New Testbed Setup for Coatings
The Technical University of Denmark is developing new test methods for assessing the antifouling performance of maritime coatings.
According to PhD student Asger Lindholdt of the university’s chemical engineering department, currently applied testing methods do not always paint a realistic picture, as they only include testing of newly painted ships or they are only tested in a static environment that doesn’t account for the fact that the ships are moving most of the time.
In reality, the coating is exposed to many different marine environments, weathers and amounts of friction depending on how much, where and at which speed the ship is sailing.
Lindholdt and his colleagues have designed a raft that was placed in the murky waters of Denmark’s Roskilde Bay for an entire year. On the raft were cylinders with different coatings that spend approximately 60 percent of the time turning in order to simulate sailing, and approximately 40 percent of the time staying still to simulate the ship lying in harbor.
“I hope this new method will give paint companies a better opportunity to discover faults in the coatings during the early stages of testing and thereby provide their customers with more accurate guarantees,” says Lindholdt.
His supervisors, Professor Kim Dam-Johansen and Associate Professor Søren Kiil have 34 years of experience with coatings research between them. According to Kiil, the testing of coatings is quite a significant research area of the center.
“Another project that we completed this year was on blade coatings for windmills. In this project we designed and constructed an accelerated test method for rain erosion, and we were able to investigate the mechanisms underlying this complex phenomenon,” says Kiil.
The research center has recently started a large project in collaboration with FLSmidth and Hempel with support from Innovation Fund Denmark. In this collaboration, the researchers aim to design new accelerated test methods and coatings for the cement and mineral industries to meet challenges related to acids and abrasive particles as well as sticky raw materials such as moist clay and gypsum.
“Last, but not least, we are also getting into anticorrosive coatings for high pressure conditions which can be used in oil- and gas pipelines. In this regard, a flexible pilot plant for testing under such extreme conditions has been built and we are now starting to experiment with various gases,” says Kiil.
The annual costs related to corrosion and corrosion prevention have been estimated to make up a significant part of the gross national product in the Western world.
“This year, we have conducted projects on insulation coatings, which can ensure “safe-touch” properties for workers on chemical plants and reduce heat loss from pipes and process equipment,” says Kiil.
In the past, he has delivered important research into intumescent coatings that for instance can buy people precious time whenever a fire erupts.