Airport Business

MAY 2018

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

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MAINTENANCE MATTERS aircraft, thin film midcoats are added that will typically provide sufficient abrasion, chemical and UV resistance. But in hangars for heavier aircraft and maintenance, you'll want to consider a sand broadcast pigmented midcoat. This provides added protection from tire marks and heavy items being dropped. For the topcoat, a specialized urethane retains the color and high-gloss finish, while providing additional protection from tire marks, chemicals and UV. EXTERIOR As in non-public areas, the specific needs for coatings on an airport's exterior are as varied as their uses. Parking structures, walkways, exposed steel and exterior walls all have very different needs. These needs also vary by the climate. Airports in areas prone to wet, icy conditions have very different needs than those in more temperate or hot, dry weather zones. One of the areas where coatings are especially important is parking structures, which have to endure not only heavy vehicular traffic, but also the effects of water intrusion and often road salt. In these environments, water-based, low-VOC concrete sealers are recommended. Sealers like these are designed to withstand the elements while maintaining the look of the concrete. And, because parking structures need to be re-coated on occasion, their fast curing time means the surface is ready for use quickly. Another option, is a spray-applied polyurea. This is a thick-film elastomeric coating spray-applied with heated, high-pressure equipment. It has a very fast cure time, ready for foot traffic in under an hour and typically ready for vehicular service is just a few hours. Because these finishes require specialized surface preparation and application equipment, they're typically only cost effective in very large areas, but they can act as effective water-proofing membranes for many years. AIRPORT STRUCTURES Concrete floors aren't the only surfaces that benefit from the protection of coatings. Steel structures, jetways and interior and exterior concrete surfaces all have special coating needs. Many airports feature exposed steel beams and components on both the interior and exterior of the building. Typically, structural steel is painted prior to and during the original construction of the building. Given time, however, they begin to show the effects of UV and especially corrosion, if the structures are outdoors. Recoating infrastructure steel is a specialized and expensive process, so durability is the primary concern. The best coatings are those that will last decades, which is why a urethane topcoat is typically recommended instead of epoxy. While both work, urethanes or the more expensive fluoropolymer products offer longer service without chalking, fading or corrosion. Applied to either steel or concrete, urethane topcoats provide superior resistance to weather-related corrosion. However, there is another corrosive problem that affects some airports. Vandals. If you have a graffiti problem, there are specialized urethane coatings available that can be cleaned with aggressive solvents like acetone and MEK without damage to the topcoat. You'll clean away the spray paint yet keep the original glossy, colorful look afforded by these topcoats. Unlike other commercial facilities, airports and transportation terminals have a lot of different areas and zones that house very different, specialized processes. No one coating can provide the aesthetics, ease of maintenance, safety and durability for every zone. Although you may never be directly involved in the specification of coatings at your airport, the more you know about the capabilities different coatings have, the better you'll be able to ensure your airport is covered. For hangars primarily used for storage of light aircraft, thin film midcoats are added that will typically provide sufficient abrasion, chemical and UV resistance. Recoating infrastructure steel is a specialized and expensive process, so durability is the primary concern. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Lou Frank Lou Frank is a recognized expert in the coatings industry, notably as the founder of CoatingsPro magazine, an industry-leading publication now owned by NACE International. Today he leads CFI's business development efforts. Frank has a business degree from the University of Maryland and is a NACE Coatings Inspector. 26 airportbusiness May 2018

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