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Share via Email A team of researchers at the U. Army Research Laboratory recently addressed a need for safer "wash primers" at Army depots, installations and repair facilities.

The team will represent the Army at the Secretary of Defense competition later this year. As a pretreatment, the wash primer was sprayed direct to bare metal to provide protection and promote coating adhesion.

Although toxic and dangerous to the environment, the military specification DOD-P remained a mainstay pretreatment for mixed metal applications at depots and original equipment manufacturers for decades. The DOD-P wash primer is called-out in thousands of drawings and contracts mandating its use and making it one of the largest sources of Cr VI across the Army.

Until now there has been no approved alternative and premature cancellation of the DOD-P specification would have created a significant technology gap in surface treatments for the Army and DOD. To address the problem, the team at ARL tackled the development, demonstration, process and implementation phases of Cr VI -free products.

They collaborated significantly with Army organizations and original equipment manufacturers, who were the main users of the product e. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and U. Army Aviation and Missile Command to determine what type of product would meet performance and sustainment requirements. The ARL team investigated dozens of commercially available products and selected nine for laboratory testing and analysis.

The products tested were all Cr VI -free, did not contain hazardous air pollutants and contained low levels of volatile organic compounds. The success of the project resulted in ARL qualifying three pretreatments in , listed on Federal Specification TT-C qualified product database for use on mixed metal substrates. The team worked with multiple depots during the demonstration phase to help each site select the best product for its needs.

During demonstrations, painters applied three candidates to surplus parts to gauge ease-of-use and ability to work within existing equipment and processes. Once the coating system was cured, adhesion and coating hardness tests confirmed laboratory findings. Further performance testing on the demonstration assets were conducted in outdoor exposure environments.

In January , the U. Army Public Health Center published its findings, verifying the three alternatives were preferable to wash primer and identifying no serious environmental or health risks that would prevent their implementation. Cancelling the old specification is expected to eliminate 24, pounds per year of Cr VI compounds and reduce volatile organic compounds emissions by 2.

Letterkenny Army Depot is expected to eliminate more than 6, pounds of VOCs annually due to its high usage of wash primer and variety of weapon systems maintained. Eliminating Cr VI -based wash primer will also reduce costs associated with hazardous waste disposal e.


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