A report has been published recently comparing the abrasion resistance of conventional vinyl-based coating systems, polymer with polymer matrix composite coatings, fibrous polymer coatings, and ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE).

There is an increased demand for abrasive wear-resistant coatings that add durability to steel hydraulic structures, particularly for those subjected to flowing water with debris and alternate wet/dry cycles. These coating systems provide not only corrosion and chemical resistance, but also good erosion and abrasion resistance to the metallic surfaces, which are constantly exposed to flowing water containing sand particles and debris. Generally, vinyl-based coatings are used on hydraulic steel structures to protect them from corrosion and abrasion.

This new study, by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, evaluated the abrasion of six coating systems using a reciprocating abrader under dry and wet conditions. The wettability of the coating systems and its effect on the wear rate under the presence of water was also studied. In addition, scanning electron microscopy of the wear tracks on different coatings was conducted to study and identify their failure mechanisms.

Based on the results, UHMWPE and polymer–ceramic composite coatings were found to perform significantly better than the conventional vinyl-based coatings.

The study was published in the Journal of Coatings Technology and Research, Volume 17 (2020).