Saturday, January 1, 2011

Further comments on Mr. Gummow's article

Further comments on Mr. Gummow’s article:

As the various comments start coming in concerning Mr. Gummow’s article and my response, I thought a little follow up would be good.

First, I want to acknowledge that Bob has written a very good article that all should read. If you did not get the magazine, you can find the article by going to It is in the November 2010 issue. Even though I brought out some other information that was not included in the article that I feel would have made it more accurate, I do understand that when you publish such articles, there is limited space so many times information has to be left out that may have normally been included.

I believe Bob, the TG 360 committee and I all want the best document (SP0169-2007) possible for the corrosion control industry. When we have different viewpoints, we do our best to resolve our differences for the betterment of the industry. I certainly have learned much from Bob and others in the industry and hope to pass along some of this knowledge. Through challenging each other, we not only learn, but also make sure they continue to learn and grow.

Unlike some industry standards, NACE has chosen what I consider to be the best and fairest method for developing standards for the corrosion control industry. They allow all a voice! Some organizations only allow a select few to make these decisions with supposed input from industry. These committees can easily override those who disagree and force the document the direction these few have decided to take the document. If these committees do not have the correct mix of industry experience and knowledge, the document can become an industry headache. Yes, NACE is a laborious and sometimes lengthy process, which causes frustration for some in the industry. I still think the NACE process is the best for our industry, because we have been given the chance to participate by voicing our opinions and democratically voting on the document as many times as it takes!

Some certainly have agendas and want to make sure certain issues are covered in these standards. I think everyone who works on such committees should have areas of expertise and interest. Most of these are good things, but when they get out of line, the voting process brings it back to where it should be, allowing for a more comprehensive and correct document. As far as I know, there has never been a NACE Standard that was not a compromise, meaning that not everyone was happy with the outcome. That is life in a democracy. That is what makes the best overall standard for the industry. The more folks we have contributing, the better the outcome!

I know there are some of you who think this is not the way things should be done, but that is the reason your country does not have colonies anymore! Just kidding. Working together gets much more accomplished than a few dictating to the rest of us what is in their mind the “correct” way.

Neither I, nor anyone else I know of, knows all there is to know about external corrosion control on buried or submerged pipelines. For this reason we must continue to grow in our knowledge. There are many ways to learn and more than one way to do most things. Different experiences, knowledge, skills and abilities will determine how one solves a particular problem. Of course the environment and other conditions must be used to determine what the best solution for the problem should be.

There are those who never read the blog information, Bob’s article or much of anything else because they already think they know what they need to and are not willing to listen to anyone else’s view. To me, these are the most dangerous group, because they are not willing to learn from the discussion or provide further experience through their comments.

Some have accused me of playing politics and only promoting my company. I doubt these folks have ever read the comments that have been posted on the blog site. Yes, I have mentioned my company from time to time because they have supported this blog site by affording me time to address these critical issues and also provided the funds to start and continue this effort as a service to the external corrosion control community. I think that if you go back and read all the information I have posted, you will agree that these posts have rarely been a commercial for Polyguard Products, Inc.

By the way, what companies do you think have the most to gain should the criteria section get changed to include only a polarized -850 mV and 100 mV of polarization criterions? It will not be a coating company such as Polyguard! The companies that will really benefit are those that provide engineering, consulting services, monitoring equipment, surveys, coupon stations and other materials and equipment for the CP industry. If you think there is a conspiracy to make money, maybe you should look another direction than a small coating company.

As most of you know, I have been and will continue to be a big promoter of CP non-shielding coatings when using CP. This is a critical part of external corrosion control. “Non-Shielding” in this context means if the coating system adhesion fails and water penetrates between the pipe and the coating, corrosion on the pipe is significantly reduced or eliminated because cathodic protection (CP) current is able to protect the pipeline in these disbonded areas. It is amazing to me the number folks in this industry that do not understand the concept of using pipeline coatings that are non-shielding to CP. The problem with CP shielding continues to be a major problem with the pipeline industry today.

There have been and continue to be many articles written about CP shielding by most coating types being used today. The most recent one was published in the most recent Materials Performance (December 2010). The title is “Case History: Delamination Failure in a Three-Layer Coating on a 24-in Gas Pipeline”. This is an excellent paper and should be on your reading list! You may also go the website and read many such articles that have been written on the problem with CP shielding pipeline coatings. There are many more such articles that have been written that are not posted. If you would like information on these please send me an e-mail at

Of course, there are those who say this is just smoke and mirrors, along with a variety of other such comments. Most of these folks are with coating companies that have not been interested in this problem or accepted the fact that these problems exist. They do not understand the differences between CP shielding and non-shielding coating and continue to believe their coatings do not fail; therefore there will not be a problem. Others are strictly CP folks who think CP will solve all the external corrosion problems, even under disbonded coatings. There is an excellent NACE International course called “Coatings Used in Conjunction with Cathodic Protection” that discusses many of these issues and would be an excellent course for those who need to better understand relationship of coatings and how the two technologies work together to provide external corrosion control. This course also discusses how the coatings sometimes do not allow the CP to be effective.

All coatings are good. All coatings are bad. There are no perfect coatings. All coatings used with CP have to shield the CP current while adhered. The failure mood of the coating is critical. Does it fail in a way CP can be effective or not? Once again, I challenge you to read the articles and learn more about this problem. Closing your minds to this means the problem will only continue. Why do you think the US Department of Transportation now calls for “non-shielding” coating if a company wants to increase the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure on pipelines from 72% to 80%? Some are starting to understand there is a choice.

There are coating types that have been proven and continue to be proven to be non-shielding when CP is adequate. The most well-known is fusion bonded epoxy. We now have 50 years of proof of the non-shielding properties of FBE. We also have 23 years of proof of the Polyguard RD-6 coating system having non-shielding properties. Though these may not be 100% in all situations, they do show there are non-shielding coating types should the coating be improperly applied, improper surface preparation, poor selection criteria, etc. Please take time to read more articles about these issues instead of just assuming it is “smoke and mirrors”. I have been promoting the use of non-shielding coatings long before I was employed by Polyguard Products, Inc., but am proud to now be associated with a company that has recognized the value of such coatings. WE BELIEVE IN "NON-SHIELDING"!

There are those who continue to reject the use of the “ON” -850 mV as viable criterion. They seem to think this is all about old technology and that it has no scientific value. My position has been and will continue to be that this criterion has a great track record of over 60 years and has been proven in the field to be very effective when properly used! Those who believe in only polarized potentials also continue to have external corrosion problems because of improper use, shielding, improper monitoring, and use of untrained personnel. There is not a perfect criterion.

The answer is to allow companies to use what has been effective for them in controlling their external corrosion and to continue to learn and train those responsible for these processes to use proper technics, equipment and interpretation of these results. We must NOT restrict companies to criteria that are not practical for many systems, especially those protected with galvanic anodes. Some say coupons are the answer for these companies. Coupons are a very good tool, but do not provide all the information needed and are not pipelines! Much of this has already been posted and discussed.

I want to personally challenge those “experts” that think I am only trying to delay the process or use the blog only as a commercial venture for my company, to provide input to the discussion so we can learn from what they know. We have to all be willing to work together and share our knowledge, no matter where you work, no matter the amount of experience, ability or skills. We all have something to offer, question or challenge.

This is what the blog is all about. There are those who do not feel comfortable in front the TG 360 committee, but will provide comments and ask questions through this process. Some on the committee can intimidate members who are at these meetings and would like to address the issues and ask questions. I am not saying that those on the committee intentionally intimidate anyone, but there have been times when this has happened. The blog can be anonymous or you can leave information and identify yourself.

Posts are reviewed by me. I will post all comments that are about external corrosion and do not directly say bad (in my judgment) things about anyone, NACE or the committee. It is fine to be generically frustrated and there are times when your comments need to be directed to particular events and comments, but these comments can be made in decent and reasonable ways.

I wish everyone a very enjoyable and wonderful 2011! Let’s work together to get the NACE SP0169 revision completed. Then we can begin the process of revising theTM0497 to compliment the SP0169!

Thank you for the opportunity to work with you and communicate our ideas about this very important document for the external corrosion control industry!

Richard Norsworthy
Polyguard Products, Inc.
NACE International Corrosion Specialist