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Achieving Efficiencies

with Coatings and Linings Work

in Gulf Coast Environments

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock, Inc.

n contrast to inland environments, devel-

exposures; and 4) spray-applied thermal insula-

application process. Newer lining materials

oping scopes of work for coating and

tion as a permanent solution to the corrosion

that cure in less than 24 hours can significant-

lining storage tanks at oil and gas termi-

that occurs under standard insulation and

ly reduce the costs of renting this equipment

nals on the U.S. Gulf Coast requires


over the course of a project, and positively

influence inspection time frames as well as the

attention to the challenges of frequent

rain, high heat and high humidity. The pres-

Internal Linings

overall project schedule, while still maintaining

ence of pervasive moisture and heat calls for

From a macro viewpoint, standard-cure tank lin-

a very high level of corrosion protection.

the availability of expertise when selecting the

ing materials are a sound choice for protecting

Fast RTS tank linings can handle a broad

appropriate products to keep the project on

the internal floors and shell walls of most tanks

spectrum of cargos within the petrochemical

track and within budget, and most important-

in immersion service. These materials are easy

segment including ambient temperature crude

ly, to provide outstanding corrosion protection

to apply, cure to service in approximately five

oil, gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, kerosene and

to critical plant assets.

to seven days and generally perform well.

ethanol. These linings are most commonly

This article will discuss the latest coating

However, in certain instances, putting tanks

medium-film materials (20 to 60 mils DFT)

technologies for protecting all parts of petro-

back into service the same day or overnight

available in amine, phenolic and novolac

chemical storage tanks situated in these

makes economic sense, and coastal environ-

resins. The resins are sometimes combined

coastal settings. We will examine: 1) a fast

ments can present such a scenario.

with micaceous iron oxide and/or glass

return to service (RTS) tank lining; 2) a new

In Gulf Coast settings, dehumidification

flake/ceramic beads in order to enhance cor-

approach for protecting a tanks floating roof

equipment and, in winter, heating equipment,

from ponding water; 3) a high-throughput

must be supplied by the contractor to maintain

Fast RTS tank lining materials, many of

polyaspartic urethane coating for atmospheric

required environmental parameters during the

which are self-priming, are applied with plural

32 JPCL December 2014 / paintsquare.com

rosion protection.

By Ron Knecht, Regional Market Segment Director,

Oil & Gas, North America, The Sherwin-Williams Company
component spray equipment, utilizing two pro-

and condensate. The welded carbon steel

DFT. These systems are normally applied over

portioned pumps (standard-cure materials use

roof is designed so that the roof floats on the

multiple days and project schedules are often

only one), heated hoppers and spray lines, and

commodity and rises and falls based on the

impacted by the fast-developing rain prevalent

a mixing manifold setup.

level of the liquid in the tank. Thus the vapor

on the Gulf Coast.

Utilizing plural component equipment and

applying the lining in only one coat minimizes
the time, expense and environmental disposal

space is minimized, reducing the evaporative

and volatile emissions into the atmosphere.
In the Gulf Coast region, rainwater will col-

However, nowadays owners are seeking

solutions to achieve a 20-year service life for
their external floating roof coatings. One

cost created with the multiple equipment sol-

lect and pond in the low areas of the roof.

option is to improve the coating system and

vent flushings necessary with conventional

When combined with the fallout from the adja-

the barrier protection by increasing the DFT to

cure systems. While this equipment is becom-

cent refinery or chemical processing facility,

20 mils with a medium-film coating system.

ing more common in contractor service offer-

and exposure to UV rays, a severe corrosive

ings, it does require an onsite foreman and

condition is activated.

Adding additional DFT brings with it extra

considerations. The performance of the coat-

crew trained in the distinctive application techniques involved.

A separate issue is the condition of the tank
bottoms, i.e., whether the substrates are heavily pitted or new. It is important to note that in
hot weather (above 90 F), the substantially
shorter dry times of fast RTS materials must
be factored in, in order to allow open time for
the product to flow into and fill all pitted areas
without producing excessive holidays and discontinuities.
Ultimately, the expense of heat and dehumidification is making owners receptive to the
idea of fast RTS tank lining materials. It can be
a game-changer option for owners accustomed to standard-cure materials that may
require weeks to put tanks into service, and it
reduces the cost of onsite inspectors who will
be able to oversee repairs and final inspections within a much shorter time frame.

External Floating Roofs

Because of its attributes, the fast RTS tank lin-

Pictured is the newly finished interior of a crude oil storage tank where a routine inspection
revealed a significantly degraded floor. The owner did not have time to wait for standard linings to
cure, so a fast return to service lining was specified. Photo courtesy of Sherwin-Williams.

In traditional external floating roof new con-

ing system at an elevated temperature range

ing system is increasingly being employed to

struction and maintenance, a thin-film two-

cannot be compromised in any way, and the

prolong the service life of a tanks external

coat system of an immersion-grade epoxy

heat of the commodity can raise the floating

floating roof. External floating roof storage

has been the standard in the oil and gas

roof temperature to as much as 130 to 140 F.

tanks are utilized at terminals and refineries to

industry. The coating is applied at 5 to 6 mils

Therefore, the coating system will require

store petroleum products such as crude oil

DFT per coat with a total of 10 to 12 mils

application capability at this temperature.

paintsquare.com / JPCL December 2014 33

Coatings Work in Gulf Coast Environments

External Cone Roof/Shell System

them with light metal jackets to protect insula-

applying the product on a hot steel substrate

The qualifications for coating systems for a

tion from elements and minimize moisture

intended for ponding water service, specifica-

tanks external shell and cone roof in a Gulf


tion considerations include application condi-

Coast environment are also in a state of evo-

tions and the flexibility of the product, as well

lution. The industry standard for dealing with

when dry, loses much of its thermal insulating

as the need to address coating edge retention

the high humidity, salt spray and rain of these

properties once it is permeated with moisture.

on the weld seams to avoid premature corro-

settings has been the three-coat

Frequent rains and high-humidity conditions pro-

sion, ensuring the single coat will provide the

zinc/epoxy/urethane system. However, over

vide endless moisture which infiltrates either as

same degree of coverage as it would on the

the past few years new materials have been

liquid or water vapor under the insulation

flat surfaces.

developed that are extremely moisture toler-

cladding, saturating the insulation material. The

ant, provide quick dry-to-handle times and

result can be catastrophic in its effects, and is

offer superior corrosion protection.

known as corrosion under insulation (CUI).

In addition to ensuring the suitability of

It should also be noted that because it will

take several days for the entire roof to be
blast cleaned and fully primed, the substrate

Polyaspartic urethane resin technology pro-

Conventional insulation, while very efficient

Two problems are set in motion here: first,

must be protected for the duration of the pro-

vides a coating with the long-term corrosion

the insulation value is greatly diminished as the

ject as work is completed each day. To pre-

resistance and exterior durability of a conven-

air in the insulation material is replaced by water

serve the blast-cleaned substrate over the

tional urethane finish coat with dry-to-handle

which is exponentially higher in thermal conduc-

course of those days, a fast-drying epoxy

times the market hasnt previously seen.

tivity. Second, the moisture combines with air-

primer or organic zinc-rich epoxy primer is

These next generation coatings are capable

borne chemicals and salt as well as the insula-

applied at 2 to 2.5 mils DFT.

of application to 9 mils DFT in a single coat,

tion material itself to become an ideal electrolyte

and cure to be rain resistant, even in high

for corrosion cells to form on the asset sub-

humidity, in as little as one hour.

strate. This corrosive activity is hidden, and

A fast-cure 100% volume solids edge retentive epoxy applied with plural component
spray equipment is utilized as the finish coat.

For light to moderately corrosive environ-

Also required is a stripe coat of the finish coat

ments, these coatings are available as single-

substrate has occurred. To combat this safety

on the weld seams and edges prior to apply-

coat direct-to-metal (DTM) one-coat formula-

and reliability issue, expensive spot inspection

ing the finish coat. The fast RTS coating can

tions. In the highly corrosive Gulf Coast envi-

for CUI is often employed.

be exposed to foot traffic in as little as one

ronment, they may be applied in one coat

hour and cure-to-service is eight to 24 hours.

over either an organic or inorganic zinc

spray-applied, non-clad thermal insulative coat-

This condensed curing schedule versus the

primer after abrasive blasting to provide the

ings that provide a monolithic barrier to water,

conventional multi-coat/multi-day system sig-

total system thickness and performance pre-

chemicals, UV rays and heat transfer. They also

nificantly diminishes the risk of weather-

viously only obtainable by installing the stan-

provide personnel burn protection, thermal insu-

induced project delays. As with the interior lin-

dard premium three-coat zinc/epoxy/urethane

lation for energy conservation, condensation

ing application, the fast dry times allow for


control and protection from radiant solar

expediting the holiday inspection procedure.

Elimination of one coat of the conventional

often not discovered until full rust-through of the

Increasingly, owners are opting to install


Flexibility is also a key criterion for the float-

system potentially removes several days and

Formulated from waterborne acrylic resins

ing roof coating system. The steel plates on a

significant labor cost from the painting sched-

with ceramic and glass beads or microspheres

floating roof will exhibit movement and the

ule, and the fast-cure properties of the polyas-

that minimize energy transfer through the film

coating system must have enough inherent

partic urethanes include early moisture resis-

due to its high air content, these coatings

elongation properties to prevent cracking and

tance, greatly diminishing the risk of rain or

adhere to the underlying primer and prevent

premature coating failure, particularly at the

fog damaging the freshly painted finish coat.

water or moist air from corroding the steel. The

increased 20 mil DFT.

air content is so high in these coatings that the

Thermal Insulation

weight of a liquid gallon is only about 5 to 6

tem should be inspected for holidays and

In most petrochemical facilities, tanks, piping

pounds, with much of that weight evaporating

properly repaired. The 100% volume solids

and valves in hot service are insulated by

out during the drying process.

epoxy finish coats for touching up holidays

preparing and priming the steel, wrapping

can be supplied in a brush grade version or

them with insulation materials such as mineral

system, spray-applied insulative coatings can be

are available in plural component cartridges.

wool or calcium silicate, and then cladding

monitored for corrosion and maintained like any

After the final application, the coating sys-

34 JPCL December 2014 / paintsquare.com

Because there is no cladding involved in the

other external coating system. Thermal insula-

term performance. Unlike conventional insu-

short-term scheduling and over the assets

tive values will remain constant and pre-

lation, this system will repel water and mois-


dictable. This means that assets insulated with

ture vapor and maintain its original insulat-

this modern system can be removed from the

ing properties in any weather condition. With

About the Author

expensive CUI monitoring protocol.

an unlimited recoat window, maintenance

Ron Knecht is Regional Market Segment

personnel can handle periodic repair and

Director, Oil & Gas, North America, for The

Thermal insulative coatings can be sprayapplied on surfaces operating at up to 350 F

touch-up, and the system can be washed to


over primers that are either zinc-rich (organic

remove dirt, mildew and other surface cont-

Company. He has held

or inorganic), high-temperature-resistant epox-


various positions at
Sherwin-Williams since

ies or multipolymeric matrix silicones. All three

of these primer technologies can perform well



depending on expected temperature, the sur-

Within the oil and gas market segment, own-

specializing in protective

face preparation that could be attained and

ers, specifiers and coating contractors can

coatings in the oil and

the application technique available. They are

benefit from being aware of the latest trends

gas market since 1993.

also less labor intensive and safer to apply

in protective coatings in order to extend asset

He has been a member of NACE and SSPC

than conventional clad insulation.

life and achieve efficiencies in application and

for more than 20 years and is a NACE Level

maintenance. Updating coating and lining

3 Certified Coating Inspector. He holds a

the coatings are applied in multiple fast-dry-

specifications to include materials that will

Bachelor of Science degree in business man-

ing coats, then finished with a chemical and

accommodate typical Gulf Coast weather con-

agement from Oklahoma State University. JPCL

moisture-resistant acrylic topcoat for long-

ditions can pay significant dividends, both in

To achieve the desired thermal properties,

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paintsquare.com / JPCL December 2014 35