Aluminum Equipment Failures in Coastal and Marine Environments

The following is a brief summary of a presentation made by this Kevin Kennedy Associates expert before the United States Military & Army Corrosion Conference. This consultant is an expert in areas related to aluminum corrosion and aluminum corrosion mitigation techniques, working closely with the US Departments of Defense and Homeland Security on complicated corrosion problems.

Aluminum weapons systems are in widespread use throughout all services of the military. Unfortunately, more and more failures of aluminum due to corrosion are being reported. This presentation examines the environments where aluminum corrosion problems have been recorded. It examines electrical infrastructure and wiring failures, and provides both macro and microscopic photographs of the damage.

In particular, two Coast Guard vessel systems in wide spread use were recently evaluated for severe aluminum corrosion problems. One is an all aluminum 47-foot rescue and patrol boat located in the Great Lakes non-salt water environment. A unique cathodic protection system was deployed for this situation, and its successful results are shown.

The other vessel system is an 87-foot hybrid steel and aluminum Coast Guard Cutter operating in the Gulf of Mexico and coastal brackish waters. The 87-foot Cutters represent 3 samples of over 65 boats of this class in service or under construction. Three of these 87-foot Cutters are evaluated; one in repair dry-dock, one in service and one under construction. Unique uses of the aluminum boats grounding system are evaluated for causing damage to the superstructure.

The corrosion problems discussed are similar to other aluminum corrosion problems that are probable on other equipment used in the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.

This presentation summary is a brief overview of just one of the numerous aluminum corrosion problems presently under study for Industry, Power Utilities, Transportation, and the National Defense Industry by this Kevin Kennedy Associates expert.