Coatings and Corrosion Laboratory


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Purpose: The mission of the Coatings and Corrosion Laboratory is to develop and analyze the effectiveness of innovative coatings test procedures while evaluating the durability of new coating systems, especially environmentally compliant materials for the corrosion protection of steel bridges.

Description: The Coatings and Corrosion Laboratory tests numerous durable and environmentally compliant bridge coatings using both accelerated laboratory tests and natural outdoor exposure. The laboratory also develops innovative cyclic laboratory test methods for evaluating bridge coating performance and highly reproducible techniques for evaluating coating failures. In addition, it assists State departments of transportation (DOTs) to solve a variety of bridge coating problems and recommends appropriate coatings for different environmental conditions.

Special Capabilities: The Coatings and Corrosion Laboratory performs the following types of activities.

  • Produces essential bridge coating performance data for DOTs.
  • Develops reliable laboratory test methods to study the performance of various bridge coatings.
  • Develops rapid forensic analytical techniques for identifying bridge coating type and determining causes of field coating failures.
  • Develops easy-to-use and quantitative methods for measuring coating failures.
  • Measures coating mechanical properties by various physical test methods.
  • Characterizes paint composition using various wet chemistry methods, scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive analysis and other spectroscopic techniques.
  • Performs American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHTO) standard paint tests.
  • Determines toxicities of bridge coatings and their disposal options.
  • Detects early coating failures using microscopic and spectroscopic techniques.
  • Determines chloride concentrations on steel and coating surfaces.
  • Investigates wetting properties of paint materials on substrates using contact angle measurement system.
  • Determines presence and rate of corrosion, and moisture content of coating prior to corrosion using nondestructive electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS).

Services: The Coatings and Corrosion Laboratory performs the following services.

  • Assist State DOTs in selecting durable coatings that perform well in different environmental conditions.
  • Recommend rapid and effective physical and chemical techniques to State DOTs and industries to identify causes for coating failures.
  • Serve on the quality assurance/quality control team for the AASHTO/NTPEP.
  • Serve on task group "Scanning Techniques" in the ASTM D01.25 subcommittee on Evaluation of Weathering Effects.
  • Present up-to-date coating research to the Society for Protective Coatings conference, AASHTO/National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) Steel Bridge Collaboration meeting, and Transportation Research Board meeting.
  • Assist in solution preparations and sample analyses for other groups within TFHRC.

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