Corrosion, coating degradation, fracture, and wear of weapons systems components continue to be a challenge for the Department of Defense (DoD). Many effective legacy technologies used for protection against corrosion contain hexavalent chromium, cadmium, and other hazardous materials. As such, alternative technologies that are more environmentally friendly but have similar performance have been developed. A barrier to more rapid implementation of these technologies is the lack of accurate accelerated corrosion test data. Developing an accurate accelerated corrosion test model in a controlled laboratory setting would improve DoD’s understanding of corrosion in the environment, providing the opportunity to improve base operation and maintenance, mitigate corrosion damage, better identify failure mode, and introduce more environmentally friendly technologies.
Mr. James Dante and his team from the Southwest Research Institute, NAVAIR, Boeing, Luna Innovations, U.S. Army – AMCOM, the University of Virginia, and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory addressed this challenge by developing an improved dynamic accelerated corrosion test protocol that more accurately predicts material system corrosion behavior in operational environments. Tests were conducted in various locations, in both indoor and outdoor environments, to collect diverse data to include all critical factors. Throughout the program, the research team assessed the relationship between environmental parameters and the resulting corrosion modes of various material systems. The corrosion of metals, coating adhesion, and mechanical properties of metals as a function of environmental factors were assessed.
These findings were used to develop a new test protocol producing results in corrosion damage more like that observed in outdoor exposures than previous tests, especially related to Relative Humidity. The test protocol provides detailed information regarding the testing apparatus, sample preparation, solution preparation, testing procedure, as well as post-test inspections and reporting. It was written in the format of the standard ASTM tests to facilitate easy discussion and adoption.
The successful development of an accelerated corrosion test protocol in this project facilitates the implementation of novel, environmentally friendly corrosion prevention technologies and improved understanding of the relationship between corrosion, it’s most critical factors, and system performance. The adoption of these environmentally friendly technologies will lead to a reduction in the use of hexavalent chromium and other hazardous materials in corrosion prevention technologies.
For their efforts in addressing this issue, Mr. Dante and his team have been awarded the 2018 SERDP Project of the Year from the Weapons Systems and Platforms Program Area for their project titled Accelerated Dynamic Corrosion Test Method Development.