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Low Emission Depainting on Steel

POC: NASA TEERM Principal Center


NASA's current use of abrasive blasting for surface preparation/depainting of structural steel creates fine, airborne dust.  Such operations are regulated under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health, and American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.  An alternative technology that generates less dust is desired.


Validate a low-emission surface preparation/depainting technology for structural steel.


Kennedy Space Center, Stennis Space Center and Air Force Space Command


  • Improved corrosion protection of critical systems
  • Easier and less costly maintenance and reduced hazardous waste
  • Reduced costs associated with current maintenance activities across NASA

Document Status


  • Field demonstrations completed:
    • Stennis Space Center, MS, completed in 2005, looked at:
      • Three abrasive media types (plastic, sponge, and silica-free mineral)
      • Liquid nitrogen
      • Mechanical removal with vacuum attachments
    • Glenn Research Center, OH, completed in 2005, looked at laser coating removal
  • Distributed Final Joint Test Report
    • Three alternatives performed better than or equal to the baseline process for large-scale applications
    • One alternative technology identified as viable for small-scale applications such as repairs and weld lines
  • Distributed Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • One alternative was found to be less expensive than the baseline process
    • All the alternatives reduced environmental liability and environmental activity costs compared to the baseline process
      • Reduced environmental liability may be more important than overall cost at some locations
      • Two alternatives virtually eliminate all environmental activity costs
  • One alternative used as surface preparation for field testing of the Isocyanate Urethane Replacements on Structural Steel Project
  • Results used to identify alternatives for Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Low-VOC Coatings and Depainting Technologies Field Testing (Phase 2) Project


Finalized 04/09/12