An Aluminum Ion Vapor Deposition (IVD) System to Reduce Waste Generation


Among its many activities, the U.S. Army Environmental Center (USAEC) demonstrates and promotes the use of innovative technologies that reduce waste and prevent pollution at Army depots. USAEC recently supported the implementation of an Aluminum Ion Vapor Deposition (IVD) system, which could help reduce waste generated during industrial plating operations.
Back to top

Waste Generation

Metal plating operations are a typical activity at Army depots. Metal parts traditionally have been electroplated with cadmium, which protects surfaces from corrosion. However, cadmium is a toxic metal, and electroplating generates significant amounts of waste, such as spent plating baths, sludge, and rinse water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates this cadmium-contaminated waste as hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).The government also regulates sludge created by treating spent solutions and rinse waters in on-site industrial wastewater treatment plants, as well as cadmium-containing fumes, dust and mist that result from industrial operations. Further, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates cadmium exposure in the workplace.
Back to top

IVD Advantages

IVD offers several advantages over cadmium electroplating:

The difficulties of handling toxic materials and the increasing costs of managing hazardous waste provide incentives for minimizing hazardous waste generation and preventing pollution at the source. Aluminum surface coatings can replace cadmium in many applications. IVD is a clean technology that shops can use to apply coatings of aluminum to metal, plastics, composites and other substrates.
Back to top

The System

The major components of an IVD system include:

USAEC recently provided technical support for the implemention of an IVD system at Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pa. The center documented this assistance in the report, Technical Support for Implementation of Aluminum Ion Vapor Deposition at Tobyhanna Army Depot (Report No. SFIM-AEC-ET-CR-96006, NTIS Order# ADA 308911). This report includes a bid specification for the IVD system, an economic analysis of the IVD system, a work order for system installation, and information on IVD technology and coatings.

For more information, contact:
U.S. Army Environmental Hotline
(800) USA-3845, DSN 584-1699

Back to top