January 31

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6 Things All Pipeline Operators Must Know About Polyurea Pipeline Coatings

Polyurea coatings have been used in the pipeline industry for many years. They offer a number of benefits over other types of coatings, but they also have their limitations.

If you're a pipeline operator responsible for maintaining pipelines, it's vital that you know just what you're dealing with and how these coatings can help you protect your pipeline infrastructure.

To help you get a better understanding of polyurea coatings, we've answered some of your most frequently asked questions below.

1. What are polyurea coatings made of?

Polyurea coatings are elastomer substances created from step-growth polymerization, which is a process that combines isocyanate reactive materials with synthetic resin. This polymerization process is what gives polyurea its pigmentation, moisture, and flame resistance.

2. What's the difference between polyurea, epoxy, and polyurethane?

It's easy to get the terminology mixed up. The most important differences to note between these materials is that polyurea is highly superior when it comes to abrasion, moisture, UV, temperature, and chemical resistance when compared to epoxy coatings. It also cures faster. 

When compared to polyurethane, polyurea exhibits greater chemical and moisture resistance as well as durability. 

3. What are the advantages of polyurea coatings?

There are several advantages that polyurea pipeline coatings offer over other types of coatings. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Resistance to corrosion and abrasion damage
  • Elasticity and flexibility
  • Great at bonding to various surfaces, including cement, wood, metals, and concrete
  • Resistance to UV light, temperature, and weathering
  • Fast curing time
  • Can withstand extremely high tensile strength
  • Chemical, oil, salt, and scratch resistance
  • Quick cure time depending on its formulation
  • Finely controlled coating thickness

These properties make polyurea an ideal choice for protecting pipelines from corrosion and other damage. It also helps make the coating resistant to environmental factors such as temperature and weathering.

4. What are the disadvantages of polyurea coatings?

While polyurea coatings offer a number of benefits, they also have a few limitations. Some of the key disadvantages include:

  • If the coating is set without adequate wetting time, it may not adhere to the substrate properly, and this can be difficult to manage.
  • Certain polyurea coatings, like aromatic polyurea, can react to UV radiation and change colors or chalk up. This is a pitfall for applications that need to be aesthetically pleasing. In these cases, aliphatic polyurea coatings should be used.
  • Applying polyurea requires trained specialists.

These limitations should be considered when selecting a coating for your pipeline. Always consult with a coating specialist to determine if polyurea is the best choice for your application.

5. How are polyurea coatings applied?

Polyurea coatings can be applied via high pressure hot spray, low pressure cold spray, warm spray coating, and other methods. Spray application allows the coating to be quickly and evenly applied to the surface of the pipeline.

As previously mentioned, this application must be done by a trained specialist, so it's important to consult with one before starting your project.

6. Where can these coatings be applied?

Polyurea coatings can be applied to a variety of surfaces, including metal, concrete, and wood. They are particularly well-suited for applications in industries where there is a risk of corrosion or damage, such as:

  • Pipelines and irrigation systems,
  • Healthcare,
  • Material handling,
  • Steel and concrete,
  • Defense and security.
  • Automotive, and more.

At Mark Tool & Rubber, our experienced professionals are highly trained in all things pipeline coatings. We offer rubber, urethane, SplashTRON, and ThermoTRON protective coatings to shield your offshore structures from all things corrosion. Contact us today to request a quote!

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