2010 Cases from the F-Files

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

Cases from the F-Files, 2010

The Case of… Improper Selection of a Maintenance Strategy Takes Corrosion Protection from Bad to Worse” (PDF 1.5MB) When conducting a coating failure investigation, the investigator’s first inquiries should be “What was supposed to be done,” and “Does it make sense?” The answers to these questions are typically revealed in the specification for the project. However, in this “Case from the F-Files,” there was very little information in the specification to guide the investigation; and there was little information available from the application, because in-process inspection was not performed. These circumstances made the failure much more challenging to resolve, and the resolution was based solely on the results of the field and laboratory investigations, along with the experience of the investigator.
Valerie Sherbondy, Senior Chemist
Rich Burgess, Senior Consultant and Series Editor

The Case of… A failure To Communicate” (PDF 1MB) Monolithic Airform dome construction, simply described, is a process that uses an inflatable fabric—a polyvinyl chloride- (PVC-) coated nylon or polyester fabric—manufactured in the size and shape required for a job. The construction process includes building a foundation footing at the building site with attachment rings for the dome. For insulated structures, air is used to inflate the dome and hold it in place while construction takes place inside the inflated dome. Construction consists of applying a layer of insulating polyurethane foam beneath the inflated PVC airform and then installing a reinforcing steel fabric lath beneath the foam layer. Shotcrete is then applied to create the reinforced concrete domed structure. The outer PVC fabric skin is left in place to protect the insulation from the elements.
Tom Neal, Senior Consultant
Rich Burgess, Senior Consultant and Series Editor

The Case of Misplaced Blame… Lining a Clarifier Four Times to Get Acceptable Performance” (PDF 1.29MB) In this Case from the F-Files, a food manufacturing facility owner insisted that, despite the use of three different lining systems, the aggressiveness of the service environment caused all three lining systems to fail in less than 10 years. Until a formal failure investigation was performed, the owner was ready to pay for a fourth lining system without knowing the real culprit.
Rick A. Huntley, Manager, Consulting Services
Rich Burgess, Senior Consultant and Series Editor

The Case of the Not-So_Hot Roof” (PDF1.01MB)  Coating specifiers, contractors, or manufacturers are often blamed when installed coatings fail to meet service life expectations. The following situation describes the deterioration and ultimate failure of a roof coating system resulting from a combination of factors related to surface preparation, application, and weather.
E. Bud Senkowski, PE, Senior Consultant
Rich Burgess, Senior Consultant and Series Editor

The Case of… the Strange Blistering” (PDF 934Kb) An owner intentionally selected a coating system that used the prevailing cool, humid environment inside the salt water ballast tanks to help cure the coating system during dry docking and coating repair operations. Despite this foresight, the repair coating blistered within a year. Was the coating mis-formulated? Did the contractor apply the coating over contaminated surfaces? Or was the wrong coating selected for the service environment?
Kenneth B. Tator, PE, CEO
Rich Burgess, Senior Consultant and Series Editor

The Case of The Mysterious Cracking Coating” (PDF 1.03MB) If you’ve ever read a mystery novel or have been to a mystery dinner theater, you know that solving the mystery often involves putting all the pieces of the puzzle together to find the culprit. While the characters and schemes that evolve may not be as elaborate or intertwined as a mystery writer can make them, coating failures often present a mystery that needs to be solved. This was the case when a series of fine hairline, radiating cracks suddenly appeared in the newly-painted interior surfaces of an industrial research building during the construction phase.
James D. Machen, Senior Coatings Consultant
Rich Burgess, Senior Consultant and Series Editor

The Case of the Failing Railing” (PDF 1.29MB) When a premature, catastrophic coating failure occurs, there is a logical sequence of questions that an investigator asks and seeks to answer to track down the contributing factors. Let’s see what happens as we follow that process in the “Case of the Failing Railing.”  What was supposed to be done? The project specification and other contract documents describe what was supposed to occur related to coating system installation. Unfortunately in this case, there was no specification. However, there was reliance on the manufacturer’s recommendations and presumably guidance on what was to be done.
Ray Tombaugh, Senior Consultant
Rich Burgess, Senior Coatings Consultant and Series Editor

The Case of Shop Painting Going to Waste” (PDF 1MB) New steel rake arm components were installed in steel clarifier tanks at a wastewater treatment plant in the eastern U.S. and finish coated on site during 2005. The rake arm components were reported to have been shop primed with one coat of epoxy coating and then stored off site for an extended period of time before delivery to the treatment plant and installation.
Jayson L. Helsel, PE, Senior Consultant
Rich Burgess, Senior Consultant and Series Editor

The Case of When the Manufacturers’ Claims ≠ Performance: Cohesion Failure of a Novolac Vinyl Ester Lining” (PDF 745Kb) Designers, consultants, users, and even manufacturer representatives rely on information in product data sheets (PDS), or technical data sheets, when selecting coating materials for specific applications and service environments. In this case from the F-Files, the owner selected a novolac vinyl ester lining system to line a steel outlet flue at a power plant based on performance data reported in the manufacturer’s PDS. The selection made sense. Novolac vinyl ester coatings are used in service environments subject to extreme chemical and thermal exposure, such as chimneys, ductwork, and outlet flues. For increased cohesive strength and overall performance, these coatings are formulated to have a higher cross-linking density than standard vinyl ester coatings. When correctly mixed and applied to a properly prepared surface, SSPC-SP 10 Near-White Blast Cleaning, novolac vinyl esters should withstand the extreme exposure conditions.
Christina M. Stewart, Chemist
Rich Burgess, Senior Consultant and Series Editor

The Case of…Three…Part 1 of 2” (PDF 99Kb) The monthly F-Files cases have been presented for nearly two years now. This month we present the “Case of Three”…consultants, that is. This case is presented in two parts and discusses an all too familiar scenario; two or more consultants offer contrasting opinions despite having access to the same information and physically examining the same coatings on the same structure. This situation is very common. A problem exists after a (re)painting project, which is going to cost to remedy. Both the owner and the contractor employ consultants to comment on the reasons for the failure. However, both the owner and contractor have different agendas. The owner is trying to prove that the contractor did not carry out the work according to the specification and thus should pay for the remedial work. The contractor, on the other hand, is trying to prove that he followed the specification exactly and that either the wrong specification was given or the wrong coating was used (or there was a fault with the coating itself), and, therefore, he should not have to pay for any repair work. The appointed consultants, therefore, have different briefs and as a result, look at the problem from different angles. Their different perspectives can result in a differing of opinions about the reasons for the failure.
Rich Burgess, Senior Consultant and Series Editor

The Case of…Three…Part 2 of 2” (PDF 2.2MB) This month, the F-Files presents Part 2 of 2 in the “Case of …Three”… (Consultants). In Part 1 last month, we told you what three consultants–Arnie, Buck, and Chuck–said about the same coating project. In Part 2, we will tell you who among the three consultants said what. More specifically, Part 1 of “The Case of …Three” provided background information related to a bridge painting project and concerns about the contractor’s (and the coating sytem’s) performance. In addition to information about the project specifications, observations (fact statements) reported by three different consultants who were looking at the same job (as understood by the writer), and a summary of the conclusions reached by each consultant were listed in tables. Although observations and conclusions from each of the three consultants were provided in Part 1, the identity of the consultant making the statements and conclusions was not provided. Readers were challenged to decide which “facts” appeared to fit together, which of the three consultants –Arnie, Buck, or Chuck–contributed each “fact,” and which conclusions were supported by the facts.
Rich Burgess, Senior Consultant and Series Editor