About the research
Several state departments of transportation (DOTs) are facing the daunting task of maintaining an inventory of corroding steel structures. Cold gas dynamic spraying (CS) is an innovative technique that can lead to substantial advances in the repair and retrofit of steel structures subjected to corrosive environments. It is believed that the CS technique can bring a wide spectrum of benefits, in terms of cost and performance, to the steel structures currently in service. In addition, the CS technique offers a durable treatment that can be simply applied with a portable device. This significantly expedites the repair process, resulting in minimized road closures. When coated using the CS technique, the steel members will not only regain their lost structural capacity, but also they will be more resistant to corrosion as the metal coating provides a strong, yet passive layer, against the corrosive environments. This is an important advancement, which greatly extends the expected life span of steel structural members without having to repeat the maintenance actions every few years.
To achieve the ultimate goal of this exploratory project, a proof of concept study will be carried out to evaluate the advantages of CS through a set of coupon and full-scale tests on the corrosion resistance and structural performance of steel elements with and without coating. This is expected to not only demonstrate the promise of this emerging technique, but also to tailor the CS process for transportation infrastructure applications, for the very first time. It is anticipated that the outcome of this project builds on the capacities developed to date in rapidly growing domains of additive manufacturing and robotic construction. This will maximize the impact of this innovative project, which holds a great promise for future use and implementation.