Engineers at the U.S. Air Force Academy have designed and tested a device that measures the corrosion of a sacrificial anode by sensing the deterioration of the anode at different levels of anode thickness and remotely communicating with a data logger and a decision-maker. The patented technology is available via license agreement to companies that would make, use, or sell it commercially.
Corrosion is a significant problem wherever steel is in contact with oxygen and catalytic ions. The Department of Defense spends more than $20 billion annually on protecting steel assets from corrosion.
And one in nine bridges in the United States is structurally deficient, according to a 2015 report by Transportation for America, with 200 billion vehicles passing over deficient bridges every day.
Bulk sacrificial anodes are used to draw corrosive ions away from the structural and reinforcing metals.
However, these anodes have limited lifespans that are difficult to predict, and regular visual inspection is often deemed too expensive or too complicated.
Using the Air Force’s monitoring system to measure the remaining life of a sacrificial anode provides timely information for maintenance actions, informs assumptions about lifecycle, and provides hard data for improved future designs.
- Informs decisions about infrastructure safety, maintenance and life expectancy
- Prevents costly visual inspections or reliance on generalized assumptions
- Potential applications include highway infrastructure, water treatment and storage, and maritime applications
- Businesses can commercialize the technology by licensing U.S. Patent 9,856,566 from the Air Force
- License fees paid to the Air Force are negotiable
- Businesses that license the technology may have the opportunity to pursue collaborative research with the inventors
- Testing data may be available to companies evaluating the technology
- TechLink guides businesses through evaluation and licensing; services provided at no cost