Autoclave Test Facility

With the RAE Engineering and Inspection Ltd. autoclave facility, the performance of protective coatings can be determined under oil and gas production conditions. Coatings are exposed to produced water, oil, and/or gas at process temperature and pressure. Process fluids can contain hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, methane, and other components as applicable.

Why conduct autoclave testing of protective coatings?

  • Determine if a coating will work in a specific oil and gas production environment.
  • Qualify coatings for use in owners facilities based on the owners qualification test program.
  • Compare competing coating products.
  • Evaluate new coatings.
  • Determine the limits of performance in terms of temperature, pressure, and/or fluid chemistry.
  • Determine the effect of corrosion inhibitors, scale inhibitors, methanol, and other oil field chemicals on coating integrity.


Overall view of autoclave facility


Materials that can be evaluated:

  • Protective coatings,
  • Bulk polymers,
  • Metallic coatings,
  • Elastomers,
  • Ceramics,
  • Assembled components,
  • Composites.

Testing Conditions:

  • Temperature: Up to 450°F (230°C).
  • Pressure: Up to 1050 psig.
  • Test fluids: Aqueous solution (brine, produced water, deionized water). Hydrocarbon (produced oil, kerosene/toluene, aliphatic solvent). Gas (including air, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, methane).
  • Post-Test Analysis: Film thickness, adhesion (parallel scribe), blistering (ASTM D714), color change, foam, and coating impedance at 0.1 Hz.
  • Test panel: 4.5 x 1.5 x 0.125 inches, on steel plate.

Coating performance is assessed based on retention of adhesion, blister resistance, and coating impedance after exposure to autoclave test conditions. Other methods of evaluation relevant to coating performance are included as applicable.

Standard test methods such as NACE TM0185 (Evaluation of Internal Plastic Coatings for Corrosion Control of Tubular Goods by Autoclave Testing) are run.

Custom tests can be designed to meet special service conditions.

EIS (Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy):

Coating impedance is measured before and after exposure to autoclave test conditions. The decrease in impedance is related to deterioration and an increase in permeability as a result of the autoclave test conditions. EIS is particularly useful in evaluating coatings which show little visible change, no blistering, and no loss of adhesion as a result of test conditions. See our EIS Information section for more details.

The effect of a sudden pressure drop on coating adhesion and physical integrity can be assessed.


Assembled Autoclave


Tested panels showing gas (top), hydrocarbon (middle), and water phase exposures (bottom), with parallel scribe adhesion test


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