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In the early 1960s the concept of cleaning/protecting steel surfaces was pioneered by the Steel Structures Painting Council (SSPC). The discovery was made that zinc could be transferred from the steel shot to the steel substrate during the cleaning operation in such a way that the onset of re-rusting was delayed significantly. This discovery prompted others to look at the potential which was offered by this particular technique.
Almost 20 years later Colebrand Ltd. decided to make use of zinc-coated abrasives as part of a program into the repair and protection of offshore structures. Colebrand research chemists were not satisfied with the results obtained with the then commercially available zinc-coated abrasives. As a result, work was undertaken to develop a new product which would be deemed acceptable for cleaning in the splash zone area and also for submerged steel structures. This paper examines the parameters involved in the selection of a suitable type of grit and an acceptable particle size range from those currently available for industrial use. Mention is also made of the selection of the binder used to bond the zinc to the surface of the grit. Details are given on laboratory and field trials and on aspects of health and safety when using zinc-coated abrasives. Finally, a case is made for the use of such materials in certain applications in industry.
steel, cleaning, protection, painting, zinc-coated adhesives, splash zone, salt spray adhesion
Technical Director, Colebrand Ltd., London,