In many chemical and petrochemical plants there are hot process pipelines, with heat coming from the product being transferred through the pipeline. The pipeline will be made from a steel for strength and rigidity, probably a carbon steel to keep costs down. And clearly the process plant will want the temperature to remain stable along the length of the pipeline, so insulation is used.

The most common insulation is traditional lagging with fibrous, mineral strands or porous foam contained within a fabric wraparound jacket. For larger pipelines the jacket may be Aluminium or even galvanised steel. Such lagging works until it gets wet. But how does it get wet when the insulation material is protected by the jacket?

Firstly the jacket won’t be completely waterproof, so there will be some water ingress. Secondly, the traditional insulation needs the semi-trapped air within it to perform. And air contains moisture, so the hot pipeline results in condensation within the lagging. And because there is a desire to make the jacket around the lagging as waterproof as possible, the condensate will have trouble escaping.

So why not have drain holes along the full length of the lagged process pipeline? Because water that comes out can find it’s way back in through capillary action. And the whole idea of lagging is to get as closed a system as possible, not to have holes in it.
So now we have a hot steel pipeline sitting in water and lagging that is now underperforming. Which in turn means we have corrosion and heat loss.

The corrosion means there is a risk of the pipeline failing, potentially without notice. This would obviously be a process problem, but even more importantly it could be a serious safety concern if the hot contents escaped.

Besides this potential pipeline failure, the underperforming lagging could result in the external surface of the jacket heating up to the point where it becomes a safety hazard in its own right. ASTM C1055 – 03(2014), Standard Guide for Heated System Surface Conditions that Produce Contact Burn Injuries suggests that whilst it cannot stipulate contact conditions for every eventuality, in an industrial setting five seconds contact is the maximum before sustaining irreversible damage.
It is also known that with metallic surfaces at a temperature greater than 70oC, damage to humans occurs almost instantaneously upon contact.

Enter Blocksil’s Therma-Light® coating. This is a sprayable impermeable insulation coating that has exceptional performance characteristics and it will adhere permanently to steel. Because the coating is bonded directly to the steel pipeline and is “solid”, there is no opportunity for water ingress, either from external sources or condensation. Therefore there is no corrosion.

Besides these two immense benefits, Therma-Light is available in different colours, so pipeline identification can be maintained.

Another benefit to Therma-Light users is that the thermal insulation properties work both ways. Therefore a cold pipeline coated externally in Therma-Light will help keep the cold in.

Algae build up on sea defences and on associated pedestrian steps is a real hazard if the algae is not treated. It is very slippery underfoot, even when the sea has retreated.

No definition of algae is generally accepted and the etymology is obscure. The singular “alga” is the Latin word for “seaweed”. Algae is thus an informal term for a large, diverse group of photosynthetic organisms which are not necessarily closely related.

Algae can be unicellular or multicellular. Most are aquatic and autotrophic and lack many of the distinct cell and tissue types found in land plants. The largest and most complex marine algae are called seaweeds, while the most complex freshwater forms are the Charophyta.

Algae exhibit a wide range of reproductive strategies, from simple asexual cell division to complex forms of sexual reproduction. They lack the various structures that characterize land plants, such as roots and leaves. Most derive energy from photosynthesis, although some derive energy both from photosynthesis and uptake of organic carbon.

A lichen is a composite organism that can arise from algae and lives among filaments of multiple fungi in a symbiotic relationship. The combined lichen can come is many forms, sizes and colours and has properties different from those of its component organisms. Their properties are sometimes plant-like but they are not plants. They may contain the word “moss” in their name and may superficially look like and grow with mosses, but lichens are not related to mosses.

Blocksil has over the last few years been working for Balfour Beatty on the Blackpool seafront, coating large parts of it in an anti-algae coating. The £27.1 million Anchorsholme scheme to reduce flood risk to 4,800 properties in Blackpool was officially opened in late 2017. The Blackpool Council scheme was funded by the Environment Agency through government grant aid and delivered by Balfour Beatty.

A kilometre of concrete sea wall has been replaced by Balfour Beatty to maintain access to the beach, and a new promenade attracts residents and visitors with views over the Irish Sea. The new defences will help protect Blackpool’s tourism and recreational income for the next 100 years, in addition to safeguarding Blackpool’s iconic seafront tramway, vital infrastructure and a major pumping station.

Blocksil’s role was to supply and apply our specialist anti-algae coating. This transparent coating is expected to last for many years based on much earlier work carried out at Blackpool. The coating can be applied by spray, brush or roller, thus making application extremely versatile.

Blackpool steps coated by Blocksil in              anti-algae coating.

Blocksil applying anti-graffiti and anti-algae coating to Blackpool sea front.

Train operating companies (TOC’s) are continually trying to stretch their budgets to keep their rolling stock clean and presentable as part of the customer experience. The ability to reduce cleaning time and hence cost is clearly something the TOC’s are after. And we at Blocksil can give them the cost saving by cutting down their cleaning time.

Applying the hydrophobic CleanProtect® system to both the exterior and interior of trains drastically reduces the need and cost for intensive cleaning. This ‘stay clean’ coating, when applied to the exterior of a train will prevent the build-up of grime, reducing the number of visits to a train-wash.

A train wash is like a car wash, where the train exterior is cleaned by rotating brushes or foam flails. The equipment and process is well established, but where Blocksil’s hydrophobic CleanProtect scores is in the reduction in water volumes and detergents needed to clean the train. It is well known in the industry that whilst water recycling already reduces the water usage, the discharged water will almost certainly need some treatment to meet environmental standards. If CleanProtect coating is used on the train alongside an efficient train wash, then the environmental cost savings to the TOC are potentially huge.

And CleanProtect can be applied to all interior walls, including wash rooms, the surfaces can be cleaned without the use of abrasives, just water. If graffiti has been applied to the coating by paint or marker pens, this can also be removed with water or anti-graffiti gels without damaging the surface or leaving a ‘ghosting’ residue.

Using this system will reduce the need for expensive cleaning materials, cut cleaning hours and be more kind to the environment. What’s not to like!

The CleanProtect nano coatings are fire rated to EN 45545-2:2013 Railway Applications – Fire protection on railway vehicles – Part 2: Requirements for the behaviour of materials and components, set R1.

The latest generation CleanProtect now has an improved solvent signature.

Stansted transport carriage coated in one of our nano coatings.

Brass panel partially coated in our nano coating No. 5 after two years outside.