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Bill Corbett

KTA-Tator, Inc.

Coating Adhesion Testing


Methods and Equipment
Webinar Content:
Why Measure Adhesion Properties?
What is Being Measured?
Selecting an Adhesion Testing Method
Measuring Adhesion by the Tape Test
Measuring Adhesion by the Knife Test
Measuring Pull-off Adhesion

Fixed Alignment Mechanical


Self-Aligning Hydraulic (3 devices)
Self Aligning Pneumatic

Special Requirements for Testing Concrete Coating

Adhesion
Common Pitfalls When Testing Coating Adhesion
Reporting

Learning Outcomes
Completion of this webinar will enable the

participant to:
Explain the purpose of testing the adhesion properties of coatings
Describe the two types of adhesion testing mechanisms
List four standard test methods used to test the adhesion of
coating systems

Describe the difference between shear adhesion and tensile


adhesion

Measure the adhesion of coating systems using the tape method


Measure the adhesion of coating systems using the knife method

Learning Outcomes,
continued

Describe the difference between fixed alignment and self aligning

adhesion testers

Explain the differences between testing the pull-off strength of coatings


applied to steel and concrete surfaces

Measure the tensile (pull-off) strength of coating systems using


mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatically-operated testing devices

List common pitfalls associated with adhesion testing of coatings


Evaluate potential locations of break, including adhesion, cohesion and
glue

Describe the reporting requirements for adhesion testing

Why Measure Adhesion


Properties?
Determine specification

compliance
Common in-process

inspection of TSC

Determine

maintenance strategy
for existing coating
systems
Adhesion data is not
typically a predictor of
coating performance

What is Being Measured?


Measuring Coating Strength at Different Planes
Adhesion Strength

Bond strength between the substrate and the coating


and/or the coating layers to one another

Cohesion Strength

Inner-strength of a coating layer

Adhesion strength is highly variable


No industry-wide adhesion acceptance value
Minimum adhesion values may be on a PDS or

in a specification

Selecting a Test Method


ASTM
Standard

Method

D 3359-09

Adhesion By Tape Test

D 6677-07

Knife Adhesion

D 4541-09

Pull-off Strength of Coatings Using Portable Adhesion


Testers

D 7234-05

Pull-off Strength of Coatings on Concrete Using


Portable Pull-off Adhesion Testers

Selecting a Test Method


Tape and Knife Adhesion require minimal

equipment and can be conducted quickly


Evaluate shear or peel strength (peel-back)

Pull-off adhesion requires specialized equipment

and the testing takes comparatively longer to


perform
Evaluates pull-off strength (resistance to

perpendicular pull)

Cannot compare data, since testing mechanisms

are different
Adhesion testing is destructive to the coating film

Measuring Adhesion By Tape


Test

Equipment
Steel ruler or guide
Utility knife
Brush
Adhesive tape
Magnifier
ASTM Test Method
Cross-cut Tester
(alternative to knife
and guide)

Measuring Adhesion By Tape


Test

Step 1: Select test area(s) and conduct triplicate


tests per area
Step 2: Determine the thickness of the coating
system
Step 3: Select the test method based on the
coating thickness
Method A (X-cut): Coating thickness > 5 mils
Method B (Cross-cut): Coating thickness < 5 mils

Up to 2 mils: Use 1mm spacing between incisions (11 cuts)


From 2-5 mils: Use 2mm spacing between incisions (6 cuts)

Measuring Adhesion By Tape


Test
Make a single
1.5
Method
A (X-cut)
cut through the
coating system.
Avoid multiple
passes.
Make a second cut to
form an X
30-45 angle at
intersection of the
X

Measuring Adhesion By Tape


Test
Remove cutting debris
Remove 2 laps
Method
Aof(X-cut)
tape
(discard)
Apply 3 piece of tape
to X-cut
Cover all of X-cut
Assure good tape
contact
Remove tape within 90
+/- 30 seconds
Remove tape 180
back across X-cut (do
not pull upwards)

Measuring Adhesion By Tape


Test
Rating
Description
Method
A
(X-cut)
5A
No peeling or removal
4A

Trace peeling or removal along the incisions

3A

Jagged removal along the incisions up to 1/16 on


either side

2A

Jagged removal along the incisions up to 1/8 on either


side

1A

Removal of most of the coating from the area of the


X under the tape

0A

Removal of coating beyond the area of the X

Measuring Adhesion By Tape


Test
Make series
6 or
Method
B of(Cross-cut)
11 parallel incisions
through the coating
system. Avoid
multiple passes.
Make a second
series of incisions
perpendicular to first
series

Measuring Adhesion By Tape


Test
Remove cutting debris
Remove 2 laps
Method
Bof(Cross-cut)
tape
(discard)
Apply 3 piece of tape
to grid
Cover all of grid
Assure good tape
contact
Remove tape within 90
+/- 30 seconds
Remove tape 180
back across cross-cut
(do not pull upwards)

Measuring Adhesion By Tape


Test
Ratin
%
Description
g
Method
B
(Cross-cut)
5B
0%
Edges of cuts completely
smooth
4B
3B

<5%

Small flakes of coating


detached at intersections

6-15% Small flakes of coating


detached along edges & at
intersections

2B

1635%

Coating flaked along edges


and parts of squares

1B

3665%

Coating flaked along edges


in large ribbons and whole
squares detached

0B

>65% Flaking & detaching worse

Measuring Adhesion By Knife


Test
Equipment
Steel ruler or guide
Utility knife
ASTM Test Method

Select test area


Make a single 1.5

cut through the


coating system. Avoid
multiple passes.
Measuring
Adhesion
Make a second cut to
form an X
Test
30-45 angle at
intersection of the X
Attempt to lift coating
with tip of knife blade

By Knife

Measuring Adhesion By Knife


Test
Ratin
g

Description

10

Coating is extremely difficult to remove. Fragments no larger


than 1/32 x 1/32 removed with great difficulty

Coating is difficult to remove. Coating chips from 1/16 x


1/16 to 1/8 x 1/8 removed with difficulty

Coating is somewhat difficult to remove. Coating chips from


1/8 x 1/8 to 1/4 x 1/4 removed with slight difficulty

Coating is somewhat difficult to remove. Coating chips in


excess of 1/4 x 1/4 removed using light pressure with knife
blade

Coating is easy to remove. Once started with the knife blade,


the coating can be grasped with fingers and easily peeled to
a length of at least 1/4

Coating is easy to remove. Once started with the knife blade,


the coating can be grasped with fingers and easily peeled to

Pitfalls to Avoid
ASTM D3359 is for coatings on metallic surfaces
Dull knife blades can produce erroneous results
Maintain proper spacing between incisions when

employing the cross-cut tape adhesion method


When employing the X-cut methods (tape or
knife adhesion procedures), maintain proper
angle at intersection of X. The legs of the X
should be ~ 1 apart (width of adhesive tape)
Report tape used. Store tape properly
Tape may not be effective in cold temperatures

What Tape Should be


Used?
Note 5 in the current standard lists

Permacel 99 as suitable
Permacel 99 discontinued in 2009
No immediate replacement
Intertape Polymer Group LA26 will
be investigated (backing, adhesive,
thickness & adhesion to steel
similar)
Section 5.3 indicates 1 (25 mm)
width and adhesion strength as
agreed is acceptable
Exercise caution when comparing
data using different tapes/batches
of tape

Reporting
Substrate type and coating system; method of

cure
Environmental conditions (temperature and RH)
No. of tests performed
Manufacturer and type of tape employed (when
used)
Mean and range of ratings
Location of Break (between coats, within a coat,
between substrate surface and primer, etc.)

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


ASTM D4541, Pull-off Strength of Coatings

Using Portable Adhesion Testers


Annex A1: Fixed Alignment Type II (mechanical)
Annex A2: Self Aligning Type III (hydraulic)
Annex A3: Self Aligning Type IV (pneumatic)
Annex A4: Self Aligning Type V( hydraulic)
Annex A5: Self Aligning Type VI (hydraulic)

Note: Different testers may yield different pull-off


values

Preparing the Test Surfaces


Remove dirt,

chalking, oil or other


interfering materials
Lightly roughen
smooth or glossy
surfaces using fine
grit paper or abrasive
pad
Remove any residual
dust using a
compatible solvent

Loading Fixture Design

Fixed Alignment
Type II
Self-Aligning
Type III

Self-Aligning
Type VI

Self-Aligning
Type IV

Self-Aligning
Type V

Preparing the Loading


Fixtures

Loading fixtures for


Type II and Type IV
testers are available
pre-abraded

Loading fixtures for

other testers may need


to be abraded to
enhance bond to
surface (recommended)
Clean fixtures before
use

Selecting an Adhesive
High solids epoxy

adhesives
Cyanoacrylate
adhesive
Ensure compatibility
with coating
UV curable adhesive
available with Type IV
tester (requires special
loading fixtures with
transparent base)

Attaching the Loading


Fixtures
Apply adhesive to the

loading fixture, surface,


or both
Addition of No. 5 glass
beads (1%) assists with
fixture alignment
Attach the loading fixture
to the coated surfaces
Push downward; do not
twist
Remove excess adhesive

Attaching the Loading Fixtures


(Type III Tester)
Insert Teflon plug
Apply adhesive to the

loading fixture, surface,


or both
Attach the loading fixture
to the coated surfaces
Push downward; do not
twist
Remove Teflon plug
Remove excess adhesive

Attaching the Loading


Fixtures
Secure loading

fixture until adhesive


cures
Use magnetic or
mechanical fixture
holder or tape
If using tape, ensure
it doesnt relax
during adhesive cure

Scoring Around Loading


Fixture

Light scoring can be


performed to remove
excess adhesive
Scoring of the coating
is not recommended
If scoring is
performed, must be
done carefully
Scoring (if done) must
be reported with test
results

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


Using the Type II Tester
Model No.

Range

106/1

0-500 psi

106/2
(shown)

0-1000 psi

106/3

0-2000 psi (uses wrench)

106/4

0-3200 psi (uses wrench)

106/4A

Use w/ 2 diameter pull


stubs
(uses wrench)

106/5

0-30 psi

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


Using the Type II (fixed
alignment)
Tester
1. Lower the jaw by
turning the hand
wheel (nut)
counterclockwise
2. Slide the jaw opening
over the head of the
loading fixture
3. Verify levelness
4. Set the drag pin to
zero (push downward)

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


Using the Type II (fixed
5. Rotate hand wheel
alignment)
Tester
(nut) clockwise to
increase load (<150
psi/second)
6. Break (or maximum
force) should occur in
100 seconds or less
7. Record the value
corresponding to the
bottom of the drag
pin, E.g. 6 is 600 psi

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type III (hydraulic)
Insert pin through center
Tester
hole of stainless steel
loading fixture (may
need to loosen black
threaded hand lever)
Pull upwards on the quick
connect and allow the
locking ring to engage
the outside flange of the
loading fixture.
Pull upwards to verify
locking ring is engaged

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type III (hydraulic)
Return red sweep
Tester
needle to zero (or zero
set the digital display)
Rotate the black threaded
handle clockwise until
break occurs or maximum
pressure is achieved
Read pressure from
analog or digital display
Loading fixtures (stainless
steel) can be cleaned with
heat clamp

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type IV (pneumatic)
Device uses air
Tester
pressure inside a piston
to provide a constant,
perpendicular pull on a
threaded loading fixture
Piston pressure is
converted to psi (or
Kpa) using conversion
charts based on piston
size

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type IV (pneumatic)
Tester
Piston
Range
F-1

0-500 psi

F-2

0-1,000 psi

F-4

0-2,000 psi

F-8

0-4,000 psi

F-16

0-8,000 psi

F-8/12

0-4,000/0-10,000 psi
Round base with pigtail hose
Silicone rubber gasket (lifted upward)
Round threaded top plate

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type IV (pneumatic)
Connect piston hose
Tester
to the main air hose
(brass coupling)
Push air hose
connection into the
base unit
Insert CO2 cartridge
into sleeve
Thread the CO2
sleeve onto the base
unit

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type IV (pneumatic)
Rate Valve

Place piston over the


Tester
loading fixture
Thread top plate onto
the fixture until
contact is made with
the piston, then
reverse the top plate
-1/2 turn to allow
silicone gasket to raise
Close the Rate Valve
(dont over-tighten)

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type IV (pneumatic)
Turn the Power switch to
Tester
Rate
the on position
Push the peak reset

valve

button
Push in and hold the
Run button, while
On/off
slowly opening the Rate
Valve until pressure
increases at ~2
psi/second
Do not exceed 6 psi/
second

Run

Peak
Reset

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type IV (pneumatic)
Read the Piston Pressure
Tester
from the digital display
Convert the Piston

Pressure to psi (or Kpa)


using the conversion chart
corresponding to the
piston used and diameter
of the loading fixture
Example: 46 psi piston
pressure = 937.3 psi
adhesion strength (F4
piston and 0.5 diameter
loading fixture)

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type V (hydraulic)
Type V uses
Tester
hydraulic pressure to
apply perpendicular
force to the loading
fixture
Pull-off strength is
read directly from
digital display
Manual version is
shown

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type V (hydraulic)
Open the pressure
Tester
relief valve and push
actuator handle into
assembly
Power-up tester
(green)
Verify LCD reads zero
Select pull-stub size
(*)
Select units (**)

**

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type V (hydraulic)
Position actuator over
Tester
loading fixture. Attach
quick connect coupling
to head of fixture
Close the pressure
relief valve
Pump lever until digital
display indicates
pressure is applied

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type V (hydraulic)
Continue pumping
Tester
uniformly (<150 psi/
second)
Monitor pull rate using
LCD display (psi/s)
Display holds maximum
pressure of pull-off
Record value, or press
memory pad (*) to store
value
Depress green button to
zero display

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type V (hydraulic)
Automatic version
Tester
applies hydraulic
pressure to actuator
without pumping of a
lever

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type VI (hydraulic)
Tester
Type VI tester uses
hydraulic pressure to
apply perpendicular
force to the loading
fixture
Pull-off strength is
read directly from
the gage dial (up to
~ 2,470 psi)

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type VI (hydraulic)
Tester
Type VI tester consists
of a turning
crank/pressure gage &
testing head
Verify crank and
tightening wheel are in
start position
Press 4 pistons against
even surface to return
oil to the pump

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type VI (hydraulic)
Lift outer ring of the
Tester
quick release coupling;
mount the testing
head to the loading
fixture
Release the quick
connect and listen for
click, indicating it is
locked into the groove
Return the red sweep
needle to zero

Measuring Pull-off Adhesion


using the Type VI (hydraulic)
Turn the tightening wheel
Tester
at base of pump until
piston legs contact
surface and gage dial
initiates movement
Turn hand crank smoothly
& evenly until a break
occurs or the maximum
pressure is reached
Read pressure from gage
dial (psi x 100 on red
dial)

Special Requirements for Pulloff Adhesion of Coatings on


Standard Test Method ASTM D7234-05
Concrete
SSPC SP13/NACE No. 6, Appendix A1.6 describes
procedures for testing concrete coating adhesion
Testing procedures are similar; minor differences
in equipment and test procedures
This section is not comprehensive
SSPC CCI (Concrete Coating Inspector) Training
Program contains more detail
Four considerations described

Special Requirements for Pulloff Adhesion of Coatings on


1. Scoring the coating
Concrete
Thick film coatings (>20 mils) have lateral bond
strength
May produce misleading pull-off values (false, high)
Scoring through coating (down to the concrete
surface) is typically performed
Scoring is done prior to attachment of loading
fixture (except if loading fixture is square)
Scoring coatings <20 mils may also be required
When attaching loading fixture, verify adhesive does
not flow into groove

Special Requirements for Pulloff Adhesion of Coatings on


2. Loading Fixture Size
Concrete
Unlike steel, concrete is non-uniform and contains
cement and aggregate
Round loading fixture diameter should be 2 (50
mm) to ensure test is performed over a
representative area
Square loading fixtures are used with some testers

3. Loading Rate
The pressure loading rate should be 30 psi/second;
the test should be completed in 5-30 seconds

Special Requirements for Pulloff Adhesion of Coatings on


4. Compressive Vs. Tensile Strength
Concrete
Concrete has high compressive strength (i.e.,
4000 psi), but low tensile strength (i.e., 400 psi)
Low pull-off values common
Plane of fracture commonly within the concrete
When fracture occurs in the concrete, report
the minimum coating tensile adhesion
properties; actual coating tensile strength
remains unknown

Recording the Type and


Location
of
Break

Adhesion Break: A break between coating layers


or between the substrate and first coating layer
Cohesion Break: A break within a single coating
layer
Glue Break: Coating adhesion and/or cohesion
strength exceeds bonding strength of the adhesive
If multiple locations of break occur, estimate the

percentage of each (e.g., 75% cohesion within


primer; 25% adhesion between primer and
intermediate coats)

Illustration of Various Locations


of Break

Recording the Type and


Location of Break
Disregard any test where glue break

represents more than 50%


If glue break occurs and the pull-off value is
greater than the acceptance value, reattachment is not necessary (report pass
with pull-off strength > X psi)

Pitfalls to Avoid
Determine which tester to use. Different testers

generate different pull-off values on the same coating


Verify testing equipment has current calibration
Perform testing in triplicate
The rigidity of the substrate can affect the testing
Clean the surface and the loading fixtures to reduce the
possibility of glue failures. Use care when abrading the
surface to prevent introduction of surface flaws
Verify adhesive is compatible with the coating
Allow the adhesive to cure. Conducting pull tests before
adhesive is cured often results in glue breaks
Verify perpendicular pull
Support pull-off device on vertical surfaces

Reporting
General Nature of Test
Substrate type and coating system (thickness, type, surface

orientation)
Field or laboratory testing
Air temperature and relative humidity
Testing apparatus employed; loading fixture type/dimensions
Adhesive type employed
No. of tests performed
Load applied (pull-off values, in psi, KPa or MPa)
Mean and range of pull-off values
Location of break (between coats, within a coat, between substrate
surface and primer, etc.)
Note scoring, if employed (and any other deviations from procedure)

THE END