Diffusion cell investigations into the acidic degradation of organic coatings

Victor Buhl Møller, Ting Wang, Kim Dam-Johansen, Sarah Maria Frankær, Søren Kiil*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

138 Downloads (Pure)


Protective organic coatings work by preventing contact between an aggressive environment and a vulnerable substrate. However, the long required lifetime of a barrier coating provides a challenge when attempting to evaluate coating performance. Diffusion cells can be used as a tool to estimate coating barrier properties and lifetime. In this work, a diffusion cell array was designed, constructed, and compared to previous designs, with simplicity being the most important design parameter. Sulfuric acid diffusion through five different coatings was monitored using a battery of cells and a mathematical model was developed to simulate the experimental data and to study diffusion mechanisms. The diffusion cells allowed an objective and fast analysis of coating barrier properties. It was found that sulfuric acid deteriorated these properties as it diffused through the films. This was also expressed in the modeling results, where a three-step time-dependence of the diffusion coefficient was required to simulate both acid breakthrough-time and the subsequent steady state flux. A vinyl ester based coating proved to be the most effective barrier to sulfuric acid diffusion, followed by a polyurethane coating. Amine-cured novolac epoxies provided the least effective protection.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Coatings Technology and Research
Pages (from-to)1201-1215
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Permeation rate
  • Failure mechanism
  • Diffusion coefficient
  • Barrier properties
  • Mathematical modeling

Cite this