Development and certification of chromic acid-free anodizing process for aircraft grade aluminium alloys
Chromic acid (Cr6+) anodization process is widely used for the corrosion protection of aircraft aluminium alloys. Hexavalent chromium being toxic in nature need to be phased out by eco-friendly alternatives. In the present study modified tartaric-sulphuric acid (TSA) process has been developed followed by sealing in permanganate based bath to obtain 4 to 6 µm thick anodic oxide layer on 2024-T3, 6061-T6 and 7075-T6 aluminium alloys. The process was carried out using a pilot scale anodizing plant. The anodized specimens were characterized for visual observation, thickness, adhesion, electrical breakdown voltage, corrosion resistance and tensile behaviour. All the tests were carried out as per MIL-A-8625F specifications. The specimens were also subjected for about 800 hrs to real time corrosion testing, 200 metres away from sea shore at Mandapam Camp, Rameshwaram, India. The performance of the permanganate sealed TSA anodized aluminium alloys are comparable with that of the conventional chromic acid anodized coatings. This chromic acid-free anodization process has been qualified to airworthiness regulating standards by Indian military certification authorities. Efforts are in progress to commercialize this technology for use on aero platforms.
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