Product Profile: What Lies Beneath


By Simon Daly, Hempel A/S


Corrosion under insulation (CUI) is the fundamental cause of a wide range of mechanical, structural and safety problems across the chemical and processing industries — and it is characteristically difficult to detect. CUI occurs when moisture becomes trapped between insulating materials and the pipework, ductwork, valves and other key external equipment vital to the operation of refineries, petrochemical plants and other processing and storage facilities.

If undetected, CUI will continue to erode the underlying material, often resulting in dangerous, costly and irreversible damage to assets and the businesses that rely upon them.

It makes sound business sense to protect the areas prone to CUI from the outset and apply an advanced protective coating specifically designed to combat the threat.

Versatility is Key

CUI generally occurs in temperatures between 50 and 175 degrees Celsius, but in high relative humidity, it can also be found in lower temperatures — the so-called “sweating” pipe syndrome. Temperatures can vary considerably across the fundamental parts of each refinery, or adjoining processing and distribution infrastructure, and must be accounted for separately. This makes preventing CUI across an asset and specifying a coatings solution to meet the precise needs of each piece of equipment a challenging process. 

The main reasons for coatings failure are poor application, application of an incorrectly specified product or, more rarely, use of a defective product. While there are many variations in the coatings designed to protection against CUI, three key systems are most commonly used: epoxy/epoxy phenolics, thin film silicones and zinc silicates. 

We at Hempel — a coatings manufacturer that has developed protective paints for more than 100 years — understand CUI and the challenges associated with it. To deliver optimum protection and combat CUI, we recommend our Versiline CUI 56990 paint solution. Based on fiber-reinforced, single-component, inert modified inorganic copolymer technology, the solution has demonstrated excellent resistance to CUI and exhibits a unique resistance to micro-cracking at elevated temperatures. This means less maintenance is required and assets are protected longer. 

Versiline CUI 56990 is developed for resistance against temperatures of between -196 and 650 C, making it suitable for almost all oil, gas and petrochemical processing and storage facilities, including offshore floating facilities and assets in harsh environments. The flexibility and simplicity it offers are important considerations for protecting such complex assets and infrastructure. 

The Long View

While there is continued uncertainty in the energy markets, it is vital for asset owners to maximize their operational efficiency and minimize downtime. Working closely with your coatings manufacturer to identify solutions that suit your precise needs can provide long-term protection from the harmful effects of the environment — including corrosion that lies beneath insulation.

Versiline CUI 56990 at a glance
Wide range of heat resistance, from -196 C to 650 C, delivering flexibility for operators within a single product
Built on fiber-reinforced, single-component, inert modified inorganic copolymer technology, exhibiting a unique resistance to micro-cracking, minimizing maintenance
Complies with NACE SP0198: 2017 categories SS-5, CS-6 and CS-8
Extensively tested, both by an independent test house and Hempel, offering proven performance

For more information, click here.

Versaline is a registered trademark of Hempel. Claims or positions expressed by sponsoring authors do not necessarily reflect the views of TPC, PaintSquare or its editors.

Simon Daly, Hempel A/S

Simon Daly is the group oil and gas market segment manager for HEMPEL A/S. With 28 years of coatings experience in laboratory, technical, sales and marketing positions — mainly servicing the oil and gas industry — he is currently responsible for oil, gas and thermal power strategy. See his bio on LinkedIn.




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