U.S. Naval Base Researches New Corrosion Monitoring Techniques

The technology office at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) (Port Hueneme, California, USA) is researching and developing new techniques to rapidly assess corrosion in materials before being transferred to ships.

These techniques are designed to significantly reduce costs and increase safety when introducing new materials to the fleet. According to Armen Kvryan, materials engineer and project lead, the technique uses a potentiostat to assess the corrosion behavior of a metal using various methods. Two of these techniques are anodic polarization (AP) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS).

“AP can predict when materials will begin to pit and EIS can measure and rank the performance of coatings on different metals,” Kvryan says. “The information from EIS can be modeled and can predict, on an atomistic level, how the material will behave on a ship.”

With specific tools, his team can quickly mimic an environment and test the materials before it is sent to the ship. “With this technique we can quickly assess the metal to determine if it is viable,” Kvryan says. “The plan is to first test the metals and coatings in the lab before it goes out to the ship. We can test it in the lab quickly, instead of months at sea, to determine if the metal is viable. This saves time and money.”

“With this technique and others, such as the thermography unit, we are upgrading what we currently can do to assess materials,” he adds.

The equipment Kvryan and his team will utilize is being purchased and will be used in late 2019 or early 2020. “The key here is rapid screening of materials before it gets out to the fleet,” he says.

The thermography unit is another newly acquired testing apparatus. It can measure the rate of thermal decay of materials, explains Tim Tenopir, senior materials scientist. By knowing the heat signature of a material, it is possible to learn a lot about its properties.

“We can use this in conjunction with our new micro-climate chamber to determine how durable the material is in extreme temperatures,” Tenopir says. “Again, with this suite of testing equipment, we can provide quality control of materials before it goes to the ships, increasing safety and fleet readiness while reducing cost.”

These innovations received support from U.S. Naval Innovative Science and Engineering funds to further research, develop and eventually transition to operational use.

“These techniques will benefit our Sailors and Marines by making sure they get equipment that has been quickly but thoroughly researched and tested so it doesn’t fail once it’s needed,” Kvryan says.

There have been several new advancements and upgrades to the research capabilities at Port Hueneme, he explains, including a new innovative lab where many of these techniques are being tested. “We’re developing a strong research group here,” Kvryan says. “We want to be proactive, not only looking at the near future, but 20 and 30 years ahead.”

Source: U.S. Defense Video Imagery Distribution System, www.dvidshub.net.