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When a new construction is built or when maintenance work includes steel exchange or blast cleaning, the steel work must be checked for:
Rounding of sharp edges
Smoothing of rough welding seams
Removal/grinding of weld spatter and beads
Cracks and pittings
Surface faults like laminations, etc.
Inspection of surface preparation includes the following: Cleanliness; solvent cleaning to remove salt, oil, grease, and dust/dirt
Evaluation of present condition (rust grade)
Evaluation of surface (preparation grade and roughness)
Remaining contamination acceptable?
There are many test methods to measure roughness of the surface. Among the most suited for the field are comparators. In ISO 8503, two comparators are specified; one with profiles corresponding to blast cleaned surfaces using grit abrasive (reference comparator G) and one corresponding to blast cleaned surfaces using metallic shot abrasives (reference comparator S).
An easy test for detecting oil/grease on a surface is the "water break method", where a drop of water is added on to the prepared surface. The drop will spread out rapidly on the surface if no oil/grease is present, but will remain on the surface in a drop-shaped form in the presence of oil/grease. This method is not a standard. To detect water-soluble salts, the most user-friendly method available today is to dissolve.
Relative humidity
The sling hygrometre (ISO 8502-4) consists of two thermometers, one dry and one wet (wet cotton wool wrapped around the sensor). On rotation, the water in the cotton wool will evaporate, thus cooling the thermometer in ratio to the dry one, which measures the temperature of the air. From the temperature readings, the relative humidity can be calculated.
Dew point
The dew point is the highest temperature at which moisture will condense from the atmosphere.The dew point is essential to determine if the climatic conditions are acceptable for paint work. The calculation can be done from tables or by a so-called dew point calculator. There are two slightly different types available today. They are based on similar principles and consist of two seals, which are set against each other, so that the required information can be read.
Steel temperature
The contact thermometer is an electronic instrument to measure the steel temperature. When steel temperature is measured and you have found the dew point, you can determine if it is possible to start the paint application. The steel temperature should always be 3oC above the dew point.
Dry film thickness
most used instrument in the field is the electromagnetic dry film thickness gauge. A magnetic dry film gauge is a simpler instrument which gives less exact measures. It is important to calibrate the instruments to zero and thickness similar to be measured. Electromagnetic dry film gauges are available in many versions with different kind of additional functions.