A&I Coatings' Vitreflon Fluoropolymer Protective Coating System
Connecting the town of Moray with the iconic East beach of Lossiemouth is the 75 m long Lossiemouth beach bridge. The brand-new metal bridge, funded by the Scottish Government, is a much-awaited replacement for a 100-year-old timber footbridge that was closed in 2019 following safety concerns.
Being the only route to the popular tourist beach and an important cog in the development of the region’s economy, the bridge has generated a lot of interest among the local community. With more than 4000 people using the bridge in summer months, about 72% of local businesses have reported a loss in trade since the beach became inaccessible.
A DURABLE PAINT SYSTEM
Following several campaigns from the community and after evaluating several temporary alternatives, the contract for the new bridge was handed to Shrewsbury based Beaver Bridges in 2021. The arched steel crossing designed by the firm is scheduled to open by mid-May 2022, and the full fabrication/installation of the bridge is being carried out using a 750-tonne crane.
The bridge has been constructed with 1.4m high parapets, joined by 3.5m wide wood-effect composite decking boards and has a planned asset life of over 100 years. Vital to the project will be the fluoropolymer coating system, when considering the particularly harsh tidal environment the bridge is situated in.
“Durability is a crucial point in the project,” says Luke Jenkins, Senior Engineer at Beaver Bridges. “And key to it will be the fluoropolymer paint system applied to the steel structure. This coating, I believe, will become standard in the very near future – more and more projects are adopting it. With a predicted life of up to 60 years, the paint system should ensure a highly durable structure and make ongoing maintenance extremely economic”.
Formulated from a highly durable FEVE fluoropolymer resin, the A&I Vitreflon Fluoropolymer system is designed to offer up to three times the durability of traditional paints – bringing about a considerable reduction in the costs, waste and carbon emissions involved in repainting and maintenance. While traditional paints have a design life of 20-25 years, fluorpolymer top-coated paint systems can last up to 60 years to major maintenance.
WHY FLUOROPOLYMER COATING
Fluoropolymer top-coated systems are not new. They have been in use for major bridges and infrastructure projects across the world since the mid-1980s and are now mandatory for all Government-owned bridges in Japan owing to its incomparable durability and overall reduction in lifecycle costs.
The coating is now gaining renewed interest globally following the overall reduction in carbon footprint it offers. After gaining Network Rail and HAPAS approvals, the A&I Vitreflon fluorpolymer system has been used for several prestigious bridge projects across the UK including the iconic Blackfriars Bridge, the Grade-II Listed Brockweir Bridge, Marlow Bridge, the Kessock bridge in Inverness, among others.
The coating system specified for Lossiemouth Bridge included:
A primer of Vitrezinc 109 Zinc-rich primer @ 75 microns on the steel surface grit blasted to SA3 specifications
A mid-coat of Vitreset 112 MIO @ 200 microns
A topcoat of Vitreflon fluorpolymer V195 @ 75 microns in RAL 9023 (metallic dark grey)
Fig. 2: Schematic Diagram of the Vitreflon Paint System for the Galvanised Steel Surfaces of the Lossiemouth Bridge
While the zinc primer and micaceous iron oxide mid-coat provide primary corrosion resistance, the tough fluoropolymer topcoat will act as the first line of defence, blocking corrosion initiators like oxygen, water, and chlorides.
The exceptional UV-resistance and low degradation rate of the fluoropolymer layer will further ensure incomparable gloss and colour retention and enhanced protection of the layers underneath, enabling corrosion protection for much longer than traditionally specified paints.
If you are interested in knowing more about the suitability of A&I Vitreflon fluoropolymer coatings for your project, please get in touch with our expert team on 01753 584 500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also browse our fluoropolymer training video here.