The Queensland branch of the ACA was treated to a technical talk on how concrete and steel assets’ lives can be extended by Polyurea barrier coating systems.  Bryant Wells is the Technical Manager of Liquimix, a local manufacturer of Polyurea and associated systems.  Polyureas are increasingly used to protect wastewater treatment plants, potable water reservoirs, mining equipment, and bunded areas.  This has arisen out of a need for a durable, flexible and long life engineered barrier system.  Bryant introduced the attendees to the background and chemical make up of polyurea, where it is used and the pros and cons of its use.  

Bryant stressed the importance of the 3 P’s, “Prepare the surface, Prime the surface and Protect the surface”, a mantra Liquimix use when working with their approved applicators.  Bryant pointed out the cause and remedy of pinholes, and how to avoid them.  He also addressed the origin of osmotic blistering.  Interestingly, in some instances, it is better to spray the systems over concrete in the evening to ensure the primer is adequately absorbed into the substrate to prevent this from occurring.  

Adhesion and testing thereof are critical as part of the inspection and test plans when applying polyureas.  

When Bryant presented several case studies, the attendees got involved with about 30 minutes of questions and discussion on applications in water clarifiers, treatment plants and both steel and concrete water tanks.  What came out of these discussions was that polyureas offer the applicator and asset owner a curing time advantage along with extraordinary bridging performance.  For example, with an elongation of up to 400% a crack or seam can be successfully bridged to ensure a water reservoir is sealed by a durable, long-lasting, yet flexible homogeneous membrane.

The well-attended event at the Norman Hotel in Brisbane began with the attendees enjoying a networking session and ended with them having learned a lot about the practical application of what is becoming a viable option to protect the aging infrastructure for years to come.  Thank you to Liquimix for sponsoring the event.