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The Ubiquitous Coating: Industries Armor Against Chemicals, Corrosion

May 21, 2008
Coatings have been used for centuries in human history. In some of their basic, more practical functions, they have been used to gloss over wood to prevent rotting, or even used for food preservation-- say for instance brine and salt over meat to prevent spoilage. In this modern age coatings are quite chemically complex and are found in work nearly everywhere. From propane tank coatings to chemical resistant coatings of paint on military vehicles, their use is multifaceted.

Industrial Coatings Common to Us

One of the most common compounds that are used in industrial coatings is polyurethane and epoxy. You'll often find polyurethane in the construction industry made into a varnishes or epoxy.
Hardwood floors are commonly coated with epoxy to make them hard and scratch resistant. Wood varnishes with polyurethane are very common as well and are found in wood protection both indoor and outdoor. However it's not one of the strongest chemical resistant coatings out there, and will often need some form of additive to be affective in a chemical environment.

Another coating in industry that has probably one of the most common trade names is Teflon. Its chemical name is too big to really pass off commercially, but Teflon has found itself in many uses, both with individual and industrial sales. The coating is notable for being non-stick, but industry also values this as a chemical resistant coating that can be used in pipe and tank coatings as well due to its chemical inertness. It also reduces friction so the wear and energy consumption on machines is lessened.

Teflon has made some stand out performances. For instance it has been measured to have the lowest coefficient of friction among plastics against polished steel with a score of 0.1 or less. And because it has such a strong dielectric property it has been one of the top insulator coatings for cables.

Painted on Coatings

Coatings used in industry are often not so much for the esthetic purpose. Although they can have some pigments added to make them less drab or more blend in better to their natural surrounding, their main focus is to prevent structures from corroding or reacting with the chemicals they come in contact with.

One industry that routinely implements painted on coatings is the military. Since their vehicles are being made by a number of different metals and plastic compounds, they've created the standard coating finish called Chemical Agent Coating, or CARC.

Whether it is for the polycarbonate glass on a Hummer or the armor plate of a tank, coatings with the CARC criteria are standard.

More advancement in the manufacturing of coatings is being tested to avoid today's environmental problems such as carbon emissions and their link to global warming. The new field of painted coatings may include a good deal of inorganic "powders" added.
About the Author
Bower's Industrial (http://www.bowersindustrial.com) provides chemical resistant coatings that help protect industrial equipment in many different sectors. Anything from tank coatings to pipe linings Bowers has many high end coating products. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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