Efficacy and Safety of Combining Heat Induction and Laser Ablation for the Removal of Potentially Hazardous Bridge Coatings

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) spends millions of dollars every year on bridge coating maintenance, with those costs covering variables like mobilization, traffic control, environmental and worker protection, surface preparation, painting, and the disposal of waste. The Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC) has had great success using laser ablation coating removal (LACR) to remove lead based coatings, demonstrating that this type of work could be done while also improving worker health and environmental safety. Building on this earlier effort, the proposed project will focus on improving on this earlier LACR work by investigating how to increase production rates by incorporating inductive coating removal (ICR). In addition, it will evaluate if zinc-rich paint systems (VDOT System B), using inorganic zinc or organic zinc primers, will exhibit adequate adhesion when these non-conventional coating removal techniques are used. In addition, this project will investigate how each technique influences coating adhesion while providing guidance on how VDOT may proceed when using these recoating options in the field. Finally, the VTRC will construct a stylized bridge life-cycle cost model to explore the opportunities for cost savings, if any, that the ICR and LACR technologies appear to permit