New Environmentally Benign Heteropolymolybdate Conversion Coatings for Aluminum AlloysEPA Contract Number: 68D00203
Title: New Environmentally Benign Heteropolymolybdate Conversion Coatings for Aluminum Alloys
Investigators: Minevski, Zoran
Small Business: Lynntech Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: September 1, 2000 through September 1, 2002
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2000) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , SBIR - Pollution Prevention , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Description:For 50 years, the chromium conversion process has been unsurpassed as a method for protecting aluminum from corrosion. The method is used extensively to protect aluminum parts for the aerospace, automobile, construction, and consumer products industries. More than 25,000 tons of chromium are used in metal finishing annually. There is an urgent need to replace the chromium conversion process because chromium is a potent human carcinogen. Concern exists not only about workplace exposure at high levels, but also about environmental exposure at much lower levels. Producers now risk high liability claims and have the burden of high waste disposal costs. Recent government and industry reports have concluded that no existing coatings can adequately replace the chromium conversion process. During Phase I, a fundamentally new chromium-free inorganic conversion coating for aluminum was developed. Test results using industry and military test protocols have shown that the coating meets rigorous corrosion protection and paintability standards. The coating does not contain hazardous chemicals, and it is effective on several aluminum alloys (Al 2021 and Al 6061). In addition, it has the potential to undergo self-repair when the aluminum surface is scratched or damaged. This Phase II project is a collaborative effort, between Lynntech and leading companies in the metal finishing industry, to develop this coating to a point where it is suitable for use by industry.
Many current users of the chromium conversion process (e.g., General Motors, Eastman Kodak, Texas Instruments, Raytheon, and United Technologies) are actively seeking ways to reduce or eliminate the use of chromium in metal finishing. Lynntech, Inc.'s proposed coating has high commercial potential because it meets many of the customer-
defined specifications for chromate-free conversion coatings and includes provisions for the private sector to fund substantial amounts of the development costs.