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Advanced Technology in Field Applied Thermoplastics for Corrosion

Protection Superior to Thermoset Coating Systems

Thomas G. Priest

KCC Corrosion Control Co., Ltd.

4010 Trey Rd.
Houston, Texas 77084

ABSTRACT proper particle distribution, controlled

film thickness and integrity and substrate
The control, mitigation and prevention encapsulation. Heretofore, field
of corrosion in environments ranging application of thermoplastics has been
from mildly corrosive to severe impractical and only marginally
atmospheric conditions to underground successful in a few limited applications.
exposures (such as pipelines) to Development of new technology in the
chemical spill and fume exposures has areas of thermal bonding agents and
long been focused on the use of more dimensionally stable thermoplastic
thermosetting polymers such as epoxies, powder coating materials has resulted in
polyesters, vinyl esters and urethanes. significantly increased potential for use
For the most part these materials have in field applications in a wide variety of
worked reasonably well in applications uses.
such as structural steel and equipment
coatings, architectural paints, vessel
linings, concrete coatings, secondary KEYWORDS
containment linings, and floor toppings. Thermoplastics; Thermal Bonding
However, these thermosetting materials Agents; Permeability; Field Application;
also have major limitations such as Salt Fog; Cathodic Disbondment.
service temperature, lack of tolerance for
a wide range of field conditions
including humidity, temperature and INTRODUCTION
substrate preparation, cure time, ease of
repair, and related installation issues. Plastics, in layman s terms, are pliable,
Thermoplastics have known advantages moldable materials. Plastics are
over thermosets in water resistance, generally defined by their ability to be
flexibility, higher temperature capability, shaped and molded easily.
and film integrity. Until recently, the Thermoplastics are organic polymer
use of thermoplastics as corrosion (plastic) compounds that can be melted
resistant coatings has been limited to and reformed in their original state. One
shop application in controlled way Thermoplastics are distinguished
environments where electrostatic from Thermosets is by this property of
application and oven curing allow for melting to liquid and reformation to
solid. Thermosets are organic polymers
that once cured cannot be returned to the
liquid or melted state. Cured DISCUSSION
Thermosets are cross-linked plastics that
once formed cannot be melted and
reformed. New technology developments allow
Many industries use a wide variety of molten thermoplastics to be applied
thermoplastic materials for corrosion almost anywhere, under widely varying
resistance and many other uses. Until environmental conditions. This new
recently, these molten thermoplastics field application technology is based on
have been limited primarily to OEM significant technology advances. The
(Original Equipment Manufacturers) invention of unique primer and basecoat
shop built and controlled environment materials known as Thermal Bonding
shop applications. Typically the use of Agents allow for exceptionally strong
thermoplastics for corrosion resistance tensile bond strength to substrates such
has been limited to powder application as metals, existing coatings and concrete
to heated or electro-statically charged when snap-cured by the application of
metallic surfaces followed by melting in the molten topcoat. Thermal Bonding
an oven. Field application of Agents (US Patent Pending for Flame
thermoplastics has been almost Activated Primers by Shah A. Haque,
exclusively done in the solid state KCC Corrosion Control Co., Ltd.)1
(sheets) to large relatively flat surfaces. provide unique chemistry that results in
Until recently, field application of superior bond strength between
thermoplastics in liquid (molten) form thermoplastic powder coatings applied in
has been limited by VOC regulations. molten form and metallic or non-
Field application of powdered metallic (e.g., concrete) substrates.
thermoplastics in the molten state has Specially formulated thermoplastic
been largely ineffective and impractical topcoats are more dimensionally stable
for several reasons. during cooling, reducing the deleterious
effects of shrinkage. These modified
Molten thermoplastic materials shrink
topcoat materials remain well bonded to
when cooled rendering them
any shape surface and provide an almost
dimensionally unstable when applied in
infinite variety of product uses.
a molten state to most structural shapes.
Application to structural members such Thermoplastics surpass thermosets in
as I-beams, angle, channel, flat surfaces, corrosion resistance performance for
and the inside radius of curved surfaces several reasons. All organic polymers
has been impractical and unsuccessful. can be defined by, and their uses and
Mechanical bond of molten performance limited by, their glass
thermoplastics has been dependent on transition temperature, known as Tg.
utilizing the shrinkage mechanism of the Below their Tg, polymers become harder
material as an advantage, for example, and more brittle, they are by definition in
application to the external surfaces of their glassy state. Polymers like
circular shapes such as spheres and polystyrene and epoxy are generally
cylinders (pipe). In addition, chemical most effectively used below their Tg.
bond of molten thermoplastics to metal Above their Tg, polymers become pliable
surfaces has not been possible in the and more flexible. Elastomeric
past. (rubbery) polymers such as poly-
isobutylene and poly-isoprene are used steel/coating discontinuity for evaluation
above their Tg. of edge lifting and undercutting.
Evaluation of the coated panels are
In corrosion resistant applications where
visual until termination of the test, at
resistance to water and chemical
which time the degree and extent of
permeation are critical to successful
undercutting at the scribes and blistering
long-term performance, the use of
on the face of the coating is measured.
polymers with higher Tg can be an
advantage. Certain thermoplastics have
higher Tg than thermosets, therefore they Chemical Resistance (and Liquid
possess performance properties beyond Permeation) of Protective Linings 4
the capabilities of thermosets. The (ASTM C-868 -Modified Corrocell
resulting performance advantages are version KCC Test Method PPM-A1.00)
longer life coatings, higher temperature — Steel panels are coated and placed on
resistance (coatings and linings), the open ends of a cylindrical glass cell.
improved chemical and permeation Reagent liquid is placed in cylinder and
resistance, improved physical properties, temperature is controlled as desired.
and in some cases better abrasion, The modified apparatus includes
erosion and wear resistance. temperature control chambers on the
In addition, many thermoplastics, such outside of the test panels to vary external
as polyethylene and polypropylene wall temperature of test panels. Liquid
contain no receptors or reactive sites for permeation through the lining is
water and its component H+ and OH- quantitatively evaluated by measurement
ions, thus they shed water at the of impedance across the test fluid and
molecular level. In contrast, thermoset the steel panel interface.
polymers such as epoxies, polyesters and
urethanes possess sites that will react
with water and its component H+ and Cathodic Disbonding of Pipeline
OH- ions. Thus water can and does Coatings 5 (ASTM G-8) - Test
permeate and ultimately chemically react specimens in the form of coated pipe
with thermoset polymers. sections are suspended in an alkaline
electrolyte solution. The coating is
perforated in multiple sites to simulate
EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURES coating discontinuities. Electrical stress
is obtained by either sacrificial anode or
Salt Spray (Fog) Test 2,3 (ASTM B-117) impressed current applied to the pipe to
— Coated steel panels are placed in an simulate cathodic protection in
enclosed chamber maintained at 95°F underground pipeline installations.
Impressed current provides a more
and are continuously exposed to salt (5%
severe electrical stress condition and
sodium chloride in water) spray or fog to
thus was used in the tests reported
simulate conditions in a severely
herein. This test provides an accelerated
corrosive environment in an accelerated
condition for coatings to loosen at
manner. The coating in the center of the
holidays and measures their resistance to
panel is scratched or cut in a crisscross
film undercutting under impressed
method (called a scribe ) to expose
current and alkaline immersion
bare steel and allow corrosion at a
Cathodic Disbonding of Pipeline
Coatings 5 (ASTM G-8) — Industry
Salt Spray (Fog) Test 2,3 (ASTM B-117)
standards for coatings typically used
— Thermoset coatings such as epoxy,
underground include testing for
polyester, urethane and siloxane systems
disbondment under cathodic protection.
when tested in salt fog according to
Shop applied fusion bonded epoxies are
ASTM B-117 are evaluated by the extent
generally considered the industry
of lifting at the edges of the scribe,
performance standard. In a 30-day test
undercutting and blistering on the face of
comparing fusion-bonded epoxy to
the coating. In general terms, coating
thermoplastic with thermal bonding
systems that withstand this test for 3,000
agents, the following results were
to 5,000 hours with moderate damage
are considered to have performed well.
Thermoplastic systems including
thermal bonding agent used as primers Average Disbonded Area (
have recently been tested for 10,000
hours by independent test lab.(1) The test Fusion Bonded Epoxy 1.005
results show only moderate lifting at the
scribes, and no significant undercutting Thermoplastic 0.296
or blistering of the coating. This result
is unparalleled for any atmospheric
coating system previously tested by this Equiv. Diameter Disbonded (in.)
internationally known lab. This testing Fusion Bonded Epoxy 0.988
indicates that thermoplastic coating
systems will provide significantly Thermoplastic 0.635
extended service life than traditional
thermoset system. Salt Fog Exposure Test Report: ITI Anti-
Corrosion , Inc., Houston, TX; Laboratory File
Chemical Resistance (and Liquid
Permeation) of Protective Linings 4 CONCLUSIONS
(ASTM C-868 -Modified Corrocell
Thermoplastics have many advantages
version KCC Test Method PPM-A1.00)
over thermoset coatings in field
- This modified version of the ASTM C-
application and use. Thermoplastics are
868 Atlas Test cell allows for controlled
powder coatings applied in a molten
variation of the outside cold wall
state, therefore there are zero Volatile
temperature and measurement of the
Organic Compounds (VOCs) emitted, no
water ion flow through the lining
overspray droplets and no cure time.
membrane from the test fluid to the
Void free applications are assured. The
coated steel substrate. Independent lab
molten thermoplastic is ready for service
tests indicate thermoplastic-coated
as soon as it cools and solidifies, often a
panels at 30 mils thick to be more than
matter of minutes, not hours or days.
100 times less permeable than fiberglass
Weather and humidity restrictions are
reinforced thermoset polyester at 125
significantly reduced. Moisture
mils thick. (Refer to Graphs 1 and 2 on
condensed on the target substrate is
page 6)
vaporized by the mild preheating REFERENCES
required in the application process,
therefore humidity and dew point 1 US Patent Pending: Flame
considerations which limit most Activated Primers By Shah A.
thermoset coatings do not apply to Haque, KCC Corrosion Control
thermoplastics. The number of steps is Co. Ltd.
reduced, thereby significantly reducing 2 ITI Anti-Corrosion Salt Fog
labor input as well as elapsed time of Testing Laboratory File #7515
installation. Completion schedules are 3 ASTM B 117-97 ASTM Book of
more predictable and of significantly Standards Volume 03.02
shorter duration. Repair and touch-up 4 ASTM C 868-85 ASTM Book of
are simple and permanent. Service life Standards Volume 04.05
is extended by a factor of two or three 5 ASTM G 8 ASTM Book of
over traditional coating systems. Standards Volume 06.02

Graph 1.
Graph 2.