One of the critical construction and maintenance challenges faced by many industries globally is corrosion.
Research findings by NACE International, a corrosion-control standards and certification association, revealed that the global cost of corrosion is estimated to be US $2.5 trillion. This is equivalent to 3.4 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 2013). In addition, these costs exclude work safety and environmental consequences.
In the energy sector, thousands of industrial facilities are constructed primarily of carbon steel and these structures, when unprotected, are vulnerable to corrosion.
The application of industrial protective coatings on the surface is generally the most economical and effective corrosion protection available for carbon steel.
However, prior to this procedure, the surface needs to be cleaned and free from contaminants with the right surface profile (roughness) for effective paint adhesion. This is actually the most expensive part of the coating job, but this step is crucial to prevent coatings failure and to maximise the life of the coating system.
Although there are multiple surface preparation methods such as pickling (acid etch), sanding and wire brushing, the most effective method is abrasive blasting.
Abrasive blasting is preferred due to several reasons. It effectively:
- Removes contaminants from the surface to be coated, including mill scale, rust, old coatings and linings.
- Produces an anchoring surface profile to ensure proper coating adhesion.
- Achieves significantly higher productivity than other cleaning methods.
In the next issue, we will be exploring the variety of blasting abrasives including the physical properties and their impact on blasting performance.