FAQs: Testing for Paints & Coatings

Most coatings tested by SOCOTEC are ‘performance coatings’, designed to protect steelwork for long periods of time. Typically, coatings are used for fabricated steelworks such as bridges, off shore rigs, and other structures. As the coatings are exposed to harsh environmental conditions, such as on the road network or coastal/marine environments, it is important to ensure the products will last.

Why do paints & coatings need to be tested and/or inspected?

Most coatings tested by SOCOTEC are ‘performance coatings’, designed to protect steelwork for long periods of time. Typically, coatings are used for fabricated steelworks such as bridges, off shore rigs, and other structures. As the coatings are exposed to harsh environmental conditions, such as on the road network or coastal/marine environments, it is important to ensure the products will last.

To guarantee performance in the field, the coatings undergo an approval process and new products require certification.

Coatings may fail for various reasons, including: incorrect products used or poorly applied coatings. To understand the reason for failure, SOCOTEC can provide inspection to coatings in situ in order to recommend to clients how best to rectify the issue.

Additionally, paints in their ‘wet’ form are tested to ensure they meet specification for quality assurance reasons.

 

What’s the method for testing?

The methods of testing vary and SOCOTEC’s extensive list of UKAS tests can be found here.

To replicate real life situations, most testing relies on artificial accelerated laboratory methods. Examples for this include:

  • Neutral salt spray exposure mimics the exposure of products in high chloride environments, such as by the sea or on salt gritted roads
  • UV exposure provides accelerated light exposure testing to assess degradation of the coating

 

To test the durability and simulate day to day use on products, physical testing such as impact and scratch tests can be done. For ‘wet’ paints, SOCOTEC is able to perform many different analysis methods, in order to give our clients confidence in the product they are using. 

 

What is the difference between paints & coatings?

Within the industry, ‘coatings’ is a term used to define products that are applied to provide protection, which may refer to many different materials, such as paint, polymers or even metallic coatings.  ‘Paint’, in this industry, is generally industrial two-pack paint.

 

What paint & coatings services are offered by SOCOTEC?

SOCOTEC can conduct a wide range of testing and inspections on paints and coatings, namely:

  • site inspections and surveys
  • accelerated weathering testing
  • wet paint analysis testing
  • failure analysis
  • paint sampling for analysis

Other services we can provide are identifying toxic metals in paints, identifying the resin of coatings as well as testing and approving coatings to ensure they meet various standards and specifications.

 

For more information on SOCOTEC’s paint and coating testing services, please click here or contact us.