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Coatings in Aggressive Environments

Marine oil and gas testing

TWI’s work with materials in aggressive environments stretches back several years and has seen us build up expertise in a variety of applications and industries.

Since 2000, TWI’s Surface Engineering section has specialised in the testing of thermal spray aluminium (TSA) coatings in marine environments.

Initially focused on their performance in relation to steel structures, such as oil and gas platforms in seawater, TWI has developed expertise in electrochemical techniques for measuring and predicting the corrosion rate of TSA when submerged, in the splash and tidal zone, and at elevated temperatures.

Other marine applications

The experience gained from our work with upstream offshore oil and gas applications has been translated more recently into the offshore wind sector and shipping. This is particularly significant for applications such as ensuring the protection of monopile and jacket structure foundations for offshore wind turbines.

TWI’s innovative approaches to mitigating corrosion in marine environments using thermal spray and cold spray coatings form just part of the work currently undertaken.

Downstream environments

In parallel with the management of marine-based corrosion, TWI has been actively developing capabilities for the testing of coatings simulating high-pressure, high-temperature downstream petroleum and petrochemical process plant conditions. These test require the use of state-of-the-art autoclaves and simulate environments including conventional sour service, ultra-sour conditions, supercritical CO2 and amine stripping systems.

Other complex and aggressive corrosion testing capabilities at TWI include corrosion under insulating (CUI) testing and testing in hot concentrated mineral acids, such as hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acids.

Other aggressive coating environments

While they form a large part of our work, TWI’s capabilities are not simply restricted to the offshore wind and oil and gas sectors. Our aggressive environment testing work also encompasses simulated power generation and aerospace environments.

Our specialised service for the aerospace sector takes the form of hydrogen re-embrittlement testing of Cd-plating and its alternatives, such as ZnNi plating and electro-deposited aluminium.

Current projects have also established molten salt testing facility for geothermal energy recovery systems, while high temperature corrosion testing with HCl and CO up to 1100°C has been used for biomass combustion and municipal waste incineration applications.

You can find out more about TWI’s work in aggressive environment testing here and find out more about our aggressive environment testing laboratory here.

Avatar Dave Harvey Technology Fellow - Surface Engineering

David joined TWI in 1986 with a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering, working initially on projects related to process control in gas shielded arc welding. He has been closely involved subsequently with the development of TWI's thermal spray coating facilities. He was Chairman of the UK Surface Engineering Society from 1994-97 and was an active member of the Thermal Spraying & Surface Engineering Association (TSSEA) management committee for more than 10 years.

His current responsibilities are in project support for TWI’s coating and corrosion testing activities, where he has previously developed five joint industry projects studying the benefits of thermally sprayed aluminium (TSA) coatings on steels, high strength steels and corrosion resistant alloys for use in marine environments for applications ranging from oil & gas platforms and pipelines, ships, bridges and offshore wind structures.

For more information please email:


contactus@twi.co.uk