Experiences with Thermal Spray Zinc Duplex Coatings on Road Bridges
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Road bridges are typically designed with a 100-year lifetime, so protective coatings with very long durability are desired. Thermal spray zinc (TSZ) duplex coatings have proven to be very durable. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) has specified TSZ duplex coatings for protection of steel bridges since 1965. In this study, the performance of TSZ duplex coatings on 61 steel bridges has been analyzed. Based on corrosivity measurements on five bridges, a corrosivity category was estimated for each bridge in the study. Coating performance was evaluated from pictures taken by the NPRA during routine inspections of the bridges. The results show that very long lifetimes can be achieved with TSZ duplex coatings. There are examples of 50-year old bridges with duplex coatings in good condition. Even in very corrosive environments, more than 40-year old coatings are still in good condition. While there are a few bridges in this study where the coating failed after only about 20 years, the typical coating failures are due to application errors, low paint film thickness and saponification of the paint. Modern bridge designs and improved coating systems are assumed to increase the duplex coating lifetime on bridges even further.