NICKEL ELECTROPLATED NONCONDUCTIVE MATERIALS FOR RAIN EROSION PROTECTION.
Final rept. Jul 65-Sep 66,
AIR FORCE MATERIALS LAB WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
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Currently there is an extensive research effort directed toward development of reinforced plastic components for use on supersonic and advanced missile weapon systems. Recognizing the limitations of these materials to high speed rain erosion, an extensive research effort was initiated to investigate the electrodeposition of nickel coatings on nonconductive reinforced plastics to render them rain erosion resistant. As a result of this electroplating process investigation, substrate preparation and nickel thickness were found to be the most important variables. A minimum thickness of 12 mils of the nickel coating on the laminates is recommended to obtain extended life of leading edges on aircraft, helicopter rotor blades, or jet engine compressor blades. Using a high speed whirling arm rig with a water system to evaluate the rain erosion resistance of research coating specimens, it was found that unprotected plastic laminates failed rapidly 4 to 30 seconds at a speed of 500 mph in a 2-inch per hour simulated rainfall density. The present military specification material neoprene protected the substrates for approximately eight minutes under the same conditions. During this research effort, epoxy, polyester, and polybenzimidazole laminates coated with a minimum of 12 mils of nickel were exposed to the same environment. The coated epoxy endured 160 minutes, the coated polyester 180 minutes, and the coated polybenzimidazole 473 minutes without visible evidence of erosion. Author
- Coatings, Colorants and Finishes