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What does this program measure?

The program measures corrosion of advanced materials in Hawaii's extreme microclimates.

How does this program work?

Two stainless steel corrosion test racks at the high-altitude observatory are mounted with metals (including aluminum, steel, and titanium), and composites (including aluminum matrix and epoxy matrix compostes) that are exposed to corrosion and monitor the weather and atmospheric data (for example, chloride and sulfur content).

The corrosion behavior these advanced materials and coatings are of interest to the Army. The racks are monitored remotely from Oahu. The high-altitude environment will be one of several others (e.g., marine, volcanic, rain forest, industrial, etc.) that are being setup for corrosion testing.

Why is this research important?

The State of Hawaii is an ideal location for conducting atmospheric corrosion research. Hawaii has one of the most spatially diverse climates on Earth due to the topography and wind patterns of the islands. The corrosion data from a wide variety of micro-environments will enable materials to be comprehensively characterized. The data will be used to determine if similarities exist with corrosion behavior in the other Pacific Rim (Alaska, Japan, Korea, US Pacific Coast, etc.) locations. The data will also be compared to laboratory tests and used to develop and improve accelerated corrosion tests in the laboratory.

Are there any trends in the data?

This is a new program.

How does this program fit into the big picture?

What is it's role in global climate change?

The High-Altitude Environment Corrosion Project is a part of the Pacific Rim Corrosion Research Program (PRCRP), which involves corrosion and climatology research in Hawaii and regions of the Pacific Theater of Operation. Hawaii has a unique spatially diverse climate, representing that of a miniature continent, making outdoor testing in a multitude of microclimates viable and practical.

Climate maps and corrosivity maps will be developed for the Hawaiian Islands. In addition, corrosion studies of advanced composites, ceramics, ceramic coatings and advanced electronics are being conducted.

The high-altitude environment will provide corrosion and degradation data for advanced materials including polymer-matrix composites and various coatings. The extreme of temperature and radiation levels will provide important corrosion and degradation data not obtainable at low-altitude locations. The high-altitude environment could also be used to screen material for use in other Pacifi Rim environments. The data obtained at Mauna Loa will be used to develop accelerated laboratory corrosion testing for high-altitude environments.

Comments and References

Lead Investigator(s):

Lloyd H. Hihara
George Hawthorn

MLO Contact(s):

Darryl Kuniyuki
808-933-6965 (x236)
Trevor Kaplan
808-933-6965 (x226)

Web Site(s)

Date Started

May, 2006

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UHM Nitric Acid
UHM Organic Carbon

UH Corrosion System corrosion plate corrosion equipment closeup corrosion system side view corrosive material