ceramic heat resistant coating applied on an engine

A step-by-step guide to making the right choice of heat resistant coating

When a substrate is subject to heat and rapid temperature fluctuations, it can lead to surface breakage and corrosion. Electrical and engine components, chimneys and ovens, pipework and chemical plants, all these are exposed to possibly damaging temperatures and conditions. A heat resistant coating (or thermal management coating) works to protect the substrate from variations and extremes of temperature without losing functionality. As well as protecting from heat, these coatings:

  • Protect from corrosion under insulation (CUI): High temperature coatings for steel provide an extra layer of protection between the hot surface and insulation
  • Effective temperature range up to 1000°C: Different formulations of heat resistant coating for metal provide resistance to temperatures from -196°C to 1000°C
  • Abrasion resistant: Suitable for rough environments
  • Reduce thermal fatigue: Heat resistant coating improves performance of machinery and extend part life
  • Allow for higher operating temperatures while limiting thermal exposure

In this article we look at the different categories of heat resistant coating, how to choose the right one for your project, and where to find products and contractors in Taiwan.

Step 1: Define substrate & environment requirements regarding heat resistant coating

white Heat resistant coating applied on long gas pipes

Operating temperature, application temperature and insulation are the factors that get you closer to the right heat resistant coating.

As with any coating application, understanding the needs of your substrate and the application process is crucial for making the right coating choice. As well as knowing the substrate type, you need to know its environment, its use, the coating time parameters, and the likely ways it will fail. Here are some questions you need to ask before you can choose a high temperature coating:

  • What is the maximum temperature of the substrate that you wish to protect? – Make sure you choose a coating that has a guaranty to perform well in the temperatures involved in your processes.
  • Is the substrate insulated? – High heat coating effectively prevents corrosion under insulation (CUI) but only when the coating is designed for that purpose.
  • What will the substrate temperature be during application? – Not all high heat coatings are able to be applied on hot surfaces. If your application requires hot application, make sure to pick a product that can takes it!

Step 2: Learn which type of high temperature coating meets the requirements

It is important to note that while high temperature coating does provide some protection from flames, it is not a fire resistant coating. Essentially, heat resistant coatings can be divided into four types:

1. Epoxy-based, silicone-based, multipolymeric paints – Single or two component, water- or solvent-based, these paints are formulated to provide resistance to high heat when applied at new construction, on-site and as a maintenance coating. Usually the more silicone, the higher the temperature resistance. For medium to high temperature protection. Liquid paints have the benefit of being able to be applied to hot substrates without affecting the coating.

2. Sprayed metal and metal additive coatings – These coatings are particularly used for corrosion protection combined with heat resistance. Thermal sprayed aluminium is particularly used as high temperature coatings for steel for CUI prevention in onshore and offshore platforms and processing plants. Metal pigments are often used as stabilisers for temperatures above 400°C.

4. Powder coating – As well as being corrosion resistant, high temperature powder coatings have been developed for heat resistance to temperatures ranging from 200oC  to 550oC. The powders are usually epoxy and silicone-based (like the liquid paints), and silicone-based powders perform better at higher heats. These have the benefit of being VOC free and having a wide range of gloss and colour finishes. They are becoming more and more popular as heat resistant coating for metal.

3. Ceramic coating – The heat resistance properties of ceramic coating are well known, and some of the highest heat coatings available are ceramics. Heat resistant ceramic paint also provides corrosion protection and chemical resistance and a hard finish.

 Step 3: Choose the heat resistant coating product

Heat resistant coatings are used across a wide range of industries, as well as by homeowners and barbecue enthusiasts. As such, a wide range of products and services are available across the country, no matter your project. Below is a table outlining just a few of the products and their costs, as an indication. Heat resistant coatings should be applied by a trained professional. If you would like more information about heat resistant coatings, or would like to connect with one of our partners to coat your project, contact us! Our experts are here to help, just use the “Request a quote” button below the article and take advantage of our 100% free quote service.

For information on where to find high temperature powder coating, please visit our powder coating services page.

Heat Resistant Coating ProductProduct DescriptionApplications
PPG HI-TEMP 1027One component, silicone-based ceramic coating for carbon steel and stainless steelCUI prevention in chemical/petrochemical, power, and offshore market segments up to 650°C
International Intertherm 50Single components, silicone-based high temperature coatings for steelCorrosion protection in fire stacks, chimneys, exhausts, vents and pipework up to 540°C
Jotun Solvalitt Midtherm Single component silicone acrylic heat resistant coating for metal; steel and aluminiumCorrosion protection for insulated and non insulated surfaces up to 260°C
Rust-Oleum 4200 Heat Resistant TopcoatSilicone-based topcoat with an aluminium finish for bare steel or primed surfaces Heat resistance up to 425oC

Bonus: A closer look to CUI and heat resistant coatings

Insulating steel structures is very common in industrial environments; it can minimise heat gain or heat loss, reduces costs, improves efficiency, and improves staff safety. The problem starts when water penetrates the insulation, collecting in the space between the insulation and the steel. When this happens it is the perfect environment for corrosion. The trapped moisture has the potential to cause rapid rusting and corrosion on the surface of the steel.

CUI is particularly insidious as it can go undetected under insulation until the problem is severe. If it remains undetected, it can lead to shutdown of an entire facility, or even a safety incident. This is why high temperature coatings for steel are so important – they can coat the steel surface and protect it from the dangers of corrosion under insulation.

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