Go Back

A 'life-saver' on board

 

The 'Sea King' helicopter and 'Sea Harrier' aircraft, both ship borne aircrafts form an important part of Naval Aviation. However, prolonged exposure to the moisture and salt-laden sea air takes its toll by hastening the corrosion process. In the aviation industry, the failure of structures, components and systems (despite high levels of sophistication) has been attributed to corrosion.

A survey carried out on Sea King helicopters showed that in spite of regular daily and weekly preventive maintenance, the corrosive effects were visible on the main rotor blades, landing gear system, wheel bearings, shock absorbers, chrome-plated areas, tail nylon bush and fitting assembly. This corrosion could lead to catastrophic failures. It is not an exaggeration to say that the primary function of naval maintenance was to combat corrosion until Bry-Air offered an effective solution to preserve material against corrosion.

The Corrosion Phenomenon

Many materials corrode, changing from one form to another through chemical reactions. Humid air, salts and pollutants, sand, dust and ultra violet light all lead to deterioration and corrosion of equipment. Corrosion is a chemical reaction which is catalysed and accelerated by moisture. The moisture when dellosited as dew on the equipment, hastens corrosion of metals and electrical contacts, reducing electrical resistance of insulators and wire harnesses, and spoiling surface finish.

At sea, the problem intensifies in the presence of salt-laden moist air, corroding not only ferrous metal but glass, rubber and electrical components.

Defence hardware, software and ammunition are all high value items and must be in a battle-ready condition at all times. The corrosion and moisture damage reduces the 'Mean Time Between Failures' (MTBF). This impairs the availability of equipment at short notice. Extensive manpower required to provide preventive maintenance is also uneconomical and time consuming. Therefore, the need was felt to provide a better alternative for preservation and storage in a controlled environment.

The Bry Clad System

The Bry-Air flexible barrier system fulfills a long standing need for maximum reliability with minimum effort at an affordable cost. The system is based on the fact that corrosion can be prevented by protecting the equiment with a suitable barrier and the use of a dehumidifier.

Extensive field trials and actual usage show that a controlled environment at less than 40% RH is the optimum for preservation of military hardware. This is achieved through Dynamic-Solid desiccant dehumidification.

The Rexible Barrier System (FBS) that was used to preserve the Sea Kings and Sea Harriers consisted of a flexible cover which had the inherent characteristics of adequate resistance to moisture, oil, flame, fungus, rodents, ultraviolet rays, cold temperatures, good structural strength, flexibility and reusability.

The cover was tailored to fit the contours of the aircraft. Once encapsulated within the cover, the aircraft was sealed with a special closure lock to prevent moisture permeation. The dehumidifier was then hooked up through an air distribution system to the cover to continuously feed and flush the aircraft with dry air.

Corrosion was thus effectively prevented. Such a system has the advantage of maintaining the equipment in a high state of readiness without the need for daily maintenance.

Corrosion control and preservation through dehumidification and Rexible Barrier System (FBS) is ideaUy suited for the preservation of hardware, aircrafts, helicopters, aero engines, combat vehicles and materials in storage sheds.

Temporary storage with barriers, individual /clusters of aircrafts, helicopters, vehicles, equipment in any fo:rm and in any climatic condition are suitable for FBS.

The Il,reservation approach has been found to be the most effective and economical in eliminating corrosion and deteriioration.

Safe landing

Sky d iving and parachuting have unde"gone tremendous innovations, leading to sophistication in terms of material and designs of parachutes for ensuring a safe landing.s

The military, however, were faced with the problem of decay of the base fabric of the parachute from mold and fungus during storage due to condensed moisture.

Parachutes are normally wet after the jump because water vapor condenses on the fabric of the chutes. The damp fabric provides a breeding ground for fungus and mold growih. The parachutes were being dried by the conventional method of hanging them from hooks like 'coats on hangers' in huge rooms with high ceilings and fans. The process was not only time consuming but did not entirely free the parachutes from moisture which invariably remained trapped in the folds.

Bry-Air offered the solution by maintaining the drying and storage areas at 40% RH at 30' C, thereby continually surrounding the parachutes with dry air.

A simple but money saving solution!