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How Do You Deal with Salts on Steel?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

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Professionals in the steel structure painting industry are being asked to provide input for a research project on the impact soluble salts may have on the protective coatings of steel structures.

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies has commenced a study on detection and remediation methods used to guard against the tendency of retained soluble salts to reduce the life of protective coatings on steel highway structures, including bridges and tunnels.

Your participation in the short Soluble Salt Detection and Remediation Survey will aid in the agency’s collection of information on the topic. Responses will be collected through mid February.

iStock/deemac
© iStock.com / deemac

Professionals in the steel structure painting industry are being asked to provide input for a research project on the impact soluble salts may have on the protective coatings on those structures.

National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 10-97, Detection and Remediation of Soluble Salt Contamination Prior to Coating Steel Highway Structures, was awarded to Elzly  to serve as research agency for the study.

Share Your Knowledge, Experience

Transportation agencies and other industry representatives are asked to answer questions to share their experience with methods for the detection of soluble salts on or available to steel surfaces, as well as remediation. 

“We welcome participation from the entire steel structure painting industry,” said J. Peter Ault P.E., Elzly senior consultant and principal investigator on the project. “It is not restricted to the highway industry.”

The survey is expected to take 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Time will vary based on each respondent’s experience with salt detection and remediation.

Project Background, Objectives

According to the project page, the TRB is interested in why and how protective coatings tend to fail in localized areas of steel highway structures.

Additionally, while detection and remediation of soluble salts can extend the service life of protective coatings, it acknowledges that current test methods may not effectively characterize soluble salt levels affecting steel surfaces—for instance, failing to take into account concentrations that collect in pits.

Also of interest is the identification of practical, effective surface preparation methods to mitigate localized “hot spots” before coatings are applied. The TRB notes that pressure washing, abrasive blasting or a combination of the two may not be effective in removing soluble salt "hot spots."

iStock/StanRohrer
© iStock.com / StanRohrer

Your participation in the short Soluble Salt Detection and Remediation Survey will aid in the agency’s collection of information on the topic. The survey closes in mid February.

Effective detection and remediation of soluble salt contamination are essential to maximizing the life of structural steel protective coatings, the TRB says.

The stated objectives of this study are to:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of existing and new methods for detecting the location, distribution and concentration of soluble salts on or available to steel highway structures;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of existing and new remediation methods for soluble salts;
  • Based on the outcomes of the first two objectives, propose effective practices, specifications or methods in AASHTO [American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials] standard format for detection and remediation of soluble salts; and
  • Develop training materials for the design, specification and field application of the detection and remediation methods by steel structure owners.

In this research, the term “salt” includes those of chloride, sulfate, nitrate and other adverse ions. The term “new” includes improvements to existing methods.

The project is currently in Phase 1.

More information: J. Peter Ault P.E., 856-839-2434, www.elzly.com

   

Tagged categories: AASHTO; Elzly Technology Corporation; Industry surveys; North America; Quality Control; Research; Soluble salts; Surface preparation; Transportation Research Board (TRB)

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