZRP panels, including more representative welded panels, compared to conventional grit blast-treated panels.
Experimental Conditions
In this study, an effort was made to design an appropriate welded sample, including a mixed zone at the periphery of the weld seam
cleaned by UHP waterjetting to get a surface cleanliness DHP4. Partially cleaned ZRP-coated steel flat panels, treated with UHP to
get a DHP1 cleanliness, were also considered. These were compared to conventional blasted surface (Sa 2.5 MG). Three different
paint systems were applied on the various panel designs and roughnesses, and they were exposed to cyclic corrosion tests and
natural weathering.
Test Panels, Surface
Preparation, and Coating Test panels of DH36 steel, commonly used in naval constructions, with different surface preparations
representing the different practices used on a newbuild structure, were selected. As shown in Table 1, the steel plates had first been
grit blasted (metallic abrasives) to grade Sa 2.5 and coated with a zinc-rich shop primer (zinc silicate, 10-15 m) to create the initial
conditions (i.e., steelmaker delivery standard). Two designs of test panels were considered: flat panels (100 x 175 mm) and welded
panels (320 x 250 mm).

Description of Steel Samples
Test Piece
T1 T3
Steel Grade
Initial State
Cleaning up to Sa 2.5 (grit and shot mixed) + zinc rich primer (10-15 m)
Test Piece
Welded panel
(320 x 250 mm, 10-mm thick)
Flat panel
(175 x 100 mm, 5.5-
mm thick)
6-Month Natural
Yes Yes Yes
Surface Preparation Grit blasting
Sa 2.5 (ISO 8501-1) ; MG
(ISO 8503-1)
UHP waterjetting
DHP4: complete ZRP cleaning and oxide removal in the
mixed zone at weld area periphery
UHP waterjetting

DHP1: partial ZRP
The flat test pieces were then cleaned by UHP waterjetting on only one side, to treatment degree DHP1, light cleaning according to
NF T 35-520 standard (surface shall be free from oil, mud, grease, caking, poorly adhering former paint, poorly adhering rust and
mill scale, former coatings and any foreign matter. At this treatment degree, 70% of the surface is still partially covered by former
coatings). Details on the UHP waterjetting parameters are given in Table 2.

Selected UHP Waterjetting Parameters (According to NF T 35-520)
UHP Waterjetting Requirement NF T35 520 DHP4 DHP1
Test Piece Configuration Welded test pieces Flat test pieces
Cleaning Parameters Pressure: 2400 bars
Progression: 1 m/min
Distance: 50 mm
Rate: 13 l/min
Pressure: 1125 bars
Progression: 1.5 m/min
Distance : 70 mm
Rate: 17 l/min
The welded samples consisted of two panels assembled by conventional welding for ship construction. At the center of the welded
panels, a 120-mm-wide strip at right angles to the weld was machined, as shown in photographs in Fig. 1. Then, in order to mimic
shipyard conditions when the ZRP is depleted during construction phases, the welded panels were exposed outdoors for six months
in the shipyard at Lorient before secondary surface preparation and painting (The site is classified C2 on steel: corrosion rate, 195.8
+- 4.6 g/m
per year, i.e., 24.9 +-0.6 m/year).

Fig. 1: Photographs of the welded panels (A-D) as a function of surface preparation stages and flat
test panel DHP1 (E). (from left to right) Welded test piece before natural aging; Welded test piece
after outdoor exposure; Welded test piece after DHP4, OF1 UHP cleaning; Welded test piece after
grit blasting Sa 2.5; and Flat test piece DHP1 A B
Then, half of the panels were abrasive blasted to Sa 2.5 grade while the other half were cleaned by UHP waterjetting on one side to
get a surface cleanliness DHP4, OF1 according to the NF T 35-520 standard (surface shall be free from oil, mud, grease, caking,
poorly adhering former paint, poorly adhering rust and mill scale and any former coatings or foreign matter. The exposed steel must
be uniform and have an original metallic colour). Photographs of the different steps in the preparation of welded samples are
shown in Fig. 1.
The roughness of the different areas of the welded panels was measured after the UHP waterjetting (DHP4) and is summarized
in Table 3. It should be remembered that after abrasive blasting to Sa 2.5 MG, the measured roughness Ra ranged from 9 to 12 m
while the machined area roughness (after machining and before rusting) was from 0.3 to 0.7 m (Ra).

Surface Roughness of Pre-Rusted Welded Panel
Location on Welded Panel Ra (m)
Area 1: Machined steel (central section) 4.4 1.1
Area 2: ZRP DHP4 7.1 0.9
Area 3: Machined weld 6.4 1.9
Once cleaned by either UHP waterjetting or blasting, the flat and welded samples were painted using three different commercial
paint systems selected from the preliminary phase of this study.
As indicated in Table 4, two of them were based on an inhibiting
protection mechanism, while the other operated on the barrier effect.

Paint and Category Protection System
Primer Nature
Protection Category
Dry Film Thickness, m
Barrier Effect Inhibitor Effect
S1 X 350
S2 X 350
R X 240
Before testing, scribes down to the steel substrate were made using a scribing tool equipped with a rectangular blade of 0.5 mm. On
flat samples, a vertical scribe parallel to the longest side of 100 x 0.5 mm was made in compliance with the previous phase of the

For the welded test panel, several areas were considered, and, therefore, a scribe was made in each of the five areas being
considered (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Position of the scribes and pull-off test dollies on the welded test panel (dimensions are
given in mm)
Artificial Ageing Test and Field Test
The corrosion performance of the paint systems as a function of surface preparation was carried out in the laboratory according to
the C5M test cycle described in Fig. 3, a test that was implemented during the study preliminary phase.
The duration of the test
was 4,200 hours.

Fig. 3: Basic artificial weathering cycle used in the study
Outdoor exposure was carried out at the marine site at Brest (classified C5M on steel, according to ISO 9223). Two duplicate
samples per system, except abrasive-blasted welded samples, were exposed at 45 degrees facing south. The minimum duration of
the test will be four years with intermediate inspections, and, at the time of writing this article, two years evaluations were available.
Visual Assessment
ISO 4628-2 to -6 standards have been used to assess paint defects, such as blistering, rusting, cracking, and chalking. For
delamination measurement from the scribes, two methods have been used as described and illustrated in Fig. 4.

Fig. 4: Assessment of scribe creep.
Left: M1=(V-scribe width)/2 This measurement method has
been used for intermediate measurements in particular.
Right: M4=(C-scribe)/2 where C = Cn/n This measurement
has been used after removal of the coating once C5M test
was completed.
Pull-Off Adhesion Test
The pull-off adhesion tests were carried out according to ISO 4624 standard using a hydraulic pull-off device on unexposed
references and after completion of the C5M cycle. Twenty-millimeter diameter dollies glued to the coating were used, and the tests
were carried out in laboratory conditions (23.8 C 45.1% RH). Figure 2 indicates the position of the dollies as a function of the area
on the welded test pieces.
Assessment Requirements
For accelerated corrosion tests, the assessment of test pieces cleaned by UHP waterjetting was carried out according to the
acceptance requirements defined in ISO 20340 (Table 5) and compared to abrasive blasting performance.

Assessment Criteria According to ISO 20340
Criteria Standard Acceptance Thresholds Established at the End of the Ageing Cycle (ISO 20340)
Defects before and
after aging
ISO 4628-
ISO 4628-
0 (S0)
Ri 0
around the scribe
ISO 4628-
Max < 8 mm for the coating system with zinc-free primer
Adhesion before C5M
weathering test
ISO 4624
Minimum pull-off test value: 4 MPa for the coating system with zinc-free primer No adhesion
defect between the substrate and the first layer except if pull-off values exceed or equal 5
Adhesion after C5M ISO 4624 Minimum pull-off test value=50% of the initial value with a minimum value of 2 MPa No
weathering test adhesion defect between the substrate and the first layer except if pull-off values exceed or
equal 5 MPa
Cyclic Corrosion Test C5M
Flat test panels: No degradation such as blistering, rusting, cracking, and chalking was observed on any of the paint systems.
However, a loss of brightness was seen on S2 paint system. Visible degradations for all test pieces were red rust runs from the
Regarding flat test panels of DHP1 surface preparation grade, a variable degree of creep from the scribe line was observed with the
different paint systems, as shown in Fig. 5. Thus, paint system S1 was clearly less efficient than the other two systems, S2 and R.
This has already been observed in a previous study where the same system (except for the first layer) was tested.
For the other
two paint systems (S2 and R), the results were comparable between UHP-treated DPH4 and grit-blasted Sa 2.5 surface states.

Fig. 5: Delamination from the scribes on flat test pieces after 6 months of C5M
Paint system adhesion results are summarized in Table 6. These show satisfactory behavior of paint systems S2 and R on a ZRP
UHP-waterjetted DHP1 surface state. The behavior was the same as for the abrasive-blasted surface (data from a previous study),
indicating no alteration of the coating performance on ZRP completely (DHP4) or partially (DHP1) cleaned steel surfaces.
Nevertheless, the results highlighted the poor behavior of system 1.

Pull-Off Test Values on Flat Samples after Six Months of C5M Cycle Corrosion Test*
Paint System Pull-Off Test Value, MPa
T1 (Sa 2.5) T3 (DHP1)
S1 15.71.1 11.02.3
S2 12.23.2 14.61.2
R 12.81.9 9.41.9
*T1: Sa 2.5, T3: DHP1. Data on T1 surface state from Ref 10
Welded test panels: As with the flat test panels, no degradation such as blistering, rusting, cracking, and chalking was observed on
any of the paint systems. Only corrosion from the scribes was present.Figure 6 (p. 50) presents the scribe creep measured on the
welded test panels after six months of C5M test for both Sa 2.5 abrasive-blasted surface (T1) and DHP4 UHP-treated samples (T3).
As mentioned in the experimental section regarding the design of the welded samples, five scribe lines were applied to assess the
coating performance on the surface properties. From the results, abrasive blasting gives satisfactory behavior whatever the
locations on the welded sample, in particular when considering systems S2 and R. It is interesting to note that the weld area
periphery (scribes 2 and 5) or machined area (scribe 3, 4, and 5) are not significantly more affected than the reference surface
(scribe 1).

Fig. 6: Influence of surface preparation (left: abrasive blasting Sa2.5 - T1; right: UHP watterjetting DHP4 T3) of
welded test pieces on the delamination from the scribes after 6 months of C5M cycle test. The labels 1 to 5 refer to the
5 scribes as shown on the scheme in the right-hand graph.
This test also clearly highlights the difference in behavior between the three paint systems applied on abrasive-blasted samples.
Only system S1 did not satisfy the aging resistance criteria defined in Table 5. Indeed, the average scribe creep after coating
removal of the five scribes gives the following values per paint system: S1 = 11 mm; S2 = 7.8 mm; S3 = 2.2 mm.
Regarding UHP-waterjetted (DHP4) samples, system S1 again gave unsatisfactory results, even worse than the abrasive-blasted
surface. Nevertheless, for the two other paint systems, S2 and R, there was no significant difference between the two surface
preparation modes. The average scribe creep after coating removal of the five scribes was the following: S1=17.4 mm; S2=7.6 mm;
S3=3 mm. It should be noted, however, that on paint system S2, an unsatisfactory value of scribe creep was measured at scribe 2,
located on the as-fabricated weld area with an average value of 13 mm. This may be observed on the photographs in Fig. 7. They
also clearly highlight the degree and extent of corrosion upon the surface state, with an obvious remarkable behavior of the UHP
DHP4 machined area in the center of the samples.

Fig. 7: Photographs of test panels S2T3 (DHP4) after six months of C5M test (left): before coating
removal around the scribe, (center): details of scribe 3 and (right): after coating removal.
Paint system R presented a marked and constant behavior regardless of the scribe location, whereas extremely different roughness
and surface profile levels were tested. The scribe creep was far below the requirements (<8 mm).
As with the flat samples, adhesion properties were investigated in accordance to ISO 4624 in different areas of the welded panels,
which differ in their surface roughness and profile. These areas were labelled as follows: area 1 corresponds to machined steel
surface, area 2 to ZRP-coated steel surface (not machined) and area 3 to machined welded area. The adhesion was also
investigated in the vicinity of the as-fabricated weld (dollies 6 and 7 in Fig. 2). However, due to the deformation of the weld, the
results were very scattered and thus not conclusive. However, for the other locations on the test panels, the results indicated no
adhesive failure. Figure 8 presents the adhesion strength as a function of the paint system and surface preparation, where
satisfactory results can be observed regardless of the paint system and the surface roughness and cleanliness. In particular, it is
interesting to note that despite the low roughness (Ra 4.4 m) obtained on the UHP-waterjetted (DHP4) pre-rusted machined area
(central section), adhesion properties comparable to the abrasive-blasted surface can be seen. This result obviously underlines the
importance of the surface cleanliness level achieved after UHP waterjetting to level DHP4.

Fig. 8: Influence of surface preparation on coating adhesion before and after six months of C5M corrosion test for
paint system (left): S1, (center): S2 and (right): R. Surface state: T3=UHP DHP4, T1=abrasive blasting Sa 2.5.
The different tests carried out on the welded test pieces, having roughness and surface profile levels not covered by any standards,
gave the following results.
For all tested configurations, including test piece types and UHP waterjetting cleaning requirement (DHP4), no blistering,
rusting, cracking, or chalking defects were observed. These results constituted an important point demonstrating that the
relative level of performance of the tested paint systems could be judged only by the corrosion creep at the scribe and
Paint system 1 did not meet the requirement of ISO 20340 of <8 mm creep, and this occurred after only a 4.5-month
aging on Sa 2.5. Systems S2 and R showed satisfactory behavior. S2 had results close to the value of 8 mm and on
average below the requirement. All these remarks are valid for all scribe locations on the welded test piece.
Pull-off adhesion tests in seven different locations revealed variations in system behavior according to the different
surface profiles. However, due to the study conditions, the adhesion results do not make it possible to define the
roughness and the proximity to the weld area that produce a weak point for tested systems. The behavior of test pieces
cleaned with the UHP waterjetting method was rather similar to that obtained after abrasive blasting (Sa 2.5), where all
surface irregularities have been evened-out by abrasive blasting.
Such behavior confirms the conclusions of the previous study and thus gives credibility to the thesis that surface cleanliness quality
level associated with a roughness level is a key element to guarantee the performance of paint systems. The cleanliness level
required is indeed obtained using UHP waterjetting. Specific work on required roughness levels will be undertaken in the ongoing
program, Anticor.
Natural Aging
After 2 years of natural aging in a marine atmosphere, the inspection revealed no blistering and rusting defectsonly delamination
from the scribe line as shown in Fig. 9, which presents the maximum scribe creep on flat and welded samples. In good agreement
with the results from the accelerated corrosion test, more severe breakdown was generally observed on paint system S1 for both
DHP1 and DHP4 surfaces, compared to systems S2 and R. With paint system 1, increased scribe creep was formed with ZRP-
coated steel DHP4 (scribe 1 and 3) in comparison to machined surface (scribe 4 and 5). The extent of scribe creep was between 1
and 2 mm for paint system 2 with no major difference upon the surface roughness. The same observation may be drawn for paint
system R with however less scribe creep (below 1 mm). Thus, these observations are quite consistent with artificial aging trends
and demonstrate the necessity to carry out specific additional work on paint system roughness and stability.

Fig. 9: Influence of surface preparation (top: flat test panels UHP-DHP1; bottom: welded test panels
UHP DHP4) on the delamination from the scribes after 24 months of exposure in marine
The aims of the study were to assess the performance of three different coating systems applied on UHP-treated zinc-rich shop
primer-coated steel (in new construction configurations) by considering different surface states (roughness and cleanliness DHP1
and DHP4). Thus, in addition to conventional flat panels, welded panels were included to represent fabricated and machined welded
areas. The results were compared with classical grit blasted Sa 2.5 surfaces. A cyclic corrosion test based on C5M corrosivity was
carried out to evaluate the performance of the coatings. The results were compared to field data obtained on a natural aging site
that qualified for a C5M corrosivity category.
From the results, the following conclusions were drawn:
Flat panels, DHP1 cleaning: On the basis of corrosion from scribe and pull-off adhesion results, UHP waterjetting on ZRP
was efficient for S2 and R paint systems, showing behavior comparable to abrasive blasting. Both ZRP complete (DHP4)
or partial (DHP1) cleaning generated satisfactory results.
Welded panels, DHP4 cleaning: For paint systems S2 and R, UHP waterjetting (DHP4) gives behavior comparable to that
of conventional abrasive blasting on a surface, with an optimized performance in the low roughness area (machined area
and machined weld).
Comparable observations may be drawn from 24 months of natural aging in a marine C5M atmosphere. The results will, however,
be consolidated after longer exposure durations in the coming years.
The conclusions were in good agreement with a previous study for maintenance situations where a reinforcement of the surface
cleanliness obtained after UHP waterjetting in relation to the abrasive blasting was noticed. One of the major advantages of UHP
waterjetting is the complete removal of non-visible contaminations. They include water-soluble substances such as salts (chlorides,
sulphates, soluble iron oxides); alkaline residuals (from lyes); welding fume deposits; and water-insoluble matter such as oils,
greases, silicones, dust, and abrasive material inclusions. This good performance level was obtained in previous investigations with
controlled flash rusting levels (<1 g/m
) where the surface cleanliness level was found to be a key parameter in the paint durability.6
It is undeniable that this approach can include an important notion relative to roughness. Within this scope, a new study has begun,
taking into account both surface preparation types and associated cleanliness levels, particularly reached using UHP waterjetting.
Editors Note: This article, by Philippe Le Calv and his co-authors, is part of the series of Top Thinker articles appearing
in JPCL throughout 2012. Mr. Le Calv is a recipient of JPCLs 2012 Top Thinkers: The Clive Hare Honors. Mr. Le Calvs profile
and professional profiles of all of the award winners, as well as an article by Clive Hare, appear in the accompanying supplement to
the August 2012 JPCL.

This article is based on a presentation given at EuroCorr 2011, Stockholm, Sweden. Parts 1 and 2 were also given earlier: Part 1
was also published in the April/June 2011 PCE and the May 2011JPCL; Part 2 was also published in the July/September
2011 PCE and the September 2011 JPCL.
1. A. Momber, Hydroblasting & Coating of Steel Structures, 2003 Elsevier.
2. T. Mabrouki, A. Cornier, O. Hafiz, K. Raissi, Mcanique & Industries, 5 (2004) 11.
3. P. Le Calv, P. Meunier P, J.-M. Lacam, Protective Coatings Europe, 19 (9) (2002) 22.
4. P. Le Calv, P. Meunier P, J.-M. Lacam, Protective Coatings Europe, 19 (9) (2002) 22.
5. P. Le Calv, P. Meunier, J.-M. Lacam, J. Protective Coatings & Linings, 20 (1) (2003) 48.
6. P. Le Calv, J. Protective Coatings & Linings, volume 24 no. 8 (August 2007) 13.
7. M. Islam, W. McGaulley, M. Adams, Analitical, WJTA American Waterjet Conference, August 21-25 2005. Houston,
8. D. Ward. CORROSION/08, Paper 08003, New Orleans, NACE (2008).
9. P. Le Calv, J.-P. Pautasso, N. Le Bozec, Paper 8369, Eurocorr09, September 6-10, 2009, Nice, France.
10. P. Le Calv, J.-P. Pautasso, N. Le Bozec, Paper 8371, Eurocorr09, September 6-10, 2009, Nice, France.
11. P. Le Calv, J.-M. Lacam, N. Le Bozec, Protective Coatings Europe, 10(7), (2005) 29.
35.On removing uncured coatings without blasting
From JPCL, July 2012
How do you remove all traces of an uncured internal coating from a tank when abrasive blasting is not
an option?
From David Grove Shaw Nuclear Power Services
One key to removing uncured coatings is to keep in mind that if the material can be changed into a physical state where it is no
longer sticky on the substrate, then it will be easier to remove. In many cases, high heat will make this happen, and there are a
number to tools that will do this. Of course, a second surface preparation will still be required for reapplication. All appropriate
measures to protect workers and the environment need to be followed.
From Murjan Murjan Sirte Oil
Assuming all requirements for protecting workers and the environment are in place, the first thing to do is to solvent clean and
abrade the old coating. Then, use SSPC-SP 3, power tool cleaning. After that, blow down and coat the surface.
From J eremi Day Allphaz Inspection Services
Unfortunately, a strong solvent such as MEK must be used. Two drawbacks come with this solution.
One drawback is that some strong solvents pose safety or health hazards to the crew. Workers should wear respiratory protection,
appropriate work suits, double eye protection, chemical-resistant gloves, and all other appropriate gear, depending on the structure,
solvent, and environment. The MSDS should include such information about equipment to protect workers.
The other drawback is that workers must use white rags, which cost more. The dye in colored rags will transfer to the substrate,
presenting yet another problem.
The crew will have to use a lot of rags and solvent. If not, as the rags and solvent pick up the uncured coating, it will transfer back
onto the substrate.
Also, brushes should be used to remove the uncured coating from the crevices of the weld seams. In my experience, this is the best
way to remove all traces of the coating without blasting.
The only other solution I can think of is to wash with UHP. Depending on the coating, this may cause more problems.
From J osh Inklovich Total Coating Solutions
This is a tricky problem. I have had to do this on numerous occasions when an experienced coating applicator neglected to add
the part Bs to the part As in a 1:1 mix product. I can only advise based on what we have done.
First, we used scrapers to remove as much uncured coating as possible. Scoop it, and throw it in a bucket.
Second, we did a solvent wipe on the remaining material. Some people might think first of using MEK. My suggestion is to use the
solvent recommended by the manufacturer, which is what we did. Different coatings more fully dissolve in different solvents. We
used stiff bristle brushes and ample solvent to get the uncured coating out of the profile. We also used protective measures
appropriate for a confined space. For instance, we utilized air moving equipment and sniffers to detect levels of vapors. Our men
wore tyvek suits, spark-resistant foot covering, and spark-resistant (i.e., non-metallic) tools during this entire operation. Goggles and
gloves and supplied-air, full-face respirators were used.
Third, we used lint-free, solvent-soaked rags to mop up the remaining material. We cleaned until the rags were clean after wiping.
Fourth, we reblasted everything with a suitable abrasive each time this problem was encountered (3 times in 12 years).
But the question about removing the coating creates another issue. If you cant blast, how are you going to prepare the cleaned
steel for relining?
Editors Note: Problem Solving Forum questions are posted on the free daily electronic newsletter, PaintSquare News, on
behalf of JPCL. Responses are selected and edited to conform to JPCL style. To subscribe to PaintSquare News, go
36.Six Key Points You Should Know about Concrete Surface Preparation before
Coating Application
From JPCL, July 2012
Fred Goodwin
BASF Construction Chemicals
Fred Goodwin is a fellow scientist in research and development at BASF Construction Chemicals LLC (Cleveland, OH). He has 30 years of experience
in the construction chemicals industry and is an active member of SSPC, ICRI, ASTM, ACI, SDC, NACE, and ISO. Goodwin is a chair on the ICRI
Materials and Methods, the ACI 364 Rehabilitation, and the ASTM C09.68 Volume Change Committees. Goodwin and co-author Gail Winterbottom
won a JPCLs Editors Award for their January 2005 JPCL article, Concrete Cracks: Causes, Correcting, and Coatings. Goodwin received
a JPCL Top Thinker award this year.
Concrete is perceived as a common, hard, durable, and relatively unexciting material surrounding us in our
homes, highways, bridges, airports, workspace, sewers, mines, and monuments. Coating concrete is the
most common method to enhance its appearance and improve its durability. Proper surface preparation is
one of the most important stages in achieving successful coating installation. The most important factors in
surface preparation of concrete are:
project objectives,
concrete surface quality,
compatibility of the surface preparation with job site conditions and coating system,
contamination of the concrete,
moisture content and movement in the concrete, and
concrete surface profile.
Project Objectives
The project objectives must be determined; otherwise, they can become a moving target. These include the substrate conditions,
coating requirements, owner requirements, and application conditions, all of which must be well thought out together. Define with
the owner and other interested parties what success means for this project. Mockups are very helpful in deciding what can be done
and can serve as a test bed for different techniques, materials, and cost vs. performance results. Decide in advance what happens if
the results are less than expectedwho pays, what penalties are assessed, and who can arbitrate disputes? Also, agreement
needs to be reached about the project tolerables, such as how to mitigate the side effects of the construction process (e.g., noise,
dust, vibration, fumes); what to do with debris (especially if a hazardous material); what, if any, utilities (power, ventilation, water,
etc.) are available for the needed procedures; what kind of protection from weather and traffic is possible for the project area; and
how will the environment around the project be protected from the construction activity.

Concrete Surface Quality
Not all concrete is created equal. With varying degrees of success, coatings are applied to all types of concrete, such as green
fresh concrete, fully cured virgin concrete, contaminated concrete, and previously coated concrete. Concretes appearance doesnt
change much, but the properties can vary widely based on the water-to-cement ratio, aggregates, admixtures, curing, age,
orientation, service history, and what is and has been in contact with the concrete. The concretes exposure to different conditions
can also influence the extent of surface preparation and the techniques. Concrete can be oriented horizontally both on- and above-
grade, sloped, vertically, and overhead. Different surface preparation techniques are more suitable for different orientations. ACI
201.1, 201.2, 311.1, and 364.1 are especially useful for evaluating concrete to receive coatings. SSPC-SP 13/NACE 6 is also a
useful reference for characterizing the concrete surface and qualifying the prepared surface (Table 1 and 2). Cracks must also be
addressed, both to prevent further cracking in the concrete as well as reflective cracking in the coating system (ACI 224.1).

Concrete Finishes Producing Different Profiles, Strength, and Issues*
Method Profile Porosity
Formed concrete Smooth to medium Low to medium Medium Voids, protrusions, release agents
Wood float Medium Medium Medium
Metal trowel Smooth Low High
Power trowel Smooth Very low High Very dense
Broom finish Coarse to very coarse Medium Medium
Sacking Smooth Low to medium Low to high
Weak layer if not properly cured
Stoning Smooth to medium Low to medium Low to high
Weak layer if not properly cured
Concrete block Coarse to very coarse Very high Medium Pinholes
Very coarse Medium Medium Too rough for thin coatings
* From SSPC-SP 13/NACE No. 6
These surface properties are based on similiar concrete mix, placement, and vibration and are prior to surface
Strength depends on application and cure.
Shotcrete may be refinished after placement, which would change the surface properties shown in this table.

Suggested Performance Tests for Concrete Following Surface Preparation*
Property Test Method Light Service
Servere Service

Surface tensile strength See Paragraph A1.6 1.4 MPa (200 psi) min. 2.1 MPa (300 psi) min.
Surface profile Visual comparison Fine (150) abrasive paper min. Coarse (60) abrasive paper min.
Surface cleanliness Visible dust No significant dust No significant dust
Residual contaminants Water drop 0 contact angle 0 contact angle
pH ASTM D 4262 (pH of rinse water) -1, +2
(pH of rinse water) -1, +2

Moisture content
ASTM D 4263 No visible moisture No visible moisture
Moisture content
ASTM D 1869 15 g/24 hr/m
(3 lb/24 hr/ 1,000 ft
15 g/24 hr/m
(3 lb/24 hr/ 1,000
Moisture content
ASTM D 2170 80% max. 80% max.
*From Table 1 in SSPC-SP 13/NACE No. 6
Light service refers to surfaces and coatings that have minimal exposure to traffic, chemicals, and changes in temperature.
Servere service refers to surfaces and coatings that have significant exposure to traffic, chemicals, and/or changes in
The acceptance criterion for ASTM D 4262 is as follows: The pH readings following the final rinse shall not be more than 1.0
lower or 2.0 higher than the pH of the rinse water (tested at the beginning and end of the final rinse cycle) unless otherwise
Any one of these three moisture content test methods is acceptable.
Surface Preparation and Coating System Compatibility
Each coating type requires minimum substrate conditions to assure compatibility. Sealers require surface preparation mainly to
promote penetration of the concrete, as any visible defects or profile will be unaffected by the sealer. Surface polishing is an
enhancement for concrete surfaces that are usually either integrally colored or then stained and sealed. Thin-film coatings may be
formulated to mask very minor defects and surface discolorations. Thicker coatings such as self-leveling materials, polymer
overlays, toppings, and high-build coatings have much in common with thin-film coatings regarding the relationship between surface
profile and dry film thickness, moisture sensitivity, and wear; however, the thicker coating layer can fill larger defects, allow non-skid
surfaces through surface texture, and provide longer service life than materials applied in thinner layers. Existing cracks will tend to
telegraph through an applied coating. The use of impact, pulverization, and other mechanical methods of surface preparation can
cause bruising or microcracking, creating a surface layer weakened by partially interconnected cracks in the concrete. It is very
unlikely that any coating system will have satisfactory performance over a bruised substrate. Surface preparation methods are
described in Table 3. Primers can also be considered as a form of surface conditioning following surface preparation: They bridge
dissimilar materials (i.e., concrete and coating); seal the substrate from out-gassing (i.e., the emission of gas or vapor from the
substrate usually due to displacement from the absorption of the coating or temperature changes in the substrate); encapsulate
dust; and increase coating coverage by limiting the absorption of the liquid from the coating.
One description for concrete is a hard, wet sponge. Like a sponge, concrete can have residual contaminants from previous
treatments or absorb contaminants from the environment that can inhibit bond, reduce durability, and create other problems with
applied coatings. Residual contaminants include incidental dust, form release transfer, curing compounds, existing membranes,
adhesives, water repellants, and coatings. Residual contaminants, usually present on the surface, can be removed during surface
preparation; however, elastomeric materials may respond poorly to some types of surface preparation such as grinding, shot
blasting, and abrasive blasting.
Absorbed contaminants can be carbonation, water-soluble materials, and solvent-soluble materials such as oils that all penetrate
the concrete and may chemically react to create additional issues in the concrete. A listing of the effects of many contaminants can
be found in ACI 515.1R or PCA IS001, but individual consideration of the consequences of the contamination must be given,
depending on the nature of the contaminant, depth of penetration, and any reactions that may have occurred. If deleterious
materials are found to interfere with the coating system, many can be removed by excavating the concrete during surface
preparation to their penetration depth.
Moisture Content and Movement in the Concrete
Moisture in concrete can come from many sources, such as the water used for placing or curing the concrete, maintenance or
usage (e.g., washing a concrete floor or process water leaks), exterior infiltration from poor drainage or weather protection, or even
the selected method of surface preparation (Table 3). For some cementitious materials, moisture in the concrete is not a problem,
and bonding performance actually can be improved using a saturated surface dry (SSD) concrete substrate. For moisture-sensitive
materials, drier concrete is better. Achieving sufficiently low moisture emissions is often one of the greatest difficulties encountered
with concrete substrates and requires evaluation and considerations discussed in ACI 302.2 and elsewhere (Kanare), but no
completely satisfactory solution exists for all situations. ICRI has a technician certification program for several tests of moisture in

Summary of Surface Preparation Methods, Applicability, Equipment, Mechanisms and Resulting Surface Texture and CSP
Method Equipment Mechanism Surface Texture Achieved CSP
Detergent Scrubbing Mop and Pail, Floor
Emulsification No change 0-1
Low Pressure Water
Pressure Washer Emulsification (if soap
in water), Erosion (of
loose particles)
Removal of loose debris 0-1
Acid Etching Acid, Mixing,
Neutralizing Agent
Reaction Light profile, removal of concrete paste,
Dry Grinding Dry Grinder Erosion Smooth surface, dust, debris to remove, pattern 1-3
Wet Grinding Wet Grinder Erosion Wet, smooth surface, slurry, debris to remove,
Dry Abrasive Blasting Dry Sand Blast Pulverization, Erosion,
Expansive Pressure
Dusty substrate, light profile (depending on
media, size, pressure, time) debris to remove
Recuperative Abrasive
Vacuum Recovery
Sand Blasting
Pulverization, Erosion,
Expansive Pressure
Light profile (depending on media, size,
pressure, time)
Wet Abrasive Blasting Wet Sand Blast Pulverization, Erosion,
Expansive Pressure
Wet substrate, light profile (depending on
media, size, pressure, time) debris and slurry to
Shot Blasting Shot Blast Unit Pulverization, Impact
Dust free substrate, some pattern, depth
dependent on shot size, sustrate hardness,
Scarifying Scarifier Impact Dusty substrate with triated pattern, bruising
likely, debris to remove
Needle Scaling Needle Scaler Impact Similar to shot blasting, striated pattern, debris
to remove
Scabbling Scabbler Impact Dusty substrate, irregular pattern, fractured
aggregate, bruising likely, debris to remove
Hydroblasting, Water
High- and Ultra-
High- Pressure
Water Blast
Erosion, Expansive
Saturated substrate, debris to remove, profile
dependent on substrate hardness, equipment,
pressure, time
Flame Blasting Special Oxy-
acetylene Torch,
Saturated Substrate
Expansive Pressure,
Irregular chipped surface, hot, charred debris to
remove, bruising possible
Rotomilling Rotomiller Impact Dusty substrate (unless water used to suppress
dust), grooving, tool marks, fractured
aggregate, bruising likely
Liquid Surface Etchant Specialty Chemical,
Fresh Concrete
Reaction Exposed aggregate, green wet concrete with
debris to remove using pressure wash, curing
still required, no bruising, depth dependent on
retarder chemistry, curing rate, length of
*CSP (Concrete Surface Profile) profile range according to ICRI 310.2 (Goodwin)
Different surface preparation methods produce a wide range of profiles, best defined by ICRI 310.2 Concrete Surface Profile (CSP)
replica chips. Achieving bond to smooth surfaces is usually more difficult than to textured surfaces. Rougher surfaces have greater
surface area, will tend to hide defects, but require higher build coatings with lower coverage rates. Usually, a particular coating
system will specify the required profile. ASTM D7682-10 is a new test method that produces a permanent replica of the concrete
surface, which can then be compared to visual profile standards (e.g., ICRI CSPs) or evaluated quantitatively for profile depth.
When concrete is the substrate and the coating is what is visible, the difference between success and failure lies in between.
Concrete is a durable material, and coatings can help maintain and in some cases improve that durability. To achieve that purpose,
the concrete must be sound, repairs must be performed as necessary, the surface must be properly prepared, the appropriate
coating must be selected, and the coating system must be correctly installed. Surface preparation is one of the most important and
frequently neglected factors in achieving successful coating of concrete.
Sources Consulted
ACI 201.1R-08, Guide for Conducting a Visual Inspection of Concrete in Service, 2008, ACI International, Farmington Hills, MI.
ACI 201.2R-08, Guide to Durable Concrete, 2008, ACI International, Farmington Hills, MI.
ACI 311.1-R07 ACI SP-2(07), Manual of Concrete Inspection, 2007, ACI International, Farmington Hills, MI.
ACI 364.1R-07, Guide for Evaluation of Concrete Structures before Rehabilitation, 2007, ACI International, Farmington Hills, MI.
SSPC-SP 13/NACE No. 6, Surface Preparation of Concrete, 2003, The Society for Protective Coatings, Pittsburgh, PA.
ACI 224.1R-07, Causes, Evaluation, and Repair of Cracks in Concrete Structures, 2007, ACI International, Farmington Hills, MI.
ICRI No. 310.21997, Selecting and Specifying Concrete Surface Preparation for Sealers, Coatings, and Polymer Overlays
(formerly No. 03732), 1997, International Concrete Repair Institute, Des Plaines, IL.
Goodwin, F., An Overview of Preparing Concrete for Coatings; What to Ask, What to Do, and Where to Find Help, JPCL May
2009, pp. 40-48.
ACI 515.1R-79 (reapproved 1985), Guide to the Use of Waterproofing, Dampproofing, Protective, and Decorative Barrier Systems
for Concrete, HIS Services,
PCA IS001, Effects of Substances on Concrete and Guide to Protective Treatment, 2007, Portland Cement Assoc., Skokie, IL. ACI
302.2R-06, Guide for Concrete Slabs that Receive Moisture-Sensitive Flooring Materials, 2006, ACI International, Farmington Hills,
Kanare, H. M., Concrete Floors and Moisture, 2005, Portland Cement Assoc., Skokie, IL.
ASTM D7682-10, Standard Test Method for Replication and Measurement of Concrete Surface Profiles Using Replica Putty, 2007,
ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA.
37.Removing coal tar epoxies
From JPCL, November 2011
What is the preferred method to remove 25-year-old coal tar epoxy from a carbon steel tank in order to
reline it?
From Doug DeClerck
The answer depends on whether the coating is a "hot enamel" coal tar or a conventional coal tar epoxy. If the coating is a hot
enamel, then it probably was dumped out and mopped on, so it could be extremely thick (1/4 in. or more). It will get quite sticky in
hot weather. The best approach is to do the work in cold weather, chip off the material, and then abrasive blast clean.
If it is a conventional coal tar epoxy and is under 30 mils, then abrasive blast cleaning out of the gates should work. It may take
more abrasive than you think, so plan accordingly. If it is a conventional coal tar epoxy and is thicker than 30 mils, approach the
work like a hot enamel removal. In any case, protect the workers. The dust can be very aggressive. Workers will need respiratory
protection as well as protection against skin contact.
From Vikraman Govindraj
Rigmetals L.L.C
Because its a 25-year-old coal tar, do the preparation in three steps. First, chip and hammer to remove the old rust. Second, sweep
blast to open the face of paint. Third, blast with new garnet to achieve the required grade. This process will be time consuming but
will give good results and safe work.
From Jesse Chasteen
Schriener Construction
If the coal tar was applied in the state-of-the-art fashion available 25 years ago, the best way is to protect your crew first. Then, send
them in with air scrapers and pull off as much of the bulk material as possible before you start abrasive blasting to the required
specification. The coal tar will range from 20 mils to greater than 200 mils on this, I would bet. Skin protection and air changes are
the key to worker comfort and protection because the removal of this coating has got to be in the top three for miserable.
From Gary Peterson
Blason Industries
Chip the coal tar away with either air tools or electric ones. Abrasive blast the walls, and shot blast the floors using steel shot mixed
with grit.
From Lee Edelman
CW Technical
Abrasive blasting or UHP waterjetting can be used. Blast media selection is important if abrasive blasting is selected. If waterjetting
is selected, depending on the thickness of the coal tar, pressures can range from 30,000 psi to 50,000 psi to get a WJ2 surface
condition. A dehumidification unit will help if the process is done during the winter. Proper personal protective equipment and
confined spaces permits or certifications will be required.
Editors Note: The above Problem Solving Forum (PSF) question was posted on the free daily electronic newsletter,
PaintSquare News (PSN), on behalf of JPCL. PSF responses submitted through PSN as well as those sent directly
to JPCL are selected and edited to conform to JPCL style and space limitations. Send questions and answers to Karen
Kapsanis, editor, JPCL,

38.How Coatings Perform over Waterjetting in New Construction
From JPCL, September 2011
How Coatings Perform over Waterjetting in New Construction
As a follow-up to their May 2011 J PCLreport on waterjetted
surfaces in new construction, the authors summarize results of
coating performance over waterjetted surfaces.
Philippe Le Calv, DCNS
J ean-Pierre Pautasso
Direction Gnrale pour lArmement, France
Nathalie Le Bozec
French Corrosion Institute, France
In the naval industry, especially for new construction, conventional surface preparation by abrasive cleaning is becoming more and
more costly because of environmental regulations that require collection and disposal of the spent abrasive and paint debris.
Surface preparation processes influence the performance and lifetime of coating systems applied to steel substrates. Thus, the state
of the steel surface immediately before painting is crucial. The main factors influencing the performance are the presence of rust
and mill scale; surface contaminants including dust, salts and grease; and surface profile. For aggressive environments such as
marine atmospheres of C5M corrosivity category and high-performance coatings that require cleaner and/or rougher surfaces, blast
cleaning is often preferred (see ISO 8501-1 or SSPC-VIS 1). It is well known that surface preparation using abrasive cleaning in
particular can produce a considerable amount of waste, mainly containing blasting media, paint debris, and rust products.
It is desirable to replace abrasive blasting with a technique that creates less waste in the environment. Among the alternative
methods, UHP waterjetting appears to be the most promising one.
Ultra high-pressure (UHP) waterjetting may be a promising strategy for surface preparation as long as the performance of the
coatings on steel structures is not adversely affected. UHP waterjetting technology has been described intensively in previous
and the surface quality of steel substrates prepared by UHP waterjetting has been characterized in terms such as flash
rust, salt contaminants, and surface roughness. The influence of these characteristics on coating performance, as studied with
accelerated corrosion tests and field exposures, has been reported.

UHP waterjetting has become widely used for maintenance; there are, however, some questions about the use of this technique for
new construction. The questions arise about the durability of commonly used paint systems on a new state of surface preparation.
Against this background, a project was initiated with the aims of increasing the knowledge about coating systems for highly
corrosive marine atmospheres and, in particular, of assessing the performance of UHP waterjetting as a method of secondary
surface preparation compared to the traditional abrasive blasting of zinc-rich shop primer coated steel. The first part of this study,
reported previously in PCE and JPCL,
focused on the characterization of surfaces after UHP waterjetting of a shop primed steel
This article reports on the performance of commonly used paint systems for the protection of ship exterior topsides applied on zinc
shop-primed steel after abrasive cleaning (Sa2 of ISO 8501-1) and after UHP waterjetting (DHP4 of NF T35-520). The article
describes the condition of seven paint systems after salt spray test, artificial cycling test, and natural ageing at a site qualified for a
C5M corrosivity category. In addition, the two artificial tests are compared.
Steel panels (DH36, commonly used in naval constructions) were prepared with different surface preparations to represent different
practical cases that may be found on a structure. As shown inTable 1, the steel panels (100 175 mm) were abrasive blasted
(metallic abrasives) to grade Sa2 and coated with a zinc-rich shop primer (zinc silicate, 10-15 m) as initial conditions. Further
surface preparation consisted of robotic UHP waterjetting. Table 2 gives details on the UHP waterjetting to get a degree of
cleanliness of DHP4 according to NF T35-520 and a flash rust level less than OF1 as defined in the same standard. More details on
the surface properties may be found in reference.

As shown in Table 3, seven commercial paint systems for new constructionidentified as P1, P2, P3, P4, P5, P6, and Rwere
selected to represent the three main corrosion protection mechanisms of coatings: the barrier effect, the galvanic effect, and the
inhibiting effect. The coatings were also selected based on knowledge of their behavior in marine field exposure. Among the
selections was one reference paint system (R), of known performance (data from field exposure and from accelerated ageing in lab
tests and in service). R is composed of a vinyl epoxy primer coat (100 m), a vinyl epoxy intermediate layer (80 m), and a silicone
alkyd topcoat (2 30 m). The primer had a corrosion inhibitor.
The painted samples were conditioned for three weeks (under laboratory conditions, i.e., at 20-25 C and 55% relative humidity, or
RH) before being exposed in accelerated corrosion tests and at a natural weathering site. Before exposure, a 100 0.5 mm vertical
scribe, parallel to the longest side of the panel, of was applied to each panel using the same scribing tool equipped with a
rectangular blade 0.5 mm wide. Two duplicate samples were exposed in the different testing conditions.

In This Article

Description of the steel samples
Reference T1 T2
Type of steel DH36 DH36
Initial state Blasted to Sa2 and shop primed Blasted to Sa2 (mix grit and shot) and shop
Surface preparation Blasting to Sa2 (ISO 8501-1) Medium Grit (ISO
Waterjetting (cf. table 2)
Roughness (Ra) After UHP
10 - 12 m 7 m

Description of UHP waterjetting using a robot
Parameters Robot
Degree of cleanliness according to NF T35-520 DHP4
Level of flash rusting according to NF T35-520 <OF1
Pressure of cleaning 2730 bar
Water flow 34 liter/min
Material Rotating water jet head with 10 nozzles
Angle of cleaning 90 degrees
Conductivity of water 400 S/cm
Distance of jet from surface Between 20 and 30 mm

Coating category and thickness applied on steel substrates
Paint label Category of protection Dry film thickness, m
Barrier Cathodic (Zn) Inhibiting
P1 X 340
P2 X 400
P3 X 340
P4 X 450
P5 X 350
P6 X 350
R X 240
Accelerated Corrosion Test and Field Exposure
Corrosion performance of the different paint systems and their surface preparation was determined in the laboratory by cyclic ageing
resistance in accordance with a modified version of ISO 20340 (Fig. 1) for 25 weeks, i.e., 4,200 hours. Details on the development
of the test may be found elsewhere.
In addition, the samples were exposed in a neutral salt spray test according to ISO 9227 for
1,440 hours.
Outdoor exposure was carried out at the marine site of Brest Saint Anne, which is classified as corrosivity category C5M for steel
according to ISO 9223. Two duplicate samples of each system were exposed at 45 degrees facing south for a minimum of four
years with intermediate annual evaluations.

Fig. 1: Basic artificial weathering cycle used in this study5
Visual Examination
The evaluation of the coating degradation was performed according with the ISO 4628 series of standards, in particular ISO 4628-2
for blistering, ISO 4628-3 for rusting and ISO 4628-8 for scribe creep. The degree of flaking, cracking, and chalking was also
evaluated when such defects were detected. Intermediate evaluations were conducted during the accelerated corrosion tests as
well as in marine exposure.
Based on Hochmannovas works,
a parameter representing the main paint defects, called anticorrosive effect (AE), was calculated
using the following equation:
AE = (BD+SD+2RD)/4 (1)
BD is the blistering degree in accordance with ISO 4628-2 (density),
SD is the scribe delamination (in mm) in accordance with ISO 4628-8,
RD is the rust degree in accordance with ISO 4628-3. For Ri0, RD=0 while for Ri5, RD = 5.
In the present study, the scribe delamination corresponds to the maximum scribe creep, minus the scribe width, divided by 2.
An anticorrosive effect (AE) with a low value characterizes a good performance of the coating while high values indicate poor
Adhesion Testing by Pull-Off
The adhesion pull-off strength was determined according to ISO 4624 with a Posi-Test AT-M on the test samples before artificial
ageing, at the mid-cycle (2100 hours) and after completion of the test (4200 h). Thus, one replicate was withdrawn at mid-test.
For accelerated corrosion tests, the assessment of the panels prepared by UHP waterjetting was conducted according to the
acceptance requirements defined in ISO 20340 (Table 4) and compared to the performance of the reference system (R) after
abrasive blasting (T1).
However, the ultimate test remains the performance of coating systems in comparison to the reference coating after natural
weathering in highly corrosive marine atmospheres.

Assessment of the test panels as defined for this study
Criteria Standard Thresholds of acceptance established after the weathering
cycle (ISO 20340)
Defects before and after
ISO 4628-
ISO 4628-
0 (SO)
Ri 0
Comparison with the
reference on Sa2
Delamination- corrosion from
the scribe line
ISO 4628-
Mx < 3 mm for zinc-primed coating system
Mx < 8 mm for non-zinc-primed coating system
Comparison with the
reference on Sa2
weathering test C5M
ISO 4624
Minimum pull off test value:
3 MPa for zinc primed coating system
4 MPa for non zinc primed coating system No
adhesive failure between the substrate and the first
coat unless pull-off values 5 MPa

Adhesionafter artificial
weathering test C5M
ISO 4624 Minimum pull off test value = 50% initial value with a minimum
value of 2 MPa No adhesive failure between the substrate and
the first coat unless pull-off values 5 MPa

Salt Spray Test
Most of the coated systems presented no defects on the overall surface, e.g., no rusting or blistering after 1,440 hours of exposure
in the salt spray test, except paint systems P6, which showed blistering level 3S2 and 4S2 for abrasive blasted and waterjetted
surfaces, respectively. Paint system P3T1 also showed some red rust (Ri). However, creep from the scribe line was observed to a
variable extent, depending on the coating system (Fig. 2). The largest scribe creep was found on coating system P1 with more than
8 mm, while less than 1 mm of delamination was measured on system P2, despite both having the same mode of protection, i.e.,
cathodic because of a zinc-rich primer. For the other paint systems, the scribe creep ranged between 2 and 4 mm with insignificant
differences between abrasive blasting and UHP waterjetting preparation. In general, similar behavior was observed regardless of
the surface preparation, e.g., blasted Sa2 or UHP treated, despite a surface state slightly different in terms of roughness Ra
(See Table 1). The anti-corrosive effect (AE) presented in Table 5 was mainly based on the delamination from the scribe line
because only one system showed damage other than scribe creep. Nevertheless, this parameter is interesting because it
summarizes in one value the main defects usually observed on painted steel in service. Similar observations as those drawn for the
scribe creep may be observed. Except for paint systems including zinc-rich primers, the anticorrosive effect was very similar, apart
from a higher AE for system P6 because of the presence of blisters.
Excluding coating systems with a zinc-rich primer, the results highlighted the poor ability of the salt spray in discriminating between
different paint systems. This finding is in agreement with previous works.

Fig. 2: Effect on surface preparation on scribe creep for different coating systems after 1440h of
salt spray test

Anticorrosive effect (AE) after 1440 h of salt spray test: influence of surface preparation given in Table 1.
Paint system
Surface preparation
Blasting Sa2
UHP waterjetting
P1 2.7 2.0
P2 0.1 0.1
P3 0.7 1.3
P4 0.9 0.8
P5 0.8 0.6
P6 1.5 1.2
R 0.8 0.8
Mean 1.10.8 1.00.6
Cyclic Corrosion Test
Similar paint inspections were carried out after finishing the 4,200 hours of exposure in the cyclic corrosion test, and the anti-
corrosive effect was calculated. The results are presented in Table 6. The coating systems P1 and P2 with zinc-rich primers
performed particularly well after the cyclic corrosion test. Only scribe creep was observed as a defect. For system P1, comparable
results were observed on abrasive blasted and UHP-treated surfaces while a poorer behavior was observed on UHP waterjetted
panels for system P2.
The AE was significantly more important for all the other paint systems using either barrier or inhibiting primers. Indeed, in addition
to scribe creep, blistering and rusting were also observed on some of the systems. Regarding the influence of surface preparation,
similar performances were noticed on systems P5 and P6 (barrier primers) and the reference paint R (inhibitive primer). Concerning
paint systems P3 and P4, both containing an inhibiting primer, UHP-treated panels were slightly more affected than the abrasive
blasted ones. It is interesting to note that, contrary to the salt spray test, the present cyclic corrosion test is able to rank the different
paint systems placing both paint systems using a cathodic primer as the best systems. This was not true after the salt spray test.
Adhesion was investigated by pull-off testing according to ISO 4624. All paint systems satisfied the qualification criteria, showing
adhesion strengths above 5 MPa and less than 50% of reduction in the adhesion strength after the accelerated corrosion test. One
exception was observed for paint system P1 applied on UHP-treated samples, where an adhesive fracture was found. For the other
paint systems and for both surface preparations, mixed cohesive and adhesive fractures were detected before and after the
accelerated test. In general, the effect of the surface preparation on the adhesion strength is not significant. This can be seen when
considering the mean value of the adhesion strength for each surface preparation (Table 7).

Manual UHP waterjetting test panels.

Anticorrosive effect (AE) after 4200 h of cyclic corrosion test: influence of surface preparation given in Table 1
Paint system
Surface preparation
Blasting Sa2
UHP waterjetting
P1 0.5 0.8
P2 0.5 2.8
P3 4.8 5.5
P4 5.1 6.8
P5 2.5 2.3
P6 4.0 4.0
R 3.8 3.8
Mean 3.01.9 3.72.0

Pull-off test values after 4200 h of cyclic corrosion test. (T1: Sa2, T2: UHP treated)*: adhesive fracture
Paint system
Pull-off test value, MPa After ageing (Cycle C5-M)
T1 T2
P1 7.73.0 4.51.3*
P2 10.03.7 10.43.0
P3 7.21.1 13.60.6
P4 15.71.1 12.60.4
P5 12.23.2 10.31.1
P6 10.41.9 11.72.6
R 12.81.9 13.02.8
Mean 10.93.0 10.93.0
Outdoor Exposure in Marine Atmosphere C5M
As indicated in the experimental section, all samples were exposed in an outdoor marine atmosphere of C5M corrosivity category
for steel, for a minimum of 4 years. The first inspection of the samples, conducted after 12 months of exposure, revealed
delamination from the scribe line on some coatings systems. Nevertheless, the anticorrosion effect was calculated to compare it with
data from the laboratory. The AE from the 12 months of outdoor exposure is summarized in Table 8. From the results, no visual
defects were observed on coating systems P1, P2 and P5 while moderate delamination was found on paint systems P6 and R for
both surface preparations. Concerning coating systems P3 and P4, more damage was found on UHP treated samples in
comparison to blasted ones at least after 12 months of exposure. However, the development of paint degradation should be
examined after a longer exposure duration. It should be mentioned that defects were already observed after 6 months of exposure
on paint systems P3 and P4, which reflects the poor performance of these paint systems.
The product ranking in terms of performance after 12 months of outdoor exposure was compared to that obtained after artificial
ageing in the neutral salt spray test and in the cyclic corrosion test (Table 9). The ranking was made by comparing the anticorrosion
effect. The results indicate comparable ranking between field exposure and the cyclic corrosion test while the salt spray test
definitely gives a different classification of the coating systems. As an example, coating system P1 was the poorest after the salt
spray test, while it shows very good performance in the field after 12 months. These observations are in agreement with previous
They should, however, be consolidated with results from longer outdoor exposures, as is indeed scheduled in the present
From the first results of the present study, UHP waterjetting seems to be a rather promising technique for secondary steel surface
preparation in new construction. UHP waterjetting generally induces a notable reduction of soluble salts, contaminants, and dust at
the steel surface because of an effective water flow. The water from UHP waterjetting can enter pores and pits and sweep the
contaminants away. The level of cleanliness is thus better than that obtained on blasted steel. Despite a slightly different surface
state in terms of roughness, no significant differences were observed in the performance of the coatings applied. From a study
aiming to characterize steel surface after UHP waterjetting of zinc primer-coated steel, it was shown that with water pressure
between 2,560 and 3,000 bar, and regardless of the waterjetting tool (gun or robot), traces of the zinc shop primer were always
detected on such steel surfaces.
Similarly, traces of zinc on steel were also measured after abrasive blasting the zinc shop primer.
From the results obtained in the present work, the presence of remaining zinc on steel substrate does not seem to affect the
performance of the coating.
This study highlights the need to adapt and improve the standardization related to surface preparation by UHP waterjetting for new
construction. Most of the existing standards address surface preparation of painted steel for maintenance. Among standards related
to UHP waterjetting, initial conditions involving zinc shop primers are defined in ISO 8501-4 (conditions PRZ) and SSPC-VIS
4/NACE V1S7 (condition F, zinc-rich paint applied over blast cleaned steel). More details are needed, however, to help the
operators and the project manager to be able to require a guarantee of the result.
UHP waterjetting is becoming more widely used for maintenance, but there are some questions on the use of this technique for new
construction. Questions arise specifically about the influence of surface roughness, which is known to be a key parameter affecting
the adhesion of the coating and thus its durability. In particular, it is known that UHP waterjetting is not efficient in eliminating mill
scale, which limits the use of the technique. Thus, in addition to classical abrasive blasting, the surface preparation with waterjetting
may be an alternative, but more work is needed to validate this new use of the technique.

Other aspects related to real structures have to be carefully considered, such as the effect of waterjetting on welded areas and
further coating performance. Research on these and other aspects is still in progress at this writing. Additional results will be
available later.

Anticorrosive effect (AE) after 12 months of outdoor exposure in marine atmosphere C5M: influence of surface preparation
given in Table 1. The scribe creep is given in brackets.
Paint system
Surface preparation
Blasting Sa2
UHP waterjetting
P1 0 0
P2 0 0.0
P3 0.3 (1.3) 3.4 (13.5)
P4 1.2 (4.9) 3.0 (12)
P5 0 0
P6 0.9 (3.9) 0.3 (1.1)
R 0.3 (1.3) 0.2 (0.8)

Material ranking after cyclic corrosion test (4200 h), salt spray test (1440 h), and 12 months of outdoor exposure in marine
Paint system Cyclic corrosion test 4200h Salt spray test 1440h Outdoor 12 months
P1 1 7 1
P2 2 1 1
P3 6 3 6
P4 7 5 7
P5 3 2 1
P6 5 6 5
R 4 3 4
The aims of the study were to assess the performance of different coating systems applied on UHP waterjetted zinc-rich shop
primer coated steel, as secondary surface preparation in new construction. The results were compared with traditional abrasive
blasted surfaces (Sa2.) Two accelerated corrosion tests (a neutral salt spray test and a cyclic corrosion test based on C5M
corrosivity) were carried out in order to evaluate the performance of the coatings. The results were compared to field data obtained
on a natural ageing site qualified for a C5M corrosivity category.
UHP waterjetting seems to be a promising technique in new construction for secondary surface preparation of steel with a zinc-rich
shop primer, and the technique gives comparable behavior to traditional abrasive blasted surfaces. Despite a slight difference in
roughness and the presence of traces of zinc remaining (at a similar level as that with abrasive cleaning), the performance of the
coatings does not seem to be significantly affected.
The results also indicated quite similar material rankings between field exposure and the cyclic corrosion test, while the salt spray
test definitely gave a different classification of the paint systems, confirming previous results.
Other aspects related to real structures have to be carefully considered such as the effect of hydroblasting on welded areas and
longer term coating performance. This work was still in progress when writing the paper, and will be reported later.
Editors Note: Performance of Paint Sysems after UHP, was first published in Protective Coatings Europe (PCE), July-
September 2011, pp. 24-29. It is the second article the authors have published on their research findings about the use of UHP
waterjetting in new ship construction. The first part, Characterisation of Surfaces after UHP (Ultra High Pressure) Waterjetting of
Shop Primer Coated Steel Substrates for New Construction in the Naval Sector, also was first published in PCE, April-June 2011,
pp. 16-21, and then in the May 2011 JPCL.
1. A. Momber . Hydroblasting & Coating of Steel Structures 2003, Elsevier.
2. T. Mabrouki, A. Cornier, O. Hafiz, K. Raissi . Mcanique & Industries, 5 (2004) 11.
3. P. Le Calv, P. Meunier P, J.-M. Lacam . Protect. Coat Europe, 19 (9) (2002) 22.
4. P. Le Calv, P. Meunier, J.-M. Lacam . JPCL, 20 (1) (2003) 48.
5. P. Le Calv . JPCL, 24 (8) (2007) 13.
6. M. Islam, W. McGaulley, M. Adams . Proceedings of Analitical WJTA American Waterjet Conference, August 21-25
2005. Houston, Texas.
7. P. Le Calv, J-P Pautasso, N. Le Bozec . Protect. Coat. Europe, 3 (2) (2011) 16, and JPCL, 28 (5) (2011) 36.
8. P. Le Calv, J-P Pautasso, N. Le Bozec . Paper 8369, Eurocorr09, September 6-10, 2009, Nice, France.
9. Hochmannov, Zinc-Rich Primers With Micaceous Iron Oxide, Symposium Protective Corrosion Industry April 2004.
10. P. Le Calv, J-M Lacam, N. Le Bozec . Protective Coating Europe, 10(7), (2005) 29.
11. D. Ward . CORROSION/08, Paper 08003, New Orleans, NACE (2008).

39.Remedying excessive profile
From JPCL, September 2011
Remedying Excessive Profile
This Months Question: What is the remedial action if a blaster produces too high a surface profile for
the required primer thickness?
From Jesse Chasteen
Schriener Construction
The surface requires rework. You should find out what the surface profile was on the test plate. What was the spec on the abrasive?
If the manufacturer stated that a specific profile range at a certain psi at the nozzle would result in the appropriate profile, but it
didnt, then the rework should be subsidized.
It is important to answer many questions about why the excessive profile was created to ensure that a repeat performance doesnt
happen. If the reason was an out of spec, pre-existing profile issue, the change to the abrasive after inspection of the test plate
would have been grounds for a change order, and the contractor would have appeared to be more professional. Always put the
horse in front of the cart; its the best way to move forward.
From Richard D. Souza
Stoncor Middle East LLC
When such a case arises, people re-blast with a fine grade sand or garnet abrasive to try to reduce the profile because it is always
assumed that re-blasting with a finer abrasive will bring down the profile to the desired profile range. However, I am very sure that,
at best, you may be able to bring the profile down by 1015 microns by knocking off the high profile peaks, but it is almost
impossible to change a 100-micron profile to a 50-micron profile with this technique.
The same problem exists if there is an excessive pre-existing profile under the existing coating being removed and if there is
existing rust pitting on the surface. In such case, all parties involved must reach an agreement and take appropriate steps to
account for such variables, changing the coating system and/or increasing the total dft to meet or exceed the specification
From Barry Barman
Barry Barman & Associates
Reblast using a finer abrasive. The finer abrasive will result in the cold flow of surface steel, creating a greater density of peaks and
valleys per unit of surface area but with a shallower profile.
From Carl Havemann
Check that the measurements are statistically representative. Use emery paper of suitable roughness to abrade the surface to
reduce the high points. Establish this method by experiment. This method, however, may be suitable only for small areas. An
altenative is to replace the primer with one having a higher film build to accommodate the profile.
Editors Note: The above Problem Solving Forum (PSF) question was posted on the free daily electronic
newsletter, PaintSquare News (PSN), on behalf of JPCL. PSF responses submitted through PSN as well as those sent
directly to JPCL are selected and edited to conform to JPCL style and space limitations. JPCL invites additional responses to
the question; you may send your answer directly to Karen Kapsanis, editor, JPCL,