The advent of the metal age is a watershed moment that initiated human civilization. Before the discovery of metals, human beings led a nomadic existence of hunting and foraging. But the metal axes and other iron tools allowed them to clear out the forests, build small settlements in the villages, which eventually led to the creation of great ancient cities and citadels, some of which are standing tall even today!
Unfortunately, man’s fight against the natural forces of corrosion is also as old as the “discovery of metal”. The word corrosion comes from the Latin term “corrodere”, which means to “gnaw through”. The modern man studied the corrosive elements and forces of nature and invested time and money to develop chemicals and methods to keep a check on the corrosive process. Surface coating is one such alternative that helps across the industrial spectrum and is the most common technique to prevent corrosion.
How can surface coatings help with checking corrosion?
Surface coatings contain a mixture of synthetic polymers, paints, drying oils, varnishes and other products like additives that protect the surface from the environment. Upon curing or drying of the coating, a thin film-like layer is formed which works as a protective sheath for the base surface.
There is the large-scale industrial production of surface treatment coatings, especially of synthetic polymers based coatings. Industrial coatings are varying in numbers, and materials-based.
Types of surface coatings:
The specialized coatings are applicable for specific benefits in corrosion prevention, chemical corrosion, improving friction. It is highly popular in industries like aerospace, defence, marine, and automotive.
Electroplating technique is useful to change the surface properties of an object (like abrasion and lubricity) by depositing a layer of a specific metal. Electricity is used to deposit a layer of the specific metal on the surface of the material that needs protection.
Hot-dip galvanizing is another process that is highly cost-effective and has been around since the 1700s. It protects the steel surface from corrosion by creating a protective layer of zinc-iron alloy. It is essentially a diffusion process and makes use of molten zinc.
Powder coating is a dry finishing process which applies to a variety of industries like; agricultural equipment, windows and doors, balustrade, sports equipment, bollards, trailers and so on. Some premium-grade powders are Dulux and Akzo Nobel and they give a perfect finish to the surface.
Another common type of surface treatment method is called e-coat or Cathodic Electrophoretically deposited paint. It utilizes Zinc Phosphate pretreatment along with curing. The technique is capable of coating even the deep recessions of a complex surface.
Key benefits of applying surface coatings:
Complete protection against corrosive elements of the environment:
Air, water and fire are the major corroding elements of nature which are present in all the environments. For instance, corrosion is a costly problem for marine vessels due to water. A surface coating protects the surfaces from the water itself and algae deposits, which can result in huge losses to the marine department.
Increase in life and durability of metal:
A surface coating routine is crucial for the longevity of equipment. The coatings also improve surface cleanliness and give a shiny appearance. Techniques like a spray paint can also provide an aesthetic finish to the surfaces. The surface treatment is critical to assure the longevity of the metal surfaces, and durability of the metals.
Reduction in maintenance costs:
Maintenance is the key for equipment and metal components, especially the ones that are abrasion and corrosion-prone. Regular tests and surface coatings result in a massive reduction in expenses at a later stage. Whether it is the surface of a home window or water pipes, preventive measures are more cost-effective than the long-term losses that can be huge and disastrous.
Did you know that it is easier and cheaper to build infrastructure than to maintain it? Corrosion is a natural process that is bound to happen. The only thing to do is to prevent it from happening by investing in regular maintenance services like surface coatings, powder coatings, and timely corrosion tests.
Get in touch with the nearest corrosion testing specialists:
Corrosion test is a great way to keep a check on the rate of corrosion of a specific material or metal and to devise a strategy to reduce or eliminate the impact of corrosion.
In the end, the question is not whether or not you need to use surface coatings, the question to ask is why haven’t you already started?