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Laser Ablation Coating Removal

Laser Ablation Coating Removal

What is Laser Ablation Coating Removal?

A laser emits high energy light pulses which creates a shock wave that irradiates coating materials to a point that the material evaporates, sublimates, or is converted to plasma. 


More about Laser Ablation Coating Removal

IV creates a virtual world in which to model projects accurately in 3D, then render videos and images as well as immersive visualizations to create interactive simulation products. IV models are built from existing and proposed data, including agency design files (i.e., a Microstation roadway surface), while a game engine powers real-time presentation. When optimized with adjacent infrastructure to produce performance simulation, touch screen kiosks and virtual reality (VR) applications can provide a virtual helicopter tour over a proposed project, for instance.

Project NEON, Nevada's largest and most expensive public works project ever, was the catalyst for the initiative. IV helped convey complex planning and design scenarios to the public while helping project development personnel identify and resolve design and construction challenges, such as site impacts and right of way, geometric, and line-of-sight issues. IV products allowed the traveling public, homeowners, and businesses to see the potential impact of the project on their interests, while addressing their concerns and those of regulatory agencies about safety and environmental impact. As a result, IV vastly enhanced interagency coordination, regulatory review, and approval.

IV supplies much more freedom of camera movement than typical state-of-the-practice project visualizations, which provide views from specific angles. That enables non-outreach products like technical clarity visuals, graphics for related legal cases, landscaping details, and more. While conventional visualizations render various images for delivery via video files from which models are constructed for a given purpose, rapid, real time rendering through IV’s game engine technology eliminates the need to remodel, bringing its overall cost in line with traditional 3D visualization.

Laser Ablation Coating Removal

Approximately one-third of the nation's 600,000 plus bridges are made of steel. Highway agencies undertake bridge painting every five to 15 years as a preventive maintenance activity to prevent corrosion, maintain structural capacity, and extend the life of bridge structures. R​​emoval of existing painting is a complex operation involving safety, health, hygiene, and environmental risks.

Traditional paint removal methods, such as abrasive blasting, chemical stripping, or power tool cleaning, require a containment system or enclosure to contain dust and debris, and ensure safe handling of hazardous materials, such as lead, chromium, and cadmium-based pigments in paints. Installing a containment system is an expensive undertaking that often makes the recoating of an entire bridge as economical as the zone or spot painting of bridge elements.

A new method for removing coatings, Laser Ablation Coating Removal (LACR), offers significant cost savings, health, and environmental benefits over traditional methods. The LACR process employs a laser that emits high energy light pulses which create a shock wave that irradiates coating materials to a point that the material evaporates, sublimates, or is converted to plasma.

LACR reduces the release of airborne contaminants to extremely low levels, which in turn, improves industrial hygiene and safety of workers, requires less personal protective equipment, and enhances safe disposal of hazardous waste. Further, LACR is highly effective and efficient as no containment structure is needed and “touch up" or spot repairs can be done which can help maintenance staff resolve issues before they worsen.




Adam Matteo, Chair
Assistant State Structure and Bridge Engineer
Virginia Department of Transportation
Phone: 804-786-5171

John Belcher
Bridge Construction Engineer
Michigan Department of Transportation
Phone: 517-937-7400

Stephen Sharp
Associate Principal Research Scientist
Virginia Transportation Research Council
Phone: 434-293-1913

Bryan Silvis
Senior Bridge Maintenance Management Engineer
Virginia Department of Transportation
Phone: 804-371-2737