Eastern Michigan University EMU HOME
About EMUFuture StudentsCurrent StudentsAcademics & ResearchFaculty & StaffAlumni & FriendsAthletics & RecreationNews & Events

June 8 , 2005
CONTACT: Ron Podell


EMU Coatings Research Institute continues war effort against corrosion

YPSILANTI - The relationship between Eastern Michigan University’s Coatings Research Institute and the U.S. Army has been corrosive. And that’s a good thing.

The CRI recently received another $1 million in federal grant money to extend its work with the Army to develop coatings that are more environmentally friendly and protect  America’s trucks and other Army vehicles from corrosion. This brings to $5.2 million the total in federal grant money the CRI has received in the past three years specifically to help the U.S. Army solve its vehicle corrosion problems.

“CRI is excited about working on the Army corrosion prevention and control program,” said Ted Provder, director of the CRI. “The grant for this program expands our capacities and capabilities, and provides a unique research opportunity for our graduate and undergraduate students. This program is very important to the Department of Defense (DOD) with respect to military readiness and potential economic impact, as well as being scientifically and technologically challenging.”

This EMU project is in partnership with the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command in the U.S. Army Tank Command (TACOM) in Warren.

The cost of corrosion in the United States is estimated at $267 billion annually, which is about 3.15 percent of the gross domestic product.

In 1998, a TACOM study on cargo trucks showed that corrosion damage costs $850 per truck in replacement parts in the fifth service year. That cost is expected to escalate to $17,500 per truck in the 11th service year. As the age of such vehicles increase, the impact of corrosion will increase exponentially. 

The goal of the DOD is to provide a four-fold return on each dollar invested in corrosion control by reducing maintenance costs and extending the service life of military vehicles and equipment.

“The Army is very happy with our continuing partnership with EMU’s Coatings Research Institute,” said James Kovanda, associate director, U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). “The CRI is recognized for its excellent research work and its great access to industrial partners. A large part of the operating costs for Army ground vehicles can be directly traced to corrosion. The work that the CRI is doing is focused on minimizing those costs by developing better, more durable coating systems.”

“Corrosion of military equipment costs the DOD billions of dollars in maintenance and repair each year, and the coatings research and development being performed at Eastern could lead to huge savings for the Army and Navy,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.). “Joint projects between the government and universities, such as this, are an efficient use of taxpayer dollars and lead to high-quality products. I’m pleased to support EMU in this effort, which could one day be valuable to the auto industry as well.”

In addition, the CRI also is focused on developing anti-microbial coatings that are safe, environmentally benign and would enhance the sustainability of field systems. These coatings would contain antimicrobial agents that can effectively break down and kill microorganisms that come into contact with the surface of vehicles and/or equipment during battlefield engagement.

For example, if a group of Humvees entered an area where an enemy dispersed chemical or biological agents, such as anthrax or serine nerve gas, the military vehicle’s coating would immediately neutralize the deadly effects of the agents.

“Silver is one key component that could be used in these coatings. For years, various chemical forms of silver have been known to kill germs,” Provder said.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

EMU Home | University Communications Home