The National Academies

NCHRP IDEA 20-30/IDEA 007 [Completed (IDEA)]

Strategy for Coating Structural Steel without Stringent Blasting Requirements
[ NCHRP 20-30 (NCHRP-IDEA) ]

  Project Data
Staff Responsibility: Dr. Inam Jawed

The project developed and evaluated an environmentally safe technique for applying durable protective paint coating on structural steel without the need for blast cleaning. The concept is illustrated in Figure 1.
The process employed new high penetration primers with low or non-organic volatiles. The paint application technology involved embedding collapsible glass microspheres in the primer, which were then broken to interlock the primer with the topcoat. Fracturing the spheres provides a surface profile that “locks in” the topcoat and ensures a strong bond between the primer and the topcoat. Laboratory tests showed that thermal spray-coating systems employing non-volatile organic compound penetrating sealers loaded with glass microspheres are a viable option for overcoating aged alkyd paints. The addition of glass microspheres to the penetrating primer, however, had no significant effect on the performance of the thermal spray-coating systems.
Microscopic examination of the embedded broken microspheres indicated the potential for enhanced adhesion between the primer and the thermal spray topcoat. The liquid applied topcoat was also found to be a viable option for overcoating aged alkyd systems.
A series of factorially designed laboratory tests was performed in accordance with standard procedures to determine the effectiveness of the coating system regarding adhesion, impact resistance, and corrosion protection. The results were satisfactory but not significantly superior to the current practice.
The implementation of this new painting process on highway steel bridge structures will require extensive testing in collaboration with state highway agencies. No additional project action is planned by NCHRPIDEA. The final report is available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS # PB96-147996).


The final report for this IDEA project can be found at:

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