ROCKLEDGE, FL – August 22nd, 2014 – Mainstream Engineering Corporation, a 28-year-old Brevard County manufacturer with a history of leading-edge research and development, has been awarded a contract from the Air Force to build a programmable, accelerated environmental test system for aerospace materials. This system will reduce the evaluation time of new coatings that protect components from corrosion.
Corrosion costs the world nearly $2.2 trillion per year, or 3% of global gross domestic product, in the maintenance, testing, engineering, and failures of manufactured goods. Scientists, engineers, and designers of all disciplines expend great time ensuring their products can endure corrosive conditions.
Hexavalent chromium, a common additive in coating processes known for its leading anticorrosive properties, is extremely harmful in low doses. However, the Department of Defense has been unable to ban the substance because of its widespread use in paint systems, as it saves an estimated $10 to $20 billion per year in corrosion damage. The rapid development of a hexavalent chromium alternative hinges on the availability of a convenient and accelerated test method.
The Accelerated Corrosion Environment (ACE) is Mainstream’s improved test system. It combines many operational forces (corrosion, irradiation, humidity, thermal cycling and mechanical loading) into a single testing apparatus, providing a one-stop shop for environmental testing. The ACE chamber will reduce cycle times by ~50% and could reduce total test time by a factor of 10 because of its synergistic application of environmental effects. Mainstream’s ACE will serve as a tool to the Air Force that can be used to evaluate emerging coatings that will be environmentally acceptable and that will have corrosion-inhibiting properties greater than or equal to hexavalent-chromium-based pretreatments. The unit has great market potential because it could also provide an all-in-one testing center for original equipment manufacturers who are concerned with harsh operating climates.
About Mainstream Engineering
Mainstream Engineering Corporation is a solutions-oriented research, development and manufacturing small business founded in 1986. Our primary mission is to use lean manufacturing principles to transition advanced thermal control, energy storage and energy conversion technology into high-quality, cost-effective, green, commercial products that are made in the United States. Products include lightweight diesel/JP8-fueled engines (including generators and hybrid vehicle drive trains), advanced thermal control units, advanced biomass conversion technologies, refrigerators/freezers for shipping containers and the QwikProducts™ line of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R) products. Areas of advanced research include thermal control, energy conversion, engine and emissions research, turbomachinery, chemical technology and materials science.