Army Research Laboratory spearheads DOD Allied Nations Technical Corrosion Conference

October 24, 2017

By Jenna Brady, ARL Public Affairs

Story Highlights

  • ARL researchers recently participated in the Department of Defense Allied Nations Technical Corrosion Conference held in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • The researchers served various roles to include technical program chair, technical session chairs, co-chairs and judges for the Student Technical Corrosion Collaboration poster session.
  • ARL and its predecessor organizations have fulfilled this conference leadership role for the Army since its origin.

ADELPHI, Md. (Oct. 24, 2017) -- Researchers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory recently participated in the Department of Defense Allied Nations Technical Corrosion Conference held in Birmingham, Alabama.

The conference, held biannually, has been taking place since 1967 as an information exchange among U.S. and allied nations government agencies, industry and academia with the focus on reducing the impacts and costs of corrosion on defense systems and facilities.

ARL's Brian Placzankis, team leader in the Coatings, Corrosion and Engineered Polymers Branch, was selected by the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology)'s U.S. Army Corrosion Office to serve as technical program chair for the August conference.

In this role, Placzankis organized the meeting abstracts and proceedings, the technical symposium, the Student Research in Progress Symposium, the student poster session and awards banquet, and a series of technical workshops hosted over the week-long conference.

"I was honored and humbled to serve the Army in this capacity," Placzankis said. "This event has grown considerably in recent years in spite of the overall reduced defense budgets. The mission statement from the DOD Corrosion Policy and Oversight Office Director Dan Dunmire for this year's conference referred to the "Pervasive Menace" that is corrosion. The ability for the Army to maintain or even increase its mission capabilities with less resources emphasizes the ability to preserve and maintain our vital equipment and facilities. Any contribution that I am able to provide to assist my colleagues and ultimately the Soldier to succeed against this menace is the highest of honors for me."

In the future, Placzankis would really like to see this conference continue to grow and draw wider participation from the greater DOD science and technology community as well as the acquisition community of the Life Cycle Management Commands.

"There is so much great information and solutions to corrosion problems and, with improved awareness, much of it can be prevented," Placzankis said. "The outreach to our universities and our service academies in particular is of very high importance. In fifteen years, today's cadets will be our weapons platform program managers, making key decisions that will have profound impacts on corrosion protective schemes. The greater their corrosion prevention and control awareness, the more positive these impacts will be."

According to Placzankis, improved CPC has significant implications for the Soldier and all Warfighters, with the most immediate of benefits being improved readiness, reliability and safety of the fielded systems.

He stated that corrosion failures, particularly those that can occur in aviation systems, can have life and death implications and are therefore considerations worthy of great seriousness and overall attention to detail.

"The less time that a Soldier needs to spend replacing ruined components or scraping paint is more time they can directly devote to their true mission," Placzankis said. "Improved CPC extends the service life of weapons systems and lowers the total cost of ownership for a system over the full timeline of its acquisition cycle."

Other ARL researchers also attend the conference in various capacities. Dr. Joseph Labukas attended the conference and met with university partners and researchers from other services to facilitate and strengthen his team's commitment to working with the nation's top academic institutions, as well as the military academy and cadets, to understand and solve fundamental electrochemical and corrosion problems. Labukas also served as a chair for a session on corrosion fundamentals where researchers presented a diverse set of topics related to understanding fundamental mechanisms of corrosion.

ARL researchers, including Labukas, who served as technical session chairs, co-chairs and judges for the Student Technical Corrosion Collaboration poster session at the conference include Krista Limmer, Thomas Considine, Daniel Pope, John Escarsega, John Kelly, Heather Murdoch, Fred Lafferman, Alicia Farrell, Thomas Braswell, Heidi Maupin, Chris Miller and Pauline Smith.

During the side meetings at the conference, ARL researchers were also able to hold discussions with researchers from the Naval Air Systems Command, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center.

"ARL scientists and engineers specializing in corrosion are considered the Army's top subject matter experts and are frequently contacted for technical advice by ASA (ALT), the research, development and engineering commands, the LCMCs, the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command and other Army activities when unsolved issues are encountered pertaining to corrosion of materiel," Placzankis said. "One of the ways in which ARL maintains this high degree of expertise and pertinent network of contacts is through the DOD Allied Nations Technical Corrosion Conference as well as other smaller DOD-sponsored corrosion activities such as DOD Corrosion Forums and the Technical Corrosion Collaboration."

According to Dr. James Snyder, acting chief of ARL's Coatings, Corrosion and Engineered Polymers Branch, as ARL's corrosion engineers engage across a wide range of application areas, it is imperative to have opportunity to participate fully in more focused technical exchanges in critical areas.

"This conference offers a chance to exchange information on emerging technologies related to corrosion prevention and control and to share actual experiences with solving corrosion or corrosion-related materials or component failures specifically on DOD weapon systems," Snyder said.

Placzankis said that potential outcomes of the lab's participation in this conference include communicating recent ARL breakthroughs to the wider DOD community.

Such breakthroughs include armor plate alloys with improved corrosion resistance and improved ballistics; improved coatings for tracked system suspension components; and updated military specifications for coatings or surface pretreatments that comply with environmental directives while simultaneously improving overall coating system performance in corrosive environments.

"Additional positive outcomes originate from the interactions with our colleagues in the other services, industry and academia," Placzankis said. "Attending talks and engaging in side discussions are keys to better identifying and diagnosing new corrosion problems and sharing new CPC techniques to incorporate into mission efforts to ultimately reduce corrosion problems in Army materiel."

Snyder summed this up by saying "Ultimately this conference helps bring us closer to identifying and solving the Army's needs as they currently exist and as we anticipate them to evolve over the next several decades."

The DOD Allied Nations Technical Corrosion Conference has been the focal point of expanding CPC awareness for 50 years, and 2023 is the next time in the cycle the Army will serve as the technical program chair.

ARL and its predecessor organizations have fulfilled this conference leadership role for the Army since its origin. Of particular pride to ARL are the two major institutions within this conference named in honor of retired ARL researchers for their past contributions in CPC. The "Ralph P. I. Adler Award for Lifetime Achievement" is named after ARL emeritus Dr. Ralph Adler and is the sole award for this category. It is awarded once every two years in recognition of long-term service to the DOD Allied Nations Technical Corrosion Conference and to the greater DOD corrosion control community.

The "Mr. Milton Levy Award for Corrosion Science" is the U.S. Army's award amongst three student poster categories in corrosion with each one named in honor of exceptional individuals from each of the military services and their contributions in CPC.

"ARL has always been, and has the potential, to remain the preeminent technical voice for the Army for CPC within this prestigious event," Placzankis said.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, currently celebrating 25 years of excellence in Army science and technology, is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.


Last Update / Reviewed: October 24, 2017