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Small Expense, Big Reward - The Impact and Value of Quality Assurance Testing of Coatings for Hydraulic Steel Structures

Quality Assurance (QA) paint testing is an important obligation of any paint manufacturer and/or end user. Each year, hundreds of batches slotted to be applied on US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) hydraulic steel structures around the country are submitted to be tested at the Engineering Research Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, Paint Technology Center (ERDC-CERL-PTC). A significant fraction of those samples fail. 

Product Number: 41216-958-SG
Author: Brooke A. Divan, Rebekah Wilson, Miranda Etchison
Publication Date: 2016
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Quality Assurance (QA) paint testing is an important obligation of any paint manufacturer and/or end user. Each year, hundreds of batches slotted to be applied on US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) hydraulic steel structures around the country are submitted to be tested at the Engineering Research Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, Paint Technology Center (ERDC-CERL-PTC). A significant fraction of those samples fail. The most common samples supplied by numerous manufacturers include solvents, vinyl, coal tar epoxies, polyurethanes, and military specified epoxy polyamides. Last year, out of the 200 samples tested by the PTC, more than 25% failed to meet their associated specification. The cost and time of quality assurance (QA) testing is negligible compared to the expense of a large-scale coating failure on a hydraulic steel structure in the field. Failures are monitored on small scale coupons in the laboratory through tests such as impact, adhesion, compositional analyses, application properties, and overall performance in multiple service environments. This proactive solution serves as an insurance policy that failures will not occur on a larger scale. This crucial testing step is an inexpensive fail-safe method to ensure that coatings will perform as expected on steel structures around the nation. The small upfront time and financial investment can save millions of dollars by minimizing coating maintenance, repainting projects, and the huge expense of corrosion. Subpar results help to inform manufacturers and end users of concerns products to help to determine what is askew in the coating and provide insight on how to remediate it.

Quality Assurance (QA) paint testing is an important obligation of any paint manufacturer and/or end user. Each year, hundreds of batches slotted to be applied on US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) hydraulic steel structures around the country are submitted to be tested at the Engineering Research Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, Paint Technology Center (ERDC-CERL-PTC). A significant fraction of those samples fail. The most common samples supplied by numerous manufacturers include solvents, vinyl, coal tar epoxies, polyurethanes, and military specified epoxy polyamides. Last year, out of the 200 samples tested by the PTC, more than 25% failed to meet their associated specification. The cost and time of quality assurance (QA) testing is negligible compared to the expense of a large-scale coating failure on a hydraulic steel structure in the field. Failures are monitored on small scale coupons in the laboratory through tests such as impact, adhesion, compositional analyses, application properties, and overall performance in multiple service environments. This proactive solution serves as an insurance policy that failures will not occur on a larger scale. This crucial testing step is an inexpensive fail-safe method to ensure that coatings will perform as expected on steel structures around the nation. The small upfront time and financial investment can save millions of dollars by minimizing coating maintenance, repainting projects, and the huge expense of corrosion. Subpar results help to inform manufacturers and end users of concerns products to help to determine what is askew in the coating and provide insight on how to remediate it.

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