The Center for Corrosion Science & Engineering (CCSE) conducts broad scientific and engineering programs to understand and reduce the effects of the marine environment on Naval systems. The Environmental Fracture and Failure Analysis Section is concerned with environmentally enhanced mechanical failure of a wide range of Navy systems and components. The section maintains a wide variety of expertise for the analysis of corrosion fatigue, stress corrosion cracking and environmental assisted fracture. The Corrosion Science Section aims to increase our understanding of corrosion mechanisms through the study of passive films and their breakdown. Additional investigations of surface properties, chloride and metal oxides provide a theoretical understanding of corrosion and develop the foundation for corrosion control systems. Efforts are also underway concerning the mechanistic and applied aspects of corrosion sensors, fuel cells, materials properties and new materials. The Corrosion Engineering Section operates the Marine Corrosion Facility in Key West, FL that provides engineering solutions to Navy corrosion control problems. Specific expertise in cathodic protection systems, alloy exposure and testing, seawater system corrosion and fouling control and aquatic nuisance species test and evaluation are maintained. This group specializes in applied S&T and product prototyping and field trials and has numerous programs interacting directly with the fleet. The Marine Coatings Section operates as part of the lab in Key West and partly in Washington DC, with a focus on the evaluation of shipboard coatings and development of new resin technology. Investigation of the properties of coatings that meet environmental restrictions on volatile organic compounds (VOC) and hazardous air pollutants (HAP) are continuing. Single Coat systems, High solid epoxies, edge retentive tank coatings, camouflage and non-skid coatings are current initiatives to combat corrosion and extend Fleet service life.
The Center maintains the Marine Corrosion Facility, located on Fleming Key, adjacent to the island of Key West, Fl. Historically, the laboratory has been located on the same site for approx 30 years and has an unparalleled database for natural seawater exposure testing and marine related materials evaluation. Physically, the laboratory is situated on the Garrison Bight and receives a plentiful, unpolluted supply of natural undisturbed Gulf of Mexico seawater throughout the year. The tropical climate is ideally suited for marine exposure testing, it has high quality seawater, small climatic variation and a stable biomass throughout the year. NRLKW is the Navy’s unique seawater testing laboratory, located in a relatively industrial-free, non-Estuarine environment. The site maintains capabilities for extensive RDT&E on marine engineering and coatings technologies and supports a wide array of Navy and industrial sponsors.
The Center is actively engaged in direct support of current/ future fleet concerns and provides long-term engineering solutions and evaluation of materials for improved performance, cost-savings and life-cycle management. Support includes expertise in areas of: hull cathodic protection design, materials characterization, biofouling mitigation, antifouling coatings, marine coating development, coatings qualification/evaluation, material exposure testing, and marine alloy evaluation/certification. The facility plays an important role in providing technical expertise to the Naval Sea Systems Command and supports the command directly as a designated Engineering Authority (EA) for the Navy Materials/Corrosion/Coatings/Environmental Technical Authority. The Key west facility has additionally been designated by NAVSEA as the Cathodic Protection Design Agent for Navy ships and serves as EA in the areas of cathodic protection, environmental effects and marine coatings systems. Looking to the future, the Center also acts as a liaison for ship design efforts for DD21, CVN 21and PMS 450 and supports all corrosion protection and underwater signature efforts in conjunction with new ORD requirements as part of the cathodic protection mission.