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Weapons Systems and Platforms - Alternatives for Chromium and Nickel Plating in Repair Operations


Monday, January 05, 2015


The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) is the Department of Defense's (DoD) corporate environmental R&D program, planned and executed in full partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with participation by numerous other federal and non-federal organizations. Within its broad areas of interest, the program focuses on Environmental Restoration, Munitions Management, Sustainable Infrastructure, and Weapons and Systems Platforms. 

The objective of this Statement of Need (SON) is to develop environmentally benign processes that replace electrolytic chromium and nickel plating used on maraging steel, corrosion-resistant steel, and aluminum alloys in localized areas of weapons system components. The proposed technology should meet the following requirements: 
- Eliminates the use of hexavalent chromium and contains low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). 
- Does not promote embrittlement in the substrate material. 
- Eliminates or reduces part masking, bond coats, and flashings. 
- Provides equivalent or better deposition rates as compared to traditional electrolytic plating. 
- Is suitable for a wide variety of common military parts and substrates, to include internal and external diameters, surfaces, complex shapes and blind holes, in an economically feasible manner. 
- Operates in versatile environments from high volume production floors to portable and unpredictable field conditions. 
- Allows for spot repair. 

Proposals submitted must include theoretical or known deposition rate calculations and existing technical and operational performance data to support the concept. The proposer should consider similar deposited metal technical characteristic requirements, such as but not limited to: Aerospace Material Specification (AMS) 2406, AMS 2460, and AMS QQ-N-290. Technical data required to successfully transition the proposed method or technology will include, but is not limited to: adhesion, hardness, density, porosity content, corrosion, and no (or a minimal and quantifiable) substrate fatigue debit. Other technical issues expected to be addressed for final Department of Defense (DoD) qualification include cleaning, surface preparation treatments and final machining. 

Currently the military has limited ability to execute repair operations on low-risk military items, in part, due to the existing state-of-the-art metallic repair process operational, regulatory, and infrastructure footprints. Preference will be given to technologies that advance state-of-the-art and require limited or no new specialized labor skills and are suitable for front line military field or ship-based operations. Approaches requiring substrate heating or extensive post-treatments are not of interest and will not be considered. 

This work will develop a material or technique that: (1) reduces or eliminates dependence on electro-deposition technologies that require intensive and costly infrastructure to prolong the life of military hardware and components, and (2) meets weapon systems' technical requirements while reducing the DoD's current weapon systems' environmental and logistical footprints. When implemented, technologies developed in response to this SON will help DoD components meet their environmental compliance goals.

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