The Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) goal is to develop environmentally friendly corrosion mitigating pretreatments, coatings, or other corrosion mitigation solutions that decrease the cost of maintenance of the weapon system and platform.
The following technology focal areas were of interest as well as other classes that directly pertain to U.S. DoD weapons systems and platforms:
Corrosion resistant sealants
Improved methodologies to join dissimilar materials
Improved methodologies to reduce exposure of corrosion susceptible alloys to corrosive environments
Materials with increased corrosion resistance
Because of the over-reliance on coatings and pretreatments for corrosion mitigation on military assets, the following areas are of interest only in combination with the above technology focal areas:
Corrosion prevention compounds
The project must demonstrate that the commercial solution is environmentally friendly relative to the state-of-the-art technologies used. The project must also demonstrate that the technology will result in reduced cost to maintain the weapons system or platform while also having reasonable initial acquisition costs.
The materials and processes to be demonstrated/validated should already be developed to at least a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 4, and the proposed project should bring them to TRL 7 or higher. Field testing in military relevant environments on general military weapons systems and platforms components, parts, sub-systems, or sections should be included in the proposed project. Alternative solutions should be production-level materials rather than laboratory-scale samples. Projects must demonstrate producibility, defined as the ability to be produced in the near term to meet the current weapons systems and platforms requirements.
Proposals should have included an assessment of the human health and environmental impacts of proposed ingredients, formulations, and byproducts if such testing has not already been completed. Any completed testing on human health and environmental impacts of the corrosion inhibiting formulations components and formulations should be summarized in the proposal. Proposals should also include a plan to conduct an appropriately-scaled Sustainability Analysis1.
The project team must include DoD personnel or DoD prime contract companies that manufacture DoD weapons systems and platforms and are considered stakeholders for the intended application. Proposals should also indicate the involvement of other DoD stakeholders at the consultant level and higher.
Hexavalent chromium, cadmium, and other toxic heavy metals work very well in corrosion mitigating solutions, but have very harmful health and environmental effects. The DoD is developing and implementing alternatives to these technologies. Zinc-rich and Aluminum-rich primers have shown promise as replacements for hexavalent chromium in protective primers. Trivalent chromium pretreatments have been effective as pretreatment solutions, but growing concerns on the safety of trivalent chromium will likely stymie implementation.
Despite many years of corrosion mitigation research and development, the costs of sustaining weapons systems and platforms has actually increased according to the DoD Director for Corrosion Policy and Oversight. The reason for this is that our systems have become over reliant on coatings as the primary corrosion mitigation mechanism rather than a total systems engineering design approach to enable effective sustainment. As such, solutions beyond coatings are sought that may include corrosion resistant materials, improved joining methodologies, and improved methodologies to reduce exposure of corrosion susceptible materials to corrosive environments.