Cadmium-Free Alternatives for Brush Plating Repair Operations

Mr. Randall Straw | Air Force Materiel Command



This project focuses on elimination of toxic and carcinogenic cadmium (Cd) material for brush plating repair operations, and reduction of solid waste associated with adsorbents used to contain solution leakage attributed with traditional brush plating repair processes. The technical objectives are to:

  1. Demonstrate the commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) brush plating tool Dalistick® Station for selective plating, ensuring its safety and cost effectiveness for Department of Defense (DoD) maintenance, repair, and overhaul operations.
  2. Test and evaluate the COTS Zinidal Aero (code 11040) zinc-nickel (Zn-Ni) brush plated coating as a Cd replacement on high strength steels (HSS) for repair applications on weapon systems parts and components (landing gear, terminal assemblies, landing gear doors, bushings, etc.).

Back to Top

Technology Description

This project will evaluate the ability of a novel brush plating tool Dalistick® Station to plate the COTS product Zinidal Zn-Ni coating on HSS. The Dalistick® Station is a mobile electroplating system that enables selective electrochemical treatments without generating any leakage of electrolyte during the plating process. The Dalistick® Station recovers residual brush plating solution and recycles it for reuse in a closed-loop process at the point of contact with the part. It is designed to perform plating and surface finishing operations on steels or light alloys on site, at depots, or in the field. It performs these treatments on curved, horizontal, and/or vertical surfaces and edges without any leakage of electrolyte and generation of any solid waste (absorbents materials, pads, etc.). The Zinidal coating is a promising candidate to replace Cd plating. The Zinidal Aero Zn-Ni solution deposits a coating with 10-20% weight Ni and 80-90% weight Zn at varying thicknesses. The coating provides sacrificial corrosion protection to steels, and the process does not require the hydrogen embrittlement relief baking when plated on HSS.

Back to Top


The elimination of Cd brush plating with the use of the Dalistick® Station and Zinidal solution will offer the following cost, regulatory, and environmental, health, and safety benefits:

  • Avoidance of compliance issues in military repair operations.
  • Environmental and operations impacts, such as the ability to perform selective. electrochemical treatments (rust removal, coating removal, spot anodizing) and plating, using one unit-station without electrolyte/hazardous chemical solution leakage during processing on curved, horizontal, or vertical surfaces and edges either in the field or at the Air Logistic Complexes/Depots.
  • Cost savings due to recycle and reuse of plating solution in the closed-loop process.
  • Reduction of solid waste that is generated from using absorbents (estimated at 60-70%).
  • Reduction of worker exposure to hazardous materials and to residual brush plating solutions.
  • Reduction of monitoring, use of personal protective equipment, permitting, and record keeping.
  • Reduction of transportation/energy costs due to in-field repair capability.
  • Reduction of fielding time and flow time at the Air Logistic Complexes/Depots.
  • Reduction of occupational and environmental hazards will benefit warfighter readiness.

(Anticipated Project Completion - 2017)

Back to Top

Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Randall Straw

Air Force Materiel Command

Phone: 937-255-7730