Development of Cad Plating Replacement with Alkaline Zinc-Nickel Electroplating for Threaded Fasteners/Components

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
(ES3) Engineering & Software System Solu
550 West C Street, Suite 1630, San Diego, CA, 92101
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Jay Randolph
Manager, SE Operations
(478) 926-3067
Business Contact:
Doug Wiser
Manager, LG Systems
(801) 926-1150
Research Institution:
Aircraft structure, engine, propeller and landing gear systems utilize high and low strength steel, cad-plated threaded components and fasteners throughout its structure. Threaded components and fasteners manufactured from these alloys require sacrificial protective coatings due to the corrosive environment. Cadmium has traditionally been the preferred coating for such threaded components and fasteners due to its many desirable functional qualities. In addition to corrosion protection, cadmium also provides excellent lubricity characteristics; however, cadmium is a toxic metal and known carcinogen that poses environmental and occupational safety and health risks throughout the life cycle of the plated parts. In Phase I feasibility studies for this project, ES3 confirmed that the Low Hydrogen Embrittlement alkaline Zn-Ni coating, IZ-C17+ with IZ-264 tri-chromate post treatment met or exceeded typical cad plating with post hex-chromate treatment results in lubricity and corrosion testing. Additionally, production features, such as tank chemistry and barrel/rack plating techniques were researched for utilization in a DoD depot or commercial production environment. Phase II testing will validate the zinc-nickel IZ-C17+ with IZ-264 post treatment process in comparison to LHE cad utilizing industry accepted requirements for threaded fasteners / components for process installation, corrosion, thickness, fatigue, adhesion and hydrogen embrittlement testing. Phase II testing will be conducted on threaded fasteners for LSS and HSS with the barrel plating technique, as well as threaded components for rack plating technique. Upon successfully completing testing, a process specification will be developed for the USAF that can be utilized within the industry. BENEFIT: Research conducted to evaluate the alkaline zinc-nickel as a cadmium alternate focuses on military applications at USAF’s aircraft component and propeller maintenance repair facility at Robins AFB, Georgia; however, benefits will be similar for all commercial & military aircraft, engine and landing gear usages where cadmium electroplating is applied. The following list benefits ES3 expects from the alkaline zinc-nickel process for electroplating of threaded fasteners and components based on both industry and in-house research: • Drop in replacement for all cad plated, threaded components and fasteners on low and high strength steel components. • Eliminate health exposure concerns of cad plating (including brush cad) and meet OSHA emission regulations. • Replace all IVD aluminum process, gaining the following benefits: o Ability to plate Internal Diameters (ID) o Lower processing costs o Unlimited process size constraints (tank size is only limiting factor). IVD chambers are size limited. o Eliminate Hydrogen Re-Embrittlement risks after exposure to aqueous cleaners. o Increased lubricity factors over IVD. Fully implemented, the alkaline zinc-nickel process would free up an entire section of the Robins AFB aircraft component and propeller system facility currently dedicated to IVD operations.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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