Organic thick coatings (epoxy, polyurethane, and acrylic-urethane) have been widely applied to high modulus substrates (e.g., steel) for anticorrosion protection. To improve performance, reinforced components (clay, bochmite, nanopaticles, etc.) are usually added to these coatings. However, the acoustic evaluation of these coatings is difficult due to their low acoustic velocities and high attenuation coefficients. In this paper, first, the scanning acoustic microscope (SAM) is used to image sub-surfaces, coating/substrate interfaces, and to measure acoustic velocities. Different phases can be observed on some coatings and defects can be found at some interfaces. Secondly, the atomic force microscope (AFM) is applied to image surfaces at high resolution (compared to SAM). These results agree with SAM images. Thirdly, a nano-indentation technique is utilized to measure the reduced Young’s modulus and absolute hardness of the coatings. The results show that epoxy has the highest Young’s modulus and acrylic-urethane has the lowest. Reinforced components can either increase or decrease Young’s modulus, and hardness depending on the coating material. Finally, results from the SAM, AFM and nano-indentation are compared and analyzed to optimize the evaluation.

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