Focus On
Inspecting Thermal Spray Aluminum

From JPCL, March 2017

By Peter Bock, Chicago Corrosion Group


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Tagged categories: Coating failure; Coating inspection; Paint application; Peter Bock; Quality Control; Thermal spray; Zinc

Comment from Grant Blohm, (4/10/2017, 12:59 PM)

I believe Mr. Bock has hit on a topic that is typically overlooked by many people in the protective coatings industry. While thermally sprayed metallic coatings (TSMC) or metalizing is considered by many to be a protective coating it really is more than that. What other protective coating has been written about in three predominant societies (SSPC, NACE & AWS). Providing quality control inspection of TSMC is not as simple as using the same inspector that is typically used for liquid coatings. Granted there are many aspects of the quality control inspection of TSMC that are shared with liquid coatings but there are also a few small nuances that really can only be acquired through previous experience. If the QC inspector is not experienced with the application process and inspection of TSMC then there could detrimental consequences for the contractor or the owner or both. I am happy to see Mr. Bock point this out and encourage owner’s to include an experience qualifier for those who would be involved in TSMC inspection.

Comment from Warren Brand, (4/26/2017, 8:12 AM)

Another great article, Mr. Bock. Thank you. And I couldn't agree more. We are currently working on a project where we will be assisting a client in the installation of sheets of plastics to a tank interior. We looked high and low to find an inspector with experience with this type of installation, with no luck. So, this Monday, I'm personally flying with our client to the manufacturer of the polymer and fabricator to familiarize ourselves with all of the technical peculiarities associated with this type of unusual, and highly challenging, installation. The point? It's the same with TSA. TSA is a completely different animal from liquid applied coatings - and great care must be taken during application. It's much less forgiving and requires a greater degree of care than most other coating systems. And, indeed, if you don't have an experienced inspector onsite, there is a high degree of risk that flaws, inconsistencies and deficiencies will be missed. And I further agree that until such time as NACE, SSPC or other agency offer specific certifications and training for TSA inspections, the onus remains squarely upon the owner to either engage the services of a professional, vendor-neutral firm to be responsible for all issues pertaining to QA (including peer review of specifications, inspection, etc.), hire independent inspectors directly or train their in-house staff accordingly.

Comment from wenbo chen, (11/28/2017, 10:03 PM)

Hi sir, the sleaer application shall be necessary under insulation or atmosphereic exposure? I know some clients don't like sealer (silicon aluminum) to be used under insulation (CUI) but don't know why..the sealer shall improve the apearance and cleanlability and improve the life time of thermal sprayed.... coatings

Comment from William Feliciano, (11/30/2017, 9:34 AM)

An excellent and timely article, and our thanks to Mr. Bock. Thermal spraying of structural steel on bridges is gaining fast momentum here in the Northeast. Yet, the impetus for shops to find qualified, experienced inspectors of thermal spray zinc or aluminum continues to be a challenge. We note that SSPC has established certification training/program for Thermal Spray Inspectors. Hopefully NACE follows suit soon and such program(s) generate a pool of qualified candidates with experience. It definitely won't come too soon for many of the transportation Departments of the Northeast.

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