Validation of Low Hydrogen Embrittlement (LHE) Alkaline Zinc Nickel Electroplating for Steel and Aluminum Electrical Connectors, Back-Shells and Components

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8571-16-C-0018
Agency Tracking Number: F161-007-0665
Amount: $149,977.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2016
Solicitation Year: 2016
Solicitation Topic Code: AF161-007
Solicitation Number: 2016.1
Small Business Information
550 West C Street, Suite 1630, San Diego, CA, 92101
DUNS: 127283500
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jay Randolph
 (478) 922-1460
Business Contact
 Doug Wiser
Phone: (801) 928-2769
Research Institution
Many of the US Department of Defense (DOD) electrical connectors, back-shells and components currently contain cadmium (Cd). Cadmium is a known carcinogen. Furthermore, the cadmium is typically conversion coated with a hex-chromate which is also hazardous. Both the cadmium plating process and its subsequent conversion coating have been proven to be toxic (unlike other processes such as chromium plating, where a hazardous process yields a non-hazardous coating). Consequently, ES3 has conducted research via SBIR topic AF081-101, Development of Cad Plating Replacement with Alkaline Zinc Nickel Electroplating for Threaded Fasteners/Components successfully which showed that LHE alkaline Zn-Ni solution with non-hex chromate conversion coating produces a coating that performs as good as or better than cadmium under corrosion testing, with very good lubricity characteristics and a comparable friction coefficient to that of the Cd plating. The ES3 LHE Alkaline Zn-Ni plating process is producing excellent performance results based upon testing to data for fatigue, adhesion, hydrogen embrittlement and corrosion protection coupons, including lubricity testing on threaded fasteners. In Phase 1 of this project, ES3 will investigate cadmium plating alternatives; specifically, conduct the feasibility study and testing necessary for USAF validation for Steel and Aluminum Electrical Connectors, Back-Shells and Components.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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