High Performance Anticorrosion Coatings
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Published: May 2012
High-performance anticorrosion coatings are used to protect metal and concrete structures, tanks, pipes and processing equipment from deterioration caused by exposure to corrosive environments, including acid rain. These coatings are used chiefly in chemical plants, oil refineries, public utility works, pulp and paper mills, and other facilities; in addition, anticorrosion coatings are used to protect ships, offshore oil drilling rigs and production platforms, and other structures used in marine environments. Generally, the coatings are separated into two major markets:
- Industrial maintenance or protective coatings applied to structures in the oil and gas, petrochemical, paper mill, and power generation industries, as well as to bridges and water and waste treatment plants. Most of these coatings are applied to structures that are on land, but some are applied to offshore oil and gas rigs.
- Marine coatings applied to commercial ships, including freight carriers, tows, cruise ships, yachts and others.
The same types of coatings tend to be used in each market, and tend to be based mainly on epoxy, urethane and ethyl silicate, and to a lesser extent, acrylic, vinyl and chlorinated rubber binders. Epoxies account for around 40% of the global market; these coatings are noted for very good chemical and abrasion resistance and for excellent adhesion. Urethanes, accounting for 15% of consumption, display excellent color and gloss retention, good abrasion resistance and flexibility. Ethyl silicates are used mainly as binders for zinc dust; these inorganic zinc coatings form excellent primers, providing superior corrosion resistance to the surface. Vinyls and chlorinated rubber coatings provide good corrosion protection and are easily applied. Often, combinations of coatings are used.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of high-performance anticorrosion coatings:
Of the total market, protective/industrial maintenance coatings account for the largest share, at about 53%, marine coatings account for about 35%, offshore coatings for 7% and container coatings for 5%.
The protective/industrial maintenance coatings market is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 3%, particularly as a result of increased global oil and gas drilling and production activity. Also, there have been expansions in high-value infrastructure, especially in China and other parts of Asia. Growth in industrialized countries is lower because of decreasing investment in infrastructure.
The marine coatings market was very strong in 2004–2008, especially in China, the Republic of Korea and Japan. The marine coatings business peaked in 2009 as order books for new ship builds remained strong. The shipbuilding industry reached a state of oversupply in late 2011, and new orders slowed. Thus, marine paint demand for new ships is expected to stagnate until 2014. Recovery is expected around 2015–2016, but may be delayed because of the adverse economic conditions. The marine coatings market (new ships and repair) is expected to grow at only 2% annually for the next five years. The value of coatings has risen in recent years as new antifouling paints have been replacing lower-cost, but environmentally harmful, tin-containing coatings such as tributyltin (TBT) compounds.
After decreases in 2009–2010, the global offshore anticorrosion coatings market is expected to grow at reasonably good rates again in 2011–2016 as a result of high oil and gas prices and drilling activity, especially off the coasts of Brazil, Africa and certain areas of Asia. Consumption of coatings for wind turbines has been growing at a rapid pace. As many wind farms operate offshore, turbines must be coated with long-lasting durable finishes to withstand the harsh marine environment.
Overall, the global market is expected to grow at an average annual rate of about 3.5% during 2011–2016.