Investigating Rubberized Polysiloxane Coating Formulations to Improve Durability and Long-Term Performance.

Project ID: 23009
Principal Investigator: Allen Skaja
Research Topic: Repair and Maintenance
Funded Fiscal Years: 2023 and 2024
Keywords: None

Research Question

Can we combine technologies to improve the erosion and impact properties of polysiloxanes while maintaining excellent corrosion protection, weathering, and cathodic disbondment?

There are a few different approaches that can be taken to achieve better erosion and impact damage for polysiloxanes. However, increasing the flexibility usually means that the coating isn't as dense, and it decreases the barrier properties of the coating system. The challenge will be to balance the increased durability while maintaining the corrosion protection performance. To do this some polysulfide epoxies provide flexibility through the sulfur carbon bond, without decreasing the corrosion protection properties. Another potential approach is to use an aliphatic hydrophobic polymer (similar polymer used to make rubber tires) which will increase the flexibility and maintain the level of corrosion protection due to the hydrophobic nature.

Need and Benefit

Need: Coatings are the primary method for corrosion protection. Reclamation's metal infrastructure such as gates, pipelines, and valves are aging, and most of the original coatings are approaching the end of service life. High-performance coating systems are needed to provide long-term corrosion protection. Very few coating systems can match the performance level of vinyl coatings. A few polysiloxane formulations appear to provide similar corrosion protection properties, however, their impact and erosion properties are poor. As a result, these coatings would not be able to withstand environments with more severe exposure conditions. If successful, this research would provide a low cost, safe, long lasting, high performance alternative to vinyl coatings.

Urgency: USACE has provided $82,000 in funding to begin formulating rubberized polysiloxane coatings to increase the durability with the goals of finding an alternative coating to match the performance of vinyl. Delaying this research would result in longer time before finding an equivalent to vinyl and provide long-term corrosion protection.

If we can improve the erosion and impact properties of polysiloxanes without diminishing corrosion resistance, then an environmentally friendly and safe coating system that can provide equal performance to vinyl will be available. This means Reclamation would have a product that exceeds a 50+ year service life expectancy. Polysiloxanes have the potential to work in all service conditions including atmospheric, water immersion, splash zones, and impacted immersion, this makes polysiloxanes versatile and will work in many service conditions. This simplifies Reclamation's coating selection process and makes it easier for maintenance personnel to obtain excellent corrosion protection. Coating development using environmentally friendly options broadens the markets these coatings can be utilized in, thus reducing cost to the consumer by providing longer service lifetimes than epoxy or polyurethane coatings. Savings can be realized through longer times between maintenance and recoating infrastructure. In addition, longer lasting coatings prevent downtime and energy production losses. Polysiloxanes can be applied with fewer coats, do not have dry spray issues, and achieve the same level of performance when compared to other high-performance coating systems. This will save time and money during application, i.e. less labor during application. It is anticipated that the polysiloxanes would reduce the costs by $10,000 to $100,000 depending upon the size of the job. If these new polysiloxane coating formulations prove to be successful in lab testing, researchers would seek to perform a future field study to demonstrate the coatings benefit to Reclamation and the coatings industry as a whole.

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 6/22/20