An aircraft lifting pin will be the first piece of equipment deployed by the Navy with a new zinc-nickel plating process designed by chemists and engineers at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast.
The coating will act as a living barrier between aircraft components and the harsh marine environment in which they deploy. The secret to the coating lies in a chemical reaction between the coating, the material it protects and the surrounding environment.
Navy aircraft operate where salt meets metal, and the lifting pin for aircraft dollies was chosen specifically because of the beating it takes on a daily basis aboard a carrier. The results of the first 12-month deployment should confirm the FRCSE team’s research.
Each of six spotting dollies will have a zinc-nickel plated pin, a cadmium plated pin and an unprotected stainless steel pin. Researchers believe that the zinc-plated pin will not only be safer than cadmium plating but, it will also be more durable.
The team will get plenty of data from the deployment. Every 90 days aboard the carrier, the ship’s maintenance crews pull the lifting pins, perform a non-destructive inspection and a visual inspection.
It’s a great opportunity for researchers to get field data and detailed photos, while not interfering with the Sailors’ duties.