Team Realizes Long-Sought Replacement for Chromate Aerospace Coatings
Attempts to replace chromate coatings with nontoxic coatings have been underway since the 1980s. The awareness on effects of chromates was brought to the forefront in 1993 by the real-life incident involving Erin Brockovich and depicted in the movie of the same name released in 2000. Although the use of chromates for consumer and automotive applications has been banned, it is still in use by the defense and aerospace industries under various exemptions due to unavailability of suitable replacement combined with the high human and financial cost of failure from corrosion. The search for a suitable replacement has been elusive primarily due to the self-healing characteristic of the coating: when scratched, the coating components from nearby sites migrate to the damaged region and reprotect the underlying alloy.
A research team at the University of Nevada, Reno has developed an environmentally-friendly coating for...