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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Liquid Epoxy Specifications

Thin Epoxy
What is wrong with this picture?
     One of the potential hazards of installing a liquid epoxy as a field joint coating is that it can be difficult to control the thickness of the coating.  Some epoxies go on thicker than others (in a single coat).  Some installers can install thicker than others.  Weather conditions (heat) can affect the thickness of the coating.

     There are a lot of things that can go wrong, which is why it is imperative that the project specification dictates a minimum field joint coating thickness for liquid epoxy coated joints.  In the above photo, this field joint is coated with a liquid epoxy that isn't even as thick as the factory applied FBE (the evidence is that the FBE step down is so highly visible).  If this pipeline gets buried like this, it won't even last a month in the ground (not to mention the fact that it probably wouldn't even survive holiday detection).  In addition, the weld bead is still has some spots where air bubbles prevented a homogenous coating.

     Since this pipeline is near my home, I am sure hoping that they came back in and put several more layers on this field joint.  I'm also hoping that the end user specified a minimum thickness - and that the contractor and inspector are vigilant in their efforts to make sure this line isn't buried until every inch of its coating has been inspected.  Like most coatings; liquid epoxies certainly have their place, but only if the installers and inspectors are taking their jobs as seriously as they need to.

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