Honors Gallery

2010 Corrosion-resistant ceramic-porcelain enamel for bonding concrete to steel Southeast

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2010

Award Type:

Region: Southeast

USACE - ERDC - Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory

Deteriorating roads, bridges, piers, and airstrips have been ranked by the DOD Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight as among the top 25 leading contributors to the $25 billion cost of corrosion for equipment and infrastructure as well as military readiness. A new technology transferred by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) meets the problem of deteriorating infrastructure where it begins—the reinforcing steel used in nearly all concrete construction. Two ERDC laboratories, the Geotechnical Structures Laboratory (GSL) and the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL), have developed a new coating for reinforcing steel that both reduces corrosion and improves the bond between the steel reinforcement and surrounding concrete. The transferred technology fixes the corrosion problems through a revolutionary coating process by which advanced porcelain enamels are mixed with Portland cement and fused to the surfaces of structural steel components, such as steel fibers or rebar. The glass-ceramic coating protects the steel from rusting, and yields a concrete-to-steel bond three to five times stronger than the standard bond. Widespread implementation of the technology will increase the strength, safety, and cost-effectiveness of roads, bridges, and other structures. At the same time, integration of this technology into construction practices will provide a whole new line of products for the enameling industry, thereby preserving and creating manufacturing jobs across America. The ERDC team took an active and collaborative role in achieving the transfer—from the invention of the technology, to conceiving and successfully implementing a large-scale demonstration program, to partnering with Pro Perma Engineered Coatings, LLC, which supplied coated steel for the demonstration program, and enlisting the expertise of university faculty to further test and expand the technology. The laboratories used innovative licensing strategies and well-focused Cooperative Research and Development Agreements as their primary process for the transfer. This imaginative and truly revolutionary technology has been recognized by the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the DOD for its great promise in saving the nation money and energy. It is the first critical step toward a far-reaching transformation that will vastly improve the integrity of our roads, bridges, and other essential structures and that will save resources, and even lives.