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Development of an innovative alternative to the use of hexavalent chromium in the aerospace coating

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Cr VI FREE COATING (Development of an innovative alternative to the use of hexavalent chromium in the aerospace coating)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2018-08-31

Hexavalent chromium – Cr(VI) – is the principal ingredient of anti-corrosion primers used on structural components of aircraft and performs its role incredibly well. Nevertheless, it is also a serious human health risk, identified as a genotoxic carcinogen. For that reason, EU REACH legislation, and other international regulation, are prohibiting it use. Originally planned for elimination by January 2019, the lack of a suitable alternative has led to the aviation industry campaigning for an extension until 2026.
This project is dedicated to finding an alternate anti-corrosion primer composition for use on structural airframe components, ending the use of highly harmful and toxic hexavalent chromium in the aviation industry. This significantly reduces workplace hazards for workers in aircraft manufacture and potential work-related illnesses and death.
This Phase 1 project has comprised of a full feasibility study of our proposed project to create a Cr(VI)-free primer. Technically we have evaluated the viability of new inhibitor mechanisms and associated polymer matrices for the primer base. A risk analysis and proposed work plan for the next stage of the project was prepared. Commercially we have analysed the market and competition, preparing financial projections to evaluate the impact and viability of the project. We have also examined the legal situation and intellectual property protection for our invention.
The state-of-the-art does not provide any acceptable alternative to chromate-based primers for structural airframe components. There are chromate-free products for external surfaces, but none provide the durability and long-term corrosion resistance to ensure long-term safety of the aircraft structure. Hence, the industry has special permission to continue using the prohibited chromate-based primers, exposing workers to the carcinogenic risk.
Through a revised polymer matrix and a unique combination of alternative inhibitors, Cr(VI)-Free will be the first qualified commercial primer for structural airframe components. This will be transformative of the market, rendering obsolete a whole category of coating products in use today, as the aircraft manufacturing industry, finally, has an alternative to chromate. The potential boost in market share for Mapaero is also highly significant for us, for the survival and future growth of our company.
Most important for society, however, is the opportunity to enforce the ban on hexavalent chromium in this industry, eliminating the occupational risk for workers who, today, have to handle these carcinogenic substances, all the while continuing to ensure the safety and integrity of aeroplanes.