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Corpus Christi Army Depot

Year Submitted: 2003

Process: Surface Hardening

Industry: Military

Wastes Reduced: Hazardous Waste

Substance: Cutting Surfaces

Equipment: Nitrogen Ion Exchange

Location: Corpus Christi TX

No. of employees: 3500

Contact: Chuck Gawanes

Phone: (512) 939-4170


The Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) installed a machine designed to harden drills and cutting surfaces in order to extend wear life. This process increased machine tool life 2 to 4 fold causing operating costs to decrease. All functions of this unit are controlled by a fully diagnostic computer.

P2 Application:

Ions of one element are implanted into the atomic structure of metal objects being treated without affecting the underlying, substrate’s structure. Parts are placed in a 3 foot by 3 foot vacuum chamber on a rotating plate and implanted, at the speed of light, by accelerated nitrogen ions from an electronic source (100,000 volts - 40 milli amperes). Nitrogen ions bombard and penetrate the steel surface of the parts and become trapped between the steel molecules.

Environmental Benefits:

Ion implantation on a molecular level strengthens the mechanical properties such as hardness, tensile strength and corrosion resistance of metals. This strengthening extends the life and reduces machine tool scrap and parts disposal. Ion implantation also replaces other methods of tool sharpening which use oils and hazardous substances.

Details of Reductions

Source: TCEQ

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