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Thermal Spray Coatings for DOT / FHWA


Bridges are a critical component of a nation's infrastructure that spans roads, railways, and water bodies, such as rivers and bays. They make it possible to ship raw materials and finished goods to factories, warehouses, suppliers, distributors, stores, and end-consumers. Building new and rehabilitating existing bridges is a significant investment. For this reason, a high-performance, proven corrosion protection coating is often required to lower the life-cycle cost while increasing the service life and longevity of a bridge.  

Thermion® thermal sprays are used for metalizing bridges to provide corrosion protection to steel structures and bridge sections. Thermal sprays for bridges, such as zinc and aluminum, provide a sacrificial or barrier protection between the base material and environment. They also provide new levels of hardness and added wear and erosion resistance to help provide significant life-cycle cost savings. Not only are anti-corrosion coatings commonly applied to road, rail, waterway, and footbridges, but they can be applied to concrete to give added protection to the reinforcing bars within the concrete structure.

Benefits of DOT / FHWA Thermal Spray Coatings

Whether you need to repair a bridge suffering from rebar corrosion or want to enhance the longevity of a newly built bridge, our thermal spray coatings offer excellent corrosion resistance and other beneficial performance characteristics.

The following are benefits of thermal spray coatings for metalizing bridges:

  • Protects metal components from corrosion and other hazardous environmental conditions
  • Extends service life and longevity
  • Reduces maintenance and life-cycle costs
  • Provides wear and abrasion resistance
  • Enhances structural integrity and durability of bridge sections

Common Thermion Equipment For The DOT / FHWA

Because our thermal coating spray equipment and technology have no size limitations, they can be used to apply anti-corrosion coatings to structures and components that are too large for hot-dip galvanizing. For example, our versatile metalizing bridge systems can be used to apply protective coatings to steel parts in the shop before a bridge is built or in the field while reinforcing an existing bridge.

Thermion® Arc Spray Systems use twin-wire arc spray technology to apply thermal sprayed coatings. Our patented Arc Voltage Drive (AVD) automatically controls the motor speed, which helps maintain a perfect arc gap and apply a consistent high-density coating to a bridge section in a single pass. Arc spray also needs only dry compressed air and electricity, which makes it significantly more economical to operate than other costly thermal spray processes.

The following AVD series metalizing systems are ideal for use metalizing bridges and other DOT/FHWA applications:

  • Precision Arc 3.2 – Economical and versatile anti-corrosion thermal spray system. Ideal for both onsite and field use when moderately high production rate and portability are required.
  • Precision Arc 4.8 – Low energy, high deposition metalizing system that is recommended for both large onsite and field use when ultra-high production rate and portability are required.
  • AVD 250 – Newest spray system in our AVD series. It was designed specifically as an economical solution for applications that call for lighter production needs. Intended for shops that metalize as a sideline business as well as startup operations.
  • AVD 350 – Commonly used to spray engineered coatings as well as anti-corrosion and restoration applications. Ideal for normal production rates.
  • AVD 450 – Designed for engineered coatings as well as anti-corrosion and restoration applications. Ideal for both moderate and high production rates.
  • AVD 456HD – This machine includes our new high-density arc spray coating system, which is ideal for high production rates. Features include preset spring pressure, which allows continuous and precise pressure on the wires at all times and does not change when new wires are loaded.

Common DOT / FHWA Applications

Common DOT/FHWA applications for anti-corrosion thermal spray coatings include:

  • Enhancing New Bridges
  • Repairing Existing Bridges and Bridge Sections
  • Reinforcing Bars Inside Concrete
  • Rehabilitating Rebar

Materials Used For Thermal Spray Coating

Most bridges are prone to corrosion from the weather and from salt used to “grit” roads in winter. The choice of material often depends on the environmental conditions expected for the bridge structure.

Some of the common thermal spray materials we provide for metalizing bridges and other DOT/FWHA applications include:

  • Aluminum– Extremely durable coating that provides total corrosion protection and significant life improvement over conventional barrier coatings
  • Zinc – By providing a barrier coating protection to iron and steel, zinc thermal spray is a highly effective and proven method of corrosion and oxidation protection.
  • Zinc/Aluminum – Anti-corrosive coating that offers the benefits of both materials. For example, the aluminum slows down the dissolution of zinc, which increases the duration of the protection.
  • Steel – Produces a well-bonded coating that is excellent for wear-resistant, dimensional restoration, and machine element repair applications.
  • Copper ­– Offers good resistance to corrosion and both mechanical and thermal shock.
  • Stainless Steel – Enhances machinability and wear and corrosion resistance. Excellent for dimensional restoration and machine element repair applications.
  • Cobalt – Provides superb resistance to chemical and mechanical degradation over a wide range of temperatures.

Thermion® thermal spray for anti-slip and anti-skid applications are also available from SafTrax. Using our AVD series metalizing systems and the twin arc spray process, these thermal spray types can be applied to bridges to provide continuous and safer non-slip surfaces. For more information on anti-slip and anti-skid thermal sprays from Saftrax, contact us at 877-895-5731.

Why Thermion?

Thermion® metalizing equipment provides proven long-term corrosion protection of structural steel bridges. Using our patented equipment systems and technology, you can apply zinc, aluminum, and zinc/aluminum coatings to an existing bridge in the field. Also, our thermal sprays for bridges also provide new levels of hardness and added wear and erosion resistance.

Our founder, Frank Rogers, invented the first Thermion® spray system in the 1980s and is still active in helping reinvent Thermion®. Thermion’s inventions for metalizing systems, including our patented Arc Shorting Control and Arc Voltage Drive features, have improved the metalizing process in coating quality, productivity, portability, and adaptability. Today, Thermion® is recognized as producers of the most reliable high-production metalizing systems in the world 

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