Army Finds Better, Safer Coating System

After two years of research and testing, the Connecticut Army National Guard developed a new coating system using chromium-3 for use on aircraft and other equipment. This protective coating performs better than the standard system (chromium-6-based paint) and is safer to human health and the environment.

Willingness to find a new paint system turned to resolve in 2006 when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released more stringent regulations for permissible exposure limits of chromium-6. That's when the Connecticut Army National Guard's 1109th Aviation Classification Repair Activity Depot, which plays a major role in aircraft maintenance for the Army, decided that finding a green alternative to the standard system was better than upgrading its air filters to meet the new requirements.

The maintenance team at the depot initiated a rigorous hunt for a suitable replacement. What they found was a water-based chemical agent resistant coating system that exceeds the performance of the old system. The replacement coating system leaves a smoother finish coating and is more resistant to fading and chalking, which minimizes the need for cosmetic painting procedures.

Partnering with the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, the depot initiated and now manages the effort to promote use of the new paint system in both military and private organizations.

For implementing the aviation industry's first chromium-3 painting system suitable for use to the Army, the depot will receive the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award, which was presented on April 4.

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