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Collaborative Research: Hex Chrome Free Sealants

HexChrome 1
Corrosion on test vehicles after accelerated corrosion testing in salt fog chamber

Sealants containing soluble hexavalent chromium compounds are used in aerospace/defense manufacturing primarily for the filling of gaps and recesses to prevent water intrusion in an attempt to prevent corrosion of the base metal.  Regulatory mandates have accelerated a global effort industry wide to replace hexavalent chromium containing materials because they are carcinogens, mutagens, developmental toxicants, and have high acute toxicity. The principal technical performance challenge for transitioning to hexavalent chromium free polysulfide sealants is twofold; the corrosion inhibiting properties of the hexavalent chromium free alternatives are not well understood,  and the industry and military standards’ qualification tests do not adequately differentiate between hexavalent chromium containing and hexavalent chromium free formulations.

Test Vehicles undergoing long term corrosion testing at NASA Beachside Testing Facility
Test Vehicles undergoing long term corrosion testing at NASA Beachside Testing Facility

In 2012, a Hexavalent Chromium Free Sealant Evaluation Team was established to identify, test, and evaluate various safer sealant materials. The team includes representatives from TURI, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Bombardier, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), and Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM).

If you are interested in collaborating with TURI on this initiative, contact Greg Morose at 978-934-2954 to learn more.