P.I.: Prof. Lloyd Hihara, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Objectives: Investigate corrosion of Aluminum Alloys in the splash-spray zone, surface waters, and deep ocean water. Examine novel corrosion-resistant ceramic-polymer hybrid coating developed in the Hawai’i Corrosion Laboratory (HCL) of the University of Hawai’i.
Presently: The viability of ocean power generating technologies will be affected by their ability to resist corrosion in the harsh marine environment. It has been shown that aluminum can be used in the manufacturing of Heat Exchangers (HXs) for closed cycle OTEC systems and that properly chosen alloys could achieve a life expectancy of 30-years.
Project: Building upon seminal work performed by researchers of the Argonne National Laboratory in the 1980’s (Acceptability of Aluminum Alloys for OTEC Heat Exchangers) corrosion studies of Aluminum Alloys were undertaken at the HCL. Standard sample coupons with and without coatings were prepared and tested. The exposed samples were analyzed in the laboratory to determine corrosion mechanisms. Novel corrosion-resistant ceramic-polymer hybrid coatings developed in the HCL were studied (Corrosion of Aluminum Alloys in Seawater _ Progress Report). Work at HCL was discontinued due to NEPA Compliance requirements and information was incorporated into ongoing work by Makai Ocean Engineering at the OTEC Test Site. The latest progress report is: OTEC Heat Exchanger Project_Aluminum Corrosion