The overall objective of this project is to demonstrate and validate the effectiveness of cold spray powders developed in WP-2607 for the replacement of chrome and nickel plating by executing a test plan designed to qualify the use of these powders by the cold spray process for several Department of Defense (DoD) applications. DoD parts will be selected and qualified through a Joint Test Protocol developed by Cognizant Engineering Authorities from the Government and DoD Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Demonstration and validation will take place at DoD cold spray facilities established under various programs to include the Army, Navy, and Air Force Rapid Innovation Fund, Defense Manufacturing Science & Technology and DoD Manufacturing Technology Programs. The project will demonstrate how the cold spray powders and processes developed by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) can successfully and economically replace traditional chrome plating and nickel plating. Parts have been identified as possible candidates to kick-off the project from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNSY) in conjunction with Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and Letterkenny Army Depot (LEAD), but other parts will also be identified with the intent to be a precedent to subsequent commercialization. ARL will develop the cold spray processes utilizing the powders developed under this project and work to transition these processes along with depot, shipyard, and OEM personnel.

Technology Description

The novel aspects of the project include the transition of specialized cold spray powders developed by ARL under WP-2607 (that are being commercialized at Solvus Global, MA), design and development of cold spray nozzles that can deposit a coating on the inside diameters of parts as small as 2 inch diameter and the development of cold spray processes by ARL that will result in hard face coatings with adhesion values higher than competing technologies. For example, data has been reported by ARL of shear strength for chrome carbide-nickel (CrC-Ni) cold spray coatings deposited onto hardened 300M steel of HRC (Rockwell ā€œcā€ Scale hardness) 55 of 24,000 psi, with corresponding impact and wear resistance greater than chrome plating. The powders and processes developed by ARL are Government Intellectual Property (IP) and not commercially available but will be developed and transferred to the maintenance facilities performing the work.


This work will transition cold spray capability to major overhaul and repair stations at PSNSY and at Letterkenny Army Depot that can be used as a model by DoD and industry to replace Cr and Ni electroplating. It will eliminate hazardous materials associated with Cr and Ni electroplating, while providing a superior coating utilizing a process that is also mobile for field repair. It will allow conformance to DoD Emerging Contaminates Directorate in the Memorandum from John Young, USD (ALT), to Secretaries of Military Departments, Minimizing the Use of Hexavalent Chromium. The cold spray applications are vast including:  shafts, splines, gears, landing gear, seals, housings and gun barrels. The total cost savings of this approach is estimated to be at least $250K per year based upon National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence (NDCEE) Toxic Metal Waste Study and yearly production numbers and associated waste disposal costs at PSNSY. It will enable the elimination of carcinogenic chrome(VI) from electrolytic hard chromium plating (EHC) plating process, as well as 1,500 lbs/year of chromic acid hazardous waste at PSNSY.