Eliminate Stripe Coating with TESLAN

The Challenge: Edge Retention

When it comes to protective coatings, one of the biggest challenges of the application process is the principle of edge retention. Loosely defined, edge retention is the notion of sufficient, evenly distributed coating thickness over sharp edges and inside of crevices. These shapes are incredibly common in steel structures, in the form of welded joints, angle steel, and many more.

These corners, while not necessarily difficult to apply a coating to, tend to be the source of many offshore paint system failures. Why is that?

The application itself isn’t the issue. The answer instead lies in the geometry of corners and how those shapes affect the drying patterns of coating systems. When it comes to corners and crevices, the geometry of the substrate directly influences the surface tension of the coating as it dries.

As the applied protective coating dries, tension begins to build across its surface. On a flat or gently curved area, this is perfectly acceptable. The coating hardens and provides a smooth, consistent coating film with sufficient thickness to perform as anticipated.

The issue arises in the surface tension that builds in the areas surrounding corners. As tension increases across the coating, it will begin to retract from any edge, as edges create a point of high tension. As a result, the coating becomes thin on the area around the edge and especially on the edge itself. Even with multiple coats, achieving sufficient edge retention proves to be persistently difficult.

Many have tried to address edge retention in protective offshore paint systems, but ultimately, few have succeeded.

Stripe Coating: Answer or Issue?

A number of ideas have been proposed to address the challenge of edge retention. Some even suggest modifications to the geometry of the workpiece itself. While making adjustments to round off edges can definitely improve the consistency of coating thickness across a workpiece, this idea becomes highly impractical when applied on large-scale industrial equipment, with an immense addition to labor and subsequent downtime spent.

The most widely adopted practice meant to improve edge retention is the much more accessible process of stripe coating.

Stripe coating involves applying a preliminary coat only to areas of difficulty, namely edges, crevices, and joints. Essentially, single stripes of the coating are applied to just the edges: hence, the name “stripe coating”. It does not require any additional skilled labor or special equipment; application can be completed simply with a brush. Brush application is actually preferred to other methods, as the motion of the bristles forces the coating into tight crevices. This ensures that all irregular geometries are adequately coated to maximize coating effectiveness.

The aim of this application method is to increase the film thickness of protective coatings on the complex geometry of steel structures. However, it is commonly known across the coatings industry that stripe coating does not always yield the desired results. The application, while simple, is painstakingly time consuming. Often, the labor cost of a stripe coating is approximately the same as that of a full coat- and the results are just not worth the labor and time spent. Offshore paint systems still fail in the same areas that they always have; and these disappointing results come at the cost of additional labor, operational downtime during the application process, and the need for maintenance to address coating failures still remains.

With two potential approaches- change the structures or change the coatings- scientists and engineers at Tesla NanoCoatings began developing a new coating technology to not only simplify the application process, but improve the protective qualities of offshore paint systems as well.

The Solution: TESLAN with Carbon Nanotube Technology

The fruit of Tesla NanoCoatings’ labor is the protective coating line that we know today as TESLAN. TESLAN coatings have been meticulously engineered to apply easily and effectively- especially on edges and challenging geometries.

With edge retention being such a prominent issue in the coatings industry, Tesla NanoCoatings set out to address it head-on. As a result, all TESLAN coatings are engineered with the latest carbon nanotechnology to deliver exceptional edge retention.

What makes the technology behind TESLAN so effective is the inclusion of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) suspended within the epoxy. While other epoxy coatings contract from the surface tension that arises near edges throughout the drying process, TESLAN coatings work differently thanks to those CNTs.

CNTs are made up of carbon molecules which are bonded to form small, tubular structures. These nano-scale tubes are naturally attracted to each other in a way that allows them to self-align within the coating while it is still wet. As the CNTs align, they form a network similar to rebar, which acts as a support system for the surrounding epoxy. This allows TESLAN products to consistently display edge retention the likes of which have never been seen before.

The best part: the use of carbon nanotubes in our products completely eliminates the need for stripe coating.

By eliminating the stripe coating process altogether, TESLAN is the quick, effective solution that offshore asset owners and oil companies worldwide have been waiting for.

With the CNT network providing structure throughout the entire coating, TESLAN products are able to display a level of edge retention that is nothing short of exceptional. See for yourself.

A Better Offshore Paint System: CNT Technology at Work

We demonstrated a selection of TESLAN primers and topcoats using three different application methods: MIL-PRF-23236D, NACE TM0304, and framing steel. The following images exhibit the astounding edge retention that is only made possible through our patented technology.

Edge Retention of TESLAN Zn-CNT Primers

TESLAN primers displayed 103% edge retention on average- far exceeding the capability of any other coatings on the market.

Edge Retention of TESLAN 3100 CNT Epoxy Coating

Our epoxy topcoats exhibited 100% edge retention on several different samples with varying application techniques.

CNT technology truly places TESLAN coatings leagues above other offshore paint systems. With superior edge retention AND unmatched durability, TESLAN provides the fastest ROI- and priceless peace of mind.

To learn more about the technologies that define Tesla NanoCoatings, visit our About Page. If you’re interested in utilizing our quick coatings in your offshore, marine, or midstream operations, contact us today.