For over 50 years, Q-Panel steel and aluminium test substrates have been recognised as the world standard for a consistent and uniform test surface for paints, plating, adhesives, sealants, rust inhibitors and other coatings. Thousands of labs around the world use millions of our steel and aluminium test panels every year for colour development, weathering exposures, salt spray and corrosion testing, physical properties testing and quality control.
The use of weathering panel substrates allows for consistent and controlled testing, as the substrate provides a known and stable background for evaluating the performance of the product or material. This is particularly important for evaluating changes in the appearance or colour of materials after exposure to environmental conditions, such as light, heat, or moisture.
A wide range of panel sizes and types are available for immediate shipment from stock. Look for the Q-shaped hole. It’s our trademark and your assurance of quality.
Thousands of labs around the world use millions of steel and aluminium test Q-Panels every year for colour development, weathering exposures, salt spray and corrosion testing, physical properties testing and quality control.
Look for the Q-shaped hole. It’s our trademark and your assurance of quality.
If coatings tests are to be reliable and reproducible, they must be performed on a substrate that is reasonably consistent from test to test. Unfortunately, ordinary commercial sheet steel displays wide variations in surface properties, which affect the bonding of coatings.
Sources of Variability
Surface problems can come from a number of sources:
The result is that ordinary steel is unsuitable for many coatings tests. Although some commercial steel provides an excellent surface for coatings, you are just as likely to find steel that gives poor adhesion and rust resistance even with suitable coatings. A single mill will often produce excellent and very inferior surface quality, depending upon several uncontrolled factors. Cleaning and phosphating help, but they cannot overcome surface defects formed at the mill.
Q-Panel steel and aluminium test substrates from Q-Lab minimise metal variability as a source of bias in critical paint, coating and adhesion tests. They are clean, consistent, convenient, and economical.
The Q-Panel production process thoroughly cleans panels and removes any oil from the surface. Special handling assures that all panels are completely clean when they are packaged. Steel panels are packed in plastic bags in quantities of 20 to 50 panels (depending on type and thickness), with a vapour phase rust inhibitor inside a sturdy cardboard carton, for a shelf life of several years. Aluminium panels are packed similarly, except without the rust inhibitor.
Three factors ensure Q-Panel substrates are consistent, high quality and low cost:
Panels are supplied pre-cleaned, with a 6mm (¼”) Q-shaped hole (it’s our trademark and your assurance of quality). The panels have rounded corners and deburred edges for safety and ease of handling. Our inventory of over a million paint test panels means that 95% of our orders are shipped from stock. In most cases, panels can be used right out of the box.
Because of high volume production, Q-Panel substrates cost less than you might expect for a standardised surface. Purchasing clean, safe, standardised panels reduces the time lab personnel must spend cleaning and handling panels.
Corrosion test coupons ensure repeatability and reproducibility when performing laboratory corrosion testing. All Q-PANEL CX-series corrosion coupons include Certificate of Analysis, come pre-cleaned and ready to use right out of the package. This allows the user to simply measure the panels and place them in the tester, saving time and effort.
And best of all, CX corrosion coupons are often half the price of competitors’ coupons.
Why do Corrosion Testing?
The estimated direct cost of corrosion effects in the United States alone is estimated at almost $300 billion annually. For this reason, manufacturers must understand their products’ resistance to corrosive environments. Corrosion test standards are used widely to address this issue, but for this corrosion testing to be of value, laboratories need to verify that their testing is reliable and reproducible.
What are Corrosion Coupons?
Corrosion coupons (also known as mass-loss coupons) are standardised thin steel panels that serve as reference specimens in corrosion testing. They help a user verify the rate of corrosion in corrosion chambers and serve as independent test monitoring devices. Q-Lab’s CX-series of standard corrosion test coupons are ideally suited for this application – they are consistent, clean, convenient, and cost-effective.
Surface inconsistencies, such as variations in steel roller condition, carbon dust impurity, rust caused by handling errors, and long storage times, can affect the consistency of corrosion mass loss. As a result, ordinary steel is unsuitable for many corrosion tests. Q-Lab’s CX-series steel corrosion coupons minimise metal variability as a source of bias in critical corrosion tests due to three key factors:
The Q-Lab CX corrosion coupon production process thoroughly cleans panels and removes any oil from the surface. Special handling ensures that all panels are completely clean when packaged. Corrosion coupons are packed in plastic bags with vapour phase rust inhibitor, preserving a high degree of surface quality for long shelf life.
For your safety and ease of handling, all Q-PANEL corrosion coupons have deburred edges, and some versions have rounded edges (depending on the requirements of the appropriate standard). Corrosion coupons are supplied pre-cleaned – in fact, Q-Lab’s cleaning and packaging quality allow you to use CX corrosion coupons right out of the package without compromising test consistency.
Furthermore, CX corrosion coupons are tailored to meet the requirements of major national, international, and manufacturer corrosion test standards without any modification – just plug and play.
Because of high volume production and Q-Lab’s decades-long history as the leader in standardised test substrates, CX corrosion coupons cost much less than you might expect – often half the competitors’ pricing. Purchasing pre-cleaned corrosion coupons reduce the time lab personnel must spend cleaning and handling panels, saving further costs.