Part of ensuring the successful application of a surface coating is preparing the substrate properly and maintaining ideal ambient conditions. Surface temperatures, however, often stay out of the spotlight, despite their vital role. Tank surfaces that require protective coatings are made of materials that respond to their surrounding environments. The best way to ensure that surfaces act predictably and maintain ideal temperatures is by using temporary climate control equipment.
The Importance of Controlling a Tank’s Surface Temperature
Optimizing a tank’s surface temperature is necessary at all stages of the surface coating process. Temperature control is particularly imperative during the surface coating preparation stage because this is when the substrate is vulnerable to ambient conditions. The purpose of measuring a tank's surface temperature is to determine if it is above, at, or below the dew point temperature.
Dew point is the temperature at which water vapor saturates the air when air pressure and moisture content are constant. When a tank’s surface cools to the dew point temperature, condensation forms on the surface. Because the materials used for tanks respond to their environments, surfaces tend to absorb heat during the day and radiate it at night. The heat radiation and subsequent surface cooling might lower a tank’s surface temperature to the dew point temperature.
In addition to air temperatures, relative humidity levels affect dew point temperatures. The relative humidity is the ratio of water vapor pressure to water vapor saturation in the air at a given air temperature. Professionals consider how close the air and dew point temperatures are to each other to determine an area’s relative humidity level. When air temperature and dew point temperature values are close, relative humidity levels in an area are higher, as is the risk of condensation formation on a tank’s surface.
How to Control Surface Temperatures
Condensation formation on a tank during the surface coating preparation stages may result in flash rust and the surface’s decontamination. The most effective way to control a tank’s surface temperature is with custom temporary climate control equipment, such as heaters and dehumidifiers.
Temporary climate control solutions make surface coating projects more predictable. Rather than hope that the weather cooperates and performs costly re-work when it does not, the equipment allows you to control the environment’s air temperature, relative humidity level, dew point temperature, and, ultimately, the tank’s surface temperature. The equipment keeps environmental conditions constant at all hours, so you don’t have to worry about or take into account natural temperature fluctuations during the night and day. Sensors on the equipment monitor conditions, as well, and send you alerts if something needs attention.
Controlling a tank’s surface temperature with temporary climate control systems not only improves a tank’s surface preparation, it also helps ensure the proper drying and curing of surface coating applications. For over seven decades, Polygon has been an international leader in construction drying and environment optimization. The custom equipment takes away the need to hope for cooperative weather because the means to create the perfect conditions is at hand.
[Photo from Karen and Brad Emerson via CC License 2.0]