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Corrosion protection of the space shuttle solid rocket boosters incorporates the use of cathodic protection (anodes) in concert with several coatings systems. The SRB design has large carbon/carbon composite (motor nozzle) electrically connected to an aluminum alloy structure. Early in the STS program, the aluminum structures incurred tremendous corrosive attack at coating damage locations due primarily to galvanic coupling with the carbon/carbon nozzle. Also contributing to the galvanic corrosion problem were stainless steel and titanium alloy components housed within the aluminum structures and electrically connected to the aluminum structures. This paper highlights the evolution in the protection of the aluminum structures, providing historical information and summary data from the operation of the corrosion protection systems. Also, data and information are included regarding the evaluation and application of inorganic zinc rich primers to provide anode area on the aluminum structures.
cathodic protection, aluminum, airframes, anode
Senior Materials Engineer, USBI Co., Kennedy Space CenterFL,