Fluoropolymer topcoats help bridges stand test of time

Bridges are a major part of our global infrastructure, yet are constantly exposed to environmental onslaughts from the weather and heavy-duty wear and tear. The paint system is required to provide essential protection whilst retaining colour and good looks for many years.

Modern research and thinking are highlighting the essential part that paint topcoats play in extending paint system life-cycles.  It is becoming very evident that new fluoropolymer paint topcoat technology is a far greater scientific advance than originally thought.

With exceptional strength and superior flexibility, legendary colour and gloss retention, FEVE fluoropolymer topcoats encapsulate and protect their underlying primer coats and offer a paint system with a design life of up to sixty years duration to major re-coat.  Moreover, they are extremely user-friendly to apply using conventional application equipment, brush or roller.  The secret of their invincibility lies in the brilliant molecular engineering.  Fluorine atoms have been introduced into the resin molecules, replacing some of the hydrogen atoms. The resulting increased bond energy within the molecules render the fluoropolymer topcoats virtually inert to UV degradation.  It is clear that ultraviolet radiation is public enemy number one of all paint topcoats.

There are huge life-cycle cost savings to be made as well.  On a recent evaluation for the Scottish Forth Road Bridge, it was estimated that using a fluoropolymer topcoat system would increase the project budget by less than 1%, but offer a 58% life-cycle cost-saving, to say nothing of the reduction in environmental impact.

This ground-breaking technology was developed in Japan in the mid-1980’s and live case studies have been meticulously monitored for over thirty-five years.  It is now mandatory for all government-owned Japanese bridges to be topcoated with a fluoropolymer topcoat.  A stunning example is the Akashi-Kaikyou bridge – which was the longest suspension bridge in the World when it opened in 1998.  It has a design life of 120 years and one planned major re-coat for 2058.

Then there is the Aura Boulevard Bridge, on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Bathed in the area’s trademark sunshine and humidity year-round, this bridge is a glowing example of how a FEVE fluoropolymer topcoat can withstand the harshest of UV exposure.

The vast roof of the Ferrari Theme Park in Abu Dhabi required a bright red topcoat that would withstand extreme heat, UV exposure and sand storms – they chose a fluoropolymer topcoat.  It looks virtually as good now as the day it was first coated.

Other bridges globally include Tokyo’s iconic Kiyosu Bridge, The New York Hell Gate Bridge, Oklahoma Skydance Bridge and many more examples in the USA.

Fluoropolymer is distinctly a global performer allowing application in world-wide climatic conditions and always offering outstanding longevity together with colour and gloss retention.

Taken from – https://www.aicoatings.com.au/fluoropolymer-topcoats-help-great-bridges-stand-the-test-of-time/