Perma-Cote PVC-Coated Conduit Systems provides proper protection for a variety of airport applications



  • Contributions from general aviation to the U.S. economy supports 1.1 million total jobs and $219 billion in total economic output in the United States. These numbers include direct, indirect, induced, and enabled impacts.
  • According to SourceAV Jobs, the United States possesses the largest and most extensive aviation system in the world, with more than 18,000 airports serving more than 30 million passengers annually.

Where should I use PVC-Coated Conduit in Airport Environments?

It is critical to protect the overall airport system to keep the structure operating at full capacity day in and day out.

Unfortunately, this is not an easy task, especially when many airports struggle to overcome the corrosive environment that exists due to harsh weather conditions—such as the rain, sleet, and snow plaguing airports during the year.

There are many electrical components within the airport system that are often impacted by corrosion.

  • Runway lighting – Caution should be taken in this area as soil can have an effect on buried conduits and can be corrosive for many reasons such as poor aeration, pH levels, moisture content, and salt content.
  • Vehicle fueling stations & Fuel storage systems – Many times electrical components powering fueling stations are buried in soil. Additionally, many pump systems are contained in a brine solution in order to protect against spark. Brine solution (salt water) is extremely corrosive and fueling stations are an area where both the risk of corrosion and the consequences of failure are high.
  • Deicing areas – There are various solutions that can be used in the deicing process. The most widely used deicer in aviation is potassium acetate (KAc) with sand being the second most common option. Alternatives include airside urea, which is a nitrogen-heavy, granular fertilizer, sodium acetate (NaAc), sodium formate (NaF), potassium formate (KF), ethylene glycol-based fluids, and propylene glycol-based fluids.
  • Parking garages – This is an area which may also need protection and is usually a concern in hot and humid environments such as coastal areas.

The most important thing to keep in mind with airport facilities is that they are designed to last a significant amount of time and corrosion protection is critical to the longevity of overall facility. In order to reduce costs and downtime it is important to protect electrical infrastructure in harsh environments for optimal service life.

Having a corrosion preventative strategy plan in place is critical to facility longevity and safety

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) maintenance team regularly faces the impact of corrosion on electrical products throughout the airport, especially conduit. To assist maintenance, the SFO engineering design team decided to look into additional testing factors performed on conduits such as ETL-Verified PVC-001 PVC coated conduit.

Although corrosion to conduit has many factors, a specific environment at SFO that tends to accelerate the effects of corrosion is the airport’s proximity to San Francisco Bay. The San Francisco Bay contains the combination of saltwater, salt air and high moisture. Due to the close proximity of the San Francisco Bay many underground structures such as vaults and conduits are exposed to those factors. The saltwater seepage along with the salt air and high moisture can be difficult to mitigate and exposure to it can potentially reduce the performance of those infrastructure in the long term.

Due to this corrosive environment at the SFO Airport, engineering made the decision to try the PVC coated galvanized rigid conduit. In the process an engineer from SFO attended Corrosion College to become more familiar with the ETL testing procedure and get further information on corrosion in conduits.

Long-term success of electrical equipment installed at airports depends on corrosion prevention knowledge and defense of the original product specifications. Stephanie Ellis, Director, Corrosion College

Long-term success of electrical equipment installed at airports depends on corrosion prevention knowledge and defense of the original product specifications.
Stephanie Ellis, Director, Corrosion College

To learn more about Corrosion College:

Perma-Cote – value-added engineering/value-added benefits.

Perma-Cote is not simply a product — it is a key link in a system designed to beat the high cost of corrosion damage. The following graphic illustrates how the beneficial differentiators of Perma-Cote provide added value in making the system work.



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Perma-Cote complies with standards including:


  • NEMA RN-1
  • ANSI C80.1
  • UL 6
  • ETL PVC-001

Chemical Resistance Chart

Many factors go into determining the protection level of an electrical system. One factor that can be used is the conduit’s resistance to chemicals which will be used near and around your conduit system. The Chemical Resistance Chart below showcases some commonly used electrical conduit materials. For each type you will see a grade that relates to how it performs within an environment which these chemicals may be splashed onto the material.



pH Chart

pH is another factor which can be used during material selection. pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. Low pH is acidic and high pH is basic or caustic. This is important, because if you can measure the pH in the environment, you can make better material selection in the design process.

The pH chart below displays arrows which show materials typically used for electrical conduit and how they perform in each level of the pH scale. Generally, if you are operating in an environment below 4 or above 8.5 on the pH scale, you need to move into a more aggressive corrosion resistant material.

For conduit in particular, the widest range of use comes down to using a PVC coating to prevent corrosion. Correctly applied coatings are going to seal the metal conduit from the corrosive environment.