Combatting Galvanic Corrosion: Aviat’s Extra Measures in Harsh Environments

Example of galvanic corrosion.Galvanic corrosion is a type of corrosion that occurs when two different types of metal are in contact with each other in the presence of an electrolyte. When this occurs, an electrical current flow between the two metals, causing one of them to corrode at an accelerated rate. This type of corrosion can be particularly damaging to equipment that is located near oceans and seas, as saltwater is an excellent conductor of electricity and can accelerate the corrosion process. Heavily corroded equipment enclosures inevitably allow water to ingress inside the radio and damage the internal electronics, leading to outages and the need to completely replace the unit.

Saltwater Accelerates Galvanic Corrosion

Saltwater spray and mist can travel significant distances through the air, particularly in coastal regions where there is a constant breeze. When saltwater contacts metal equipment made of two distinct types of metal, the saltwater creates an electrical current between the two metals, leading to galvanic corrosion.

Aviat’s Extra Steps in Harsh Environments

Many radio manufacturers opt for powder coated aluminum enclosures for their equipment as it is a cost-effective and widely available material that provides effective protection in most environments. However, in corrosive environments, galvanic corrosion can significantly shorten the lifespan of the radio if it sets in. To counteract this, Aviat takes extra measures, leaving no room for corrosion to take hold.

Our industrial Private LTE and Virtual Fiber solutions are built with enclosures treated with a premium electroless nickel plating, which creates an extra barrier against the elements. This plating process applies a layer of nickel that prevents galvanic corrosion by inhibiting the development of an electric current. The electroless nickel plating protects both the aluminum housing, and consequently the internal electronics of the radio and increasing the operational lifetime of the equipment, reduce ingress-related outages, and decrease overall operational TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).

In addition to its corrosion-resistant properties, electroless nickel plating also has several other benefits. It is extremely durable and resistant to wear, making it an ideal choice for equipment that is subject to heavy use or elevated levels of stress from environmental changes like large fluctuations in temperature that expands and contracts the metal frequently. It is also resistant to a wide range of chemical and environmental conditions, including saltwater, making it a suitable choice for use in a variety of different settings.

In conclusion, galvanic corrosion can lead to many problems, especially in environments near oceans and seas. To protect against this type of corrosion, Aviat uniquely uses a multi-pronged approach, beginning with a premium electroless nickel plating on their Wireless Access enclosures. This electroless process applies a layer of nickel to the metal surface without an electrical current, creating a barrier between the metal and the environment and providing a sacrificial layer. Then, a powder coat is also applied over the nickel plating, further enhancing protection against the elements. Unlike other commercial-grade products, Aviat Access solutions also use plated connectors to prevent degraded performance and other failures.

With these measures in place, Aviat Access products will last for many more years than the next best alternative, even in the harshest and most corrosive environments, while also reducing the costs associated with corrosion related failures, such as visits to site, troubleshooting, equipment replacement and other operational costs.

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