Smart Coating for Corrosion Detection and Protection

Luz Marina Calle NASA Kennedy Space Center, FL

“Winning this award means that others recognize the potential of a technology that we strongly believe in. We have been working on developing this technology since 2004 to a point where we think it is ready to be transferred to industry. We hope the visibility and external validation that come with this award will encourage industry to license the technology from NASA so that it can be put in the hands of potential users.”
Researchers, at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s (KSC) Corrosion Technology Laboratory have developed a smart, environmentally friendly coating system for early detection and inhibition of corrosion and self-healing of mechanical damage without external intervention. This coating will have the inherent ability to detect the onset of corrosion in the coated substrate, and respond autonomously to control it.

The high salt content of KSC’s natural marine environment — in combination with the sunlight, heat, and humidity of the subtropical Florida climate — makes KSC the country’s most corrosive area, according to the American Society of Metals. These highly corrosive conditions are exacerbated at KSC’s launch pads by extreme heat and acidic exhaust from the solid rocket motors of the space vehicles.

The smart coating is based on the controlled release of corrosion inhibitors and indicators from specially formulated microcapsules and particles pioneered by NASA (patent allowed). The coating detects corrosion in its early stages, inhibits it, and/or repairs the coating. The onset of corrosion triggers the release of compounds that indicate and inhibit corrosion. Mechanical damage to the coating triggers the release of film-forming compounds to repair the damage. In practice, the corrosion-responsive microcapsules detect the chemical changes that occur when corrosion begins, and respond by releasing their contents. A corrosion indicator will identify the affected region with a color change, and healing agents and corrosion inhibitors help mitigate the corrosion.

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The microcapsules can be tailored for incorporation into different coating systems. This multifunctional coating system will reduce maintenance cost and improve safety by preventing catastrophic corrosion failures.

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Honorable Mentions

Progressive Flow Turbo Compressor Recirculation Valve

James Miller, DAYCO, Roseville, MI

Two common problems with turbocharging systems are noise and turbo lag. Closure, or partial closure, of the engine throttle while the turbo compressor is operating at high boost condition can cause excessive back pressure on the compressor, creating a condition called surge. This variable flow compressor recirculation valve enables precise control of the boost pressure. Features include a shaped valve surface and position feedback through a position sensor, which picks up valve position through the magnetic field created by a magnet housed in the valve. Control of the valve position allows better control of the boost pressure, which in turn allows the minimum amount of pressure relief required to prevent surge.

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Michelin® X® TWEEL® TURF™ Airless Radial Tire

Olivier Brauen, Michelin, N.A., Greenville, SC

The newest version of the TWEEL tire and wheel assembly, the MICHELIN X TWEEL TURF airless radial tire is for landscape professionals who normally experience expensive and inconvenient downtime associated with flat tires. Using automotive rubber technology, the tread lasts up to three times longer than standard turf tires. Operators will experience greater performance versus a pneumatic tire, increased uptime, enhanced hillside stability, reduced operator fatigue, and improved productivity resulting in a lower cost of ownership. The tire was developed in collaboration with John Deere for use in commercial mowing, and is comprised of a ridged hub connected to a shear beam by means of flexible, deformable polyurethane spokes, all functioning as a single unit.

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