Abrasion resistance of polymer and polymer–ceramic composite coatings for steel hydraulic structures

  • P. V. VijayEmail author
  • Piyush R. Soti
  • Derrick A. Banerjee
  • Konstantinos A. Sierros


There is an increased demand for abrasive wear-resistant coatings that add durability to steel hydraulic structures, particularly for those subjected to flowing water with debris and alternate wet/dry cycles. These coating systems provide not only corrosion and chemical resistance, but also good erosion and abrasion resistance to the metallic surfaces, which are constantly exposed to flowing water containing sand particles and debris. Generally, vinyl-based coatings are used on hydraulic steel structures to protect them from corrosion and abrasion. However, due to the existence of high water force and debris, the coating is abraded at a faster rate leading to significant maintenance and repair costs. In this study, abrasive wear resistance of conventional vinyl-based coating systems currently used on lock and dam steel structures by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been compared with polymer matrix composite coatings, fibrous polymer coatings, and ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). Six coating systems were evaluated through two-body abrasion tests using a reciprocating abrader under dry and wet conditions. Furthermore, wettability of the coating systems and its effect on the wear rate under the presence of water was studied. In addition, scanning electron microscopy of the wear tracks on different coatings was conducted to study and identify their failure mechanisms. Based on the results, UHMWPE and polymer–ceramic composite coatings were found to perform significantly better than the conventional vinyl-based coatings.


Coatings UHMWPE Wear Abrasion Wear rate Polymer–ceramic Profilometry Wettability 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. Support from the Constructed Facilities Center, West Virginia University, and all the engineering and supporting staff at the USACE and Howell Heflin Lock and Dam is sincerely acknowledged. Laboratory samples and field help from Prof. Gangarao of CFC and Mr. Jeff Ryan of USACE are sincerely acknowledged. In addition, authors would like to thank A. W. Chesterton Company for providing polymer–ceramic coatings.


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© American Coatings Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral ResourcesWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral ResourcesWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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