Paint brings color to our lives, decorating our cars, walls, and fingernails. It makes our roads safer by marking lanes and our sports fairer by marking the goal lines.
But its core job is to provide protection from salt, water, heat, and air to whatever surface it’s applied to. When that surface gets heated to extreme temperatures, ordinary paint would quickly blister, crack, and peel.
High-temperature paint can exist in numerous commercial and industrial applications thanks to special mixes and properties that allow it to take the heat. The paint comes in many types for many uses. Let’s look more closely at what makes heat-resistant paints work, where to use them, and how to choose the right paint for your plant.
Why Use Heat-Resistant Paint
Extreme temperatures can cause surface breakdown, which leads to pitting, corrosion, and other damage. A temperature-resistant paint provides a layer of protection to keep pipes, engine parts, and chimneys whole and working safely.
This special paint can work at ranges up to 18,000 degrees F, allowing for higher operating temperatures overall. The benefits of high-temperature paint include reduction of thermal fatigue, resistance from abrasions, and limiting of thermal exposure.
Where to Use High-Temp Paints
As you might expect, these special paints work in any type of industrial facility that encounters high temperatures during production. It can be found on smokestacks, fireplaces, kilns, pipes, and fabrications.
They are widely used in refineries, paper mills, and petrochemical plants. These types of plants often have a wide network of pipes and tanks that need corrosion protection.
For example, a typical refinery can have a few thousand miles of pipe running through the facility. Since those items are often also under insulation, they can’t be visually inspected daily. The paint helps protect the metal under the insulation where rust might not show up immediately.
Some common uses for these paints include protecting boilers, steam pipes, and chimneys to avoid overheating and corrosion. They also are applied to incinerators and flare stacks and used in offshore gas and oil rigs and biochemical plants.
Types Of High Temp Paints
Heat-resistant paints come in four main forms based on the organic or inorganic materials used in the paint. These materials impact the range of heat the paint can handle along with
Silicone or Epoxy-Based
This is a liquid paint form mostly used for new construction or maintenance coating. This type can be used on surfaces while still hot, which reduces the time an item is out of commission for repainting. Generally the more silicone in the paint, the higher the temperature the paint can handle.
This is similar in make-up to silicone and epoxy-based paint but in powder form. It performs at higher temps up to 10,000 degrees. It offers many different gloss levels and color options and is VOC-free.
Sprayed metal or metal additive
Also called thermal spray, this type of paint is usually tapped for corrosion protection. It’s especially valuable in situations where pipes or tanks are hidden beneath insulation and can’t be inspected by eye often. Corrosion under insulation is especially impacted by temperature.
The materials in this paint protect from chemicals and corrosion with a hard finish. You often find it used for machinery parts that encounter high heat.
How To Choose Your High-Temp Paint
For industrial purposes, high-temperature paints need to meet several criteria. These paints fall into different groups and categories based on their properties, so you need to have a good handle on what you want when you make your choice.
The first thing to match up is the ideal operating temperature range for the paint’s use. While any paint that works for 400 degrees can be called high temperature, it won’t give you great performance if you apply it to a pipe that gets up to 1000 degrees.
A higher top temperature means the paint contains inorganic materials like ceramic and silicone since they can handle more extreme temperatures.
Pay attention to how heavily your paint needs to be applied. Modern thin-film paints stay flexible and intact at the highest temperatures. However, they aren’t as easy to apply, especially for maintenance purposes.
Thicker coatings are easier to execute and offer firm support and protection as the temperature rises. The thicker film also provides more of a barrier from the elements and lasts longer.
A direct-to-metal paint means fewer steps to the painting process, which reduces the time a component needs to be out of commission. A paint that can be applied to a hot surface provides a similar benefit.
The location of your painting surface impacts your choice as well. If your pipes or equipment will be indoors, you can use a lighter grade paint. Paint for light outdoor uses needs to be heavier to hold up to UV rays, rain, and other elements.
For more industrial uses, the environment is considered extremely harsh, such as coatings for engine exhaust systems or stacks at chemical processing and refining plants.
Color-fastness can vary between manufacturers. If you’re painting pipes to give a temperature warning or label by what’s inside, you want the colors to remain stable for safety reasons. Poor color retention means repainting on a more frequent schedule than should be necessary.
Choose Your High-Temperature Paint
When it comes to high-temperature paint, there are a lot of factors to consider before you commit to one for an industrial application. Understanding how these paints work and where best to apply them allows you to move beyond just the temperature range in choosing paint.
If you have further questions about industrial painting, contact us to talk to a member of our expert team about your options.