Trivalent chromium processes

Award Year 

A team from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) has developed and com-mercialized an innovative metal surface coating containing trivalent chromium sulfate that protects against corrosive environments. This marks a sig-nificant improvement over the widely used tradi-tional, but toxic, hexavalent chromium process. The novel breakthrough chemical solution mini-mizes the corrosion of aluminum, zinc, and other substrates while it improves the bonding surface for paints. Easy to apply and price-competitive, these tri-valent chromium processes ( (more) TCP) also provide chemical and weather resistance to treated sur-faces. The technology meets the more demand-ing EPA and OSHA requirements recently imple-mented in response to concerns over use of the highly toxic hexavalent chromium. TCP is the first protective chromium-based metal coating to fully meet U.S. military specifications while being both highly effective and environmentally benign. It also is the only non-hexavalent chromium conver-sion coating that satisfies military specifications for pre- and post-treatment of aluminum surfaces. Initially developed to better protect military aircraft and watercraft, TCP technology has vast market potential in the private sector within the ubiquitous metal-coating industry. Under nonexclusive pat-ent license agreements with several companies, NAWCAD has successfully transferred this im-portant advance in metal finishing to widespread civilian use. Currently, four licensees are in various stages of marketing TCP to consumers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico: Luster-On Products, Inc., of Springfield, Massachusetts; Metalast Internation-al, Inc., of Minden, Nevada; SurTec International GmbH, of Zwingenberg, Germany; and Henkel Surface Technologies Corp., of Madison Heights, Michigan. Given the extent of metal fabrication and utilization around the world, the market pos-sibilities for TCP applications are immense, af-fecting our daily lives from the commercial airline industry to home construction. (less)