Risk-Based Corrosion Prevention Initiative to Offer Versatile Assessment Tools

Corrosion is an insidious problem across the globe, costing industries and governments billions of dollars each year to prevent and remediate while simultaneously taking critical equipment and infrastructure out of service. A CTMA collaboration is developing best-practice technical and business process solutions to effectively address corrosion throughout the life cycle of fielded equipment and infrastructure. The initiative will be useful for the Army, the DOD, and commercial industries that maintain corrosion-prone assets.   

The collaboration—Corrosion Prevention and Control (CPC) Program Development, which brings together the Army and industry partner Jensen Hughes—is expected to be a multi-phase, multi-year project. The team completed the first phase earlier this year.    

“In Phase I, we developed what we call a risk-based approach to corrosion planning during the acquisition process of weapon systems,” said Patrick Taylor, who is managing the project for Jensen Hughes. “We created a tool to help acquisition managers make sure that corrosion is being addressed in the design to reduce the risk of negative consequences later in the life cycle, primarily cost overruns, performance degradation, or lack of readiness due to corrosion.”   

The tool the team developed is in an Excel spreadsheet format to make it universally accessible to anyone with a computer. The tool takes a logical, stepwise approach, factoring in all the considerations that may affect the corrosion-resistance properties of equipment.  

“The tool asks around fifty questions,” said Taylor. “Some of the questions are specific to the Army, and some are specific to the DOD, but for the most part, the questions are generic to any kind of equipment that might be exposed to corrosive environments.”   

The assessment questions are broken down into several major areas: environmental susceptibility, design materials, preventative maintenance, and storage.  

“The environmental susceptibility questions ask how the system is going to be used from an environmental exposure perspective,” explained Taylor. “For example, you can select a default of the most corrosive environment for an Army weapon system because the equipment must operate everywhere. But for a different user who’s only worried about putting equipment in a single location, they can tailor the risk assessment to just that location, and the tool will help them decide if it’s corrosion-resistant enough for that local environment.”   

After the user has answered all the questions, the tool will generate a risk assessment.   

“The tool is not quantitative, but it does tell the user where their equipment fits in terms of low, medium, or high risk,” said Taylor. “And it’s really up to them to decide if that’s acceptable as they consider trade-offs with all the other things that they need to consider for the life of their program.”   

It’s also up to the end user to decide when to use the tool, but Taylor believes it makes the most sense to use the tool at a specific phase of the engineering process.  

“I think it would make the most sense to apply it during the preliminary design review after some of the engineering and design work has been done, but before the design has been locked in and started production,” Taylor said. “In order to answer the questions most accurately, you need to have some level of design decision that has already been made. It’s not necessarily going to help you design something from scratch, but it will serve as a very good check early in the design process about whether you’re making sound decisions regarding corrosion.”  

While the project’s first phase focused specifically on corrosion prevention during design of Army weapons systems, the project’s later phases will address different aspects of preventing corrosion for equipment and infrastructure.   

“This work is not unique to the Army,” said Taylor. “Some of the other services have expressed interest in it, and it would be pretty easy to adapt to other service weapon systems as well.”   

The team will present their findings at the 2023 DOD Corrosion Prevention Technology and Innovation Symposium, which will be held August 14-17 in Tucson, Arizona. NCMS will have a presence at the symposium—please visit us in Booth 220.