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Deflecting the Assault by Salt

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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An often-invisible enemy of coating performance—soluble salt and chemical contamination—is the focus of the newest PaintSquare Video Learning Center how-to.

"Cleanliness of a Surface—Soluble Salts" is one of 19 videos in the original instructional series, which explores multiple aspects of protective coatings work.

Images: KTA-Tator Inc.

"Cleanliness of a Surface—Soluble Salts," now in the PaintSquare Video Learning Center, discusses testing for surface contamination before painting.

Created and narrated by experts at KTA-Tator Inc., the video series covers a wide range of topics, from quality-control and health and safety issues, to basics on the proper use of coatings instruments.

Removing Contaminants

In this video (4:08), KTA's William Corbett discusses how surface cleanliness is affected by soluble salts and chemical contamination, which is often invisible.

The cleanliness of a surface before coatings application is "one of the most critical factors in determining the long-term performance of a coating system," Corbett says.

Failure to remove contaminants from steel can cause or accelerate corrosion, and chloride contamination is usually most detrimental, according to Corbett.

Project specifications commonly require testing before coating application, and testing methods can be found in:

  • Four sections of ISO 8502 (Part 5, Part 6, Part 9, and Part 10), which describe various methods of surface extraction and analysis, both ion-specific and conductometric; and
  • SSPC Guide 15, "Field Methods for Extraction and Analysis of Soluble Salts on Steel and Other Nonporous Substrates," which describes at least a dozen methods of field retrieval and analysis of soluble salts that can be performed in the field, such as patch cell retrieval, swabbing, filter paper extraction, soluble salt meters, and testing strips.

Working with Project Specs

However, neither the ISO or SSPC guides address tolerable levels of surface contamination by soluble salts, Corbett notes. Until industry standards are developed, project specifications must indicate the maximum quantity of soluble salts that can remain on a surface and be safely coated over.

PaintSquare Learning Center

Failure to remove contaminants from steel can cause or accelerate corrosion, and chloride contamination is usually most detrimental, according to Corbett.

"For example, the specification for a tank located in a mild, rural environment may allow a relatively low surface concentration of soluble salt for the interior, and not even address restrictions at all for the exterior," Corbett explains.

The Navy has developed immersion and atmospheric conductivity thresholds, and NACE Technical Committee Report 6G186, "Surface Preparation of Soluble Salt Contaminated Steel Substrates Prior to Coating," provides information for using coatings in service environments where soluble salt contamination of the substrate is suspected.

Future Topics

PaintSquare expects to present a new Learning Center video from the series every two weeks. Future topics in the series include:

  • Adhesion;
  • Concrete Prep and Painting;
  • Film Thickness issues;
  • Holiday Detection;
  • Moisture Testing; and
  • Steel Surfaces.

The full series will be available free in the PaintSquare Video Learning Center.


Tagged categories: Chlorides; Education; ISO; KTA-Tator; PaintSquare; Salt contaminant levels; SSPC; Surface preparation; Video

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