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USAF Offers $7M for Corrosion R&D

Friday, June 7, 2013

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The U.S. Air Force Academy is making $7 million in grant money available for research and development of protective coatings, test methods and materials to fight corrosion.

The materials would further the work of the Center for Aircraft Structural Life Extension (CAStLE), which conducts structural integrity research tasks for the Air Force, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, NASA, and other government, academic and commercial sponsors.

The academy's current research strengths include work on advanced barrier coatings and high-temperature materials development.

Osan AB water pipes
Photos: USAF

From burst water pipes at an Air Force dormitory to compromised weaponry and vehicles, corrosion is a multibillion-dollar U.S. military concern.

"The interaction between corrosion and cracking damage mechanisms and their effect on the structural integrity has been a long standing interest of CAStLE," says the announcement for "Research of Technologies Advancing Corrosion Prevention and Control." There is DOD-level interest in material degradation in structures—to include corrosion, cracking and other service-related damage mechanisms."

Grants would cover 50 to 100 percent of selected projects, the announcement said.

Focus on Coatings...

The Agency Announcement details a variety of areas of interest, including surface and finish research. One focus is on surface modification technologies that improve coating adhesion or corrosion resistance.

Substrates of interest for improved surface modifications include steels, aluminum, magnesium, composites and other structural materials. Surface modification may include improved anodizing or conversion processes, or metallizing application techniques. Cost, safety and environmental concerns must be addressed for proposed surface modification technologies research.

Other areas of interest include research leading to lower life-cycle costs of coatings and tools to assess coating damage.

USAFA cadet

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets conduct extensive research. Specialties include advanced barrier coatings and high-temperature materials development.

"Rapid assessments of coating damage, including occluded or difficult-to-access areas, are of interest," the Air Force said. "Tools improving speed and cost of this task are of highest interest."

...And Coatings Removal

Another focus is improved coatings removal methods.

"Current methods to remove coatings can be expensive, labor intensive, and environmentally harsh," the announcement notes. "Some methods may subsequently lead to damage to the material surface, reducing lifetime or incurring expense to repair.

"Contaminants on surfaces or in water sources also can affect the performance of these methods, or generate other technical challenges. Research into improved methods that address technical and cost concerns are of interest to DoD, with implications across industry, military, and government are desirable."

Other Support

Other areas of interest include environmentally friendly reformulations or alternative chemicals and mixtures and improved energy use for dehumidification or other corrosion prevention techniques.


Tagged categories: Adhesion; Barrier coatings; Coating failure; Corrosion; Research; Steel; Surface preparation

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