Steel structures like bridges, tanks and pylons are exposed to outdoor weathering conditions. In order to prevent them from corrosion they are protected by organic coating systems. This paper focuses on modelling the deterioration of the organic coating layer that protects steel structures from corrosion. Only if there is sufficient knowledge of the condition of the coating on these structures, maintenance actions can be done in the most efficient way. Therefore the course of the deterioration of the coating system and its lifetime, which is also of importance for doing maintenance, have to be assessed accurately. In this paper, three different stochastic processes, viz. Brownian motion with non-linear drift, the non-stationary gamma process and a two-stage hit-and-grow physical process, are fitted to two real data sets. In this way we are the first who compare the three stochastic processes empirically on criteria such as goodness-of-fit, computational convenience and ease of implementation. The first data set is based on expert judgement; the second consists of inspection results. In the first case the model parameters are obtained by a least-squares approach, in the second case by the method of maximum likelihood. A meta-analysis is performed on the two-stage hit-and-grow model by means of fitting Brownian motion and gamma process to the outcomes of this model.

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Econometric Institute Reprint Series
Reliability Engineering & System Safety
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Nicolai, R., Dekker, R., & van Noortwijk, J. (2007). A comparison of models for measurable deterioration: An application to coatings on steel structures. Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 92(12), 1635–1650. doi:10.1016/j.ress.2006.09.021