Anti-Corrosion Polyurea Elastomer Coatings

July 1, 2010

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Polyurea elastomeric coatings are slowly gaining popularity because of their unique capability to withstand corrosion.   In these times of intense public awareness about environmental degradation and the subsequent concern for its safety, polyurea elastomer coatings are some of the most environment-friendly coatings on the market.  A fast-curing ability and excellent damage resistance add to the advantages of this coating system.  

Why are polyurea elastomer coatings unique and what are the benefits that can be derived from using them?  Their advantages are listed below:

1.  Urea systems contain zero VOCs in their composition.  This is because these coating systems are 100% solid formulations.  As such, no toxic emissions are released to the environment during coatings preparation, mixing, application and disposal.  Coatings applicators are not threatened with caustic chemical exposure or harmful fumes inhalation.

2.  A fast reaction between urea components of these elastomer coatings inhibits the intrusion of water vapor during the reaction process.  Because of this, the polyurea elastomer coatings can be applied to moist surfaces with minimal adverse consequences.

3.  Polyurea elastomers are highly-resistant against abrasive impacts and chemical exposure.  They are also flexible and tough even when exposed to high temperatures.  

Applications of Anti-Corrosive Polyurea Elastomer Coatings

Because of the unique capabilities of polyurea elastomer coatings, they perform well in coating projects that require the installation of effective protective systems.  Some of the successful applications of these coatings are outlined below:

1.  Storage and open-structure lining.  The quick-curing ability of polyurea elastomeric coatings work well in steel tanks, pipes, marine facilities, and bridges, among others.  

2.  Abrasion protection.  Polyurea elastomer coatings exhibit structural elasticity in varying temperatures.  They also resist heavy physical impacts and constant wear and tear.  This makes them particularly useful in painting industrial vehicles and equipments.

3.  Chemical damage tolerance.  Polyurea elastomeric coatings provide excellent protection against chemical stings, acidic and mineral corrosion.  This harsh environment is often found in waste water treatment facilities.   

4.  Concrete applications.  Polyurea elastomeric coatings can be applied in varying film thickness and consistency.  They can be used on concrete walls, decks, roofs or floors.  

Limitations of Polyurea Elastomeric Coatings

Some of the beneficial properties offered by polyurea elastomeric coatings also pose certain disadvantages in certain cases.  Below are some of these limitations:

1.  Since polyurea coatings have a fast reaction and curing time, the target substrate may not achieve proper surface wetness.  This can result in poor coatings adhesion.

2.  Polyurea elastomeric coatings are reactive to UV radiation.  Using them as top coats may lead to surface discoloration and chalking, not suitable for aesthetic applications.

3.  Polyurea coatings cannot be applied directly in underwater applications.  Despite their good performance in moist environments, direct application in water-logged conditions will result in coatings failure.

4.  Specialized skills and equipment are required to apply polyurea elastomeric coatings.  Only special sprayers that work in high temperature and pressure can be used during coating application.  The use of these special equipment requires the right degree of application skill, which can be gained from training.

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