2009 Cases from the F-Files

KTA-Tator, Inc. gratefully acknowledges Technology Publishing for their permission to post these articles written for and and previously published in the JPCL: Journal of Protective Coatings and Linings.

Who Reads Instructions Anyway? The Case of the Failing Floor Coating” (PDF 459Kb) Several years ago, an upgrade was slated for the warehouse of a distribution facility. Part of the upgrade included recoating the concrete floor. The specification for the project required the concrete floor to be abrasive blast cleaned or scarified to remove laitance and surface contamination. Additionally, before applying the coatings, the surface was to be tested to ensure it was free of moisture. The testing followed the plastic sheet method as described in ASTM D4263, Standard Test Method for Indicating Moisture in Concrete by the Plastic Sheet Method.  (JPCL, December 2009)
Rick A. Huntley

Coating Failures on Galvanized Mast Arms” (PDF 1MB) The next time you pull up to an intersection with traffic signals look for the mast arms that support them. Are the arms galvanized, concrete, aluminum. or painted? Painted mast arms may have had the coating system applied directly to blast cleaned steel or over hop-dip galvanized steel (a duplex system). This article discusses the failure of coatings applied to galvanized mast arms for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT); analysis of the failure, including key background information on galvanizing; the findings; and the approach FDOT implemented to correct failing galvanized mast arms exhibiting corrosion. (JPCL, November 2009)
Paul Vinik, MSChE, P.E., Florida Department of Transportation
Richard A. Burgess, B.S, M.S.

 “The Cost of Going Green? Filiform Corrosion of Powder-Coated Aluminum on the Gulf Coast” (PDF 849Kb) Thousands of linear feet of aluminum hand railing have been powder coated by electrostatic spray in the shop and installed on balconies of condominiums along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Over the past five years, the writers have investigated several premature failures of such railings from Orange Beach, AL, to Florida’s Marco Island and Ft. Lauderdale area.  (JPCL, October 2009)
Richard A. Burgess, B.S, M.S
Kenneth B. Tator, P.E.

The Case of the Shop Job: Coated Equipment Sent North by Coating Performance Went South” (PDF 486Kb) A coating failure had occurred in the past two years on a very large piece of newly constructed cement batching machinery at a construction site in a remote area of Canada. The machinery was constructed of steel and contained miscellaneous other equipment such as motors and piping. The steel was fabricated, constructed, and painted in the U.S. during the previous year. The failure, which was first observed after the winter months, was delaying the start of work at the site. (JPCL, September 2009)
Jayson L. Helsel, P.E.

The Fix That Was Worse Than the Problem” (PDF 859Kb) Protective coating and lining systems used in food processing and beverage facilities are used for product protection, and east of decontamination. However, to fulfill these functions, the coating system must remain completely attached to the surfaces to which it was applied. Complete adhesion is particularly important in the food and beverage manufacturing/processing industries because product contamination can adversely impact public health. To this end, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducts routine inspections to verify that foreign particulate is not contaminating products. In this “Case for the F-Files,” a problem with the galvanized steel in a meat processing plant went from bad to worse when the galvanizing was “repaired” with a liquid applied coating. (JPCL, August 2001)
Raymond Tombaugh

The Case of Hurry Up and Wait…Premature Rusting of Newly Coated Structural Steel in a Chemical Plant” (PDF 124Kb) Chemical plant engineers and coatings specifiers recognize that the economic service life of a coating system begins when fabricated steel is prepared and painted before erection. facilities today are installing coatings based on well-defined requirements, including higher degrees of surface preparation, coating systems with improved corrosion and chemical resistance, and quality assurance and quality control inspections during the work. As a result, the expected economic service life of coating systems in chemical facilities that help mitigate extreme exposures to harsh acids, alkalis, and other detrimental fumes that in years past significantly reduced the time before coating maintenance or replacement was required. Despite the improvements, performance does not always meet expectations, and anticipated service lives are not always achieved. Sometimes even months after the installation is complete, premature failure can lead to overall changes in a facility’s approach to maintenance painting.   This article describes a project that includes many well-intended steps, such as inspection and documentation, with coatings recognized as an important milestone in the new construction phase. (JPCL, July 2009)
Bruce Rutherford

Accelerated Corrosion of a Pedestrian Bridge: Anticipating the Service Environment for Proper Coating System Selection” (PDF 443Kb) Coating failures have many causes, including improper surface preparation and coating application, deficient coating materials, and design flaws, such as incorrect coating system selection. In this “Case from the F-Files,” the owner of a pedestrian bridge in the Southeastern coastal region of the U.S. relied upon the recommendation of a coating supplier who did not fully consider the environment and location of the bridge. This failure raised several questions regarding coating system selection. Did the prevailing environment cause the coating to fail prematurely, or were there other circumstances that caused such accelerated deterioration of the coating system? Do all coastal marine environments necessitate the use of an immersion service coating? (JPCL, June 2009)
Cindy O’Malley