Rust Busters Prize Competition winners announced by USBR

23 February 2022

Two companies are set to share $100,000 in prize money as part of the US Bureau of Reclamation’s Rust Busters Prize Competition which seeks to extend the life and protect steel water structures by reducing rust and corrosion.

High Barrier Controlled Release Rust Buster Coating will receive $65,000, and Coal Tar Enamel Spray will receive $35,000 as winners of the competition, which is being conducted by USBR in partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the NASA Tournament Labs. HeroX is managing the competition.

"Finding solutions to science and technology challenges Reclamation and its partners are experiencing is one goal of prize competitions," said Senior Advisor for Research and Development Levi Brekke. "The results of this prize competition will inform water managers about new options under development to protect their steel structures from rust and corrosion."

High Barrier Controlled Release Rust Buster Coating developed a coating incorporating special pigments, known as “organometallic phosphato polymers,” to enhance corrosion protection. This coating system provides a tough material that reduces corrosion – a good combination for use on USBR’s steel water structures.

Coal Tar Enamel Spray developed a new process that protects employees during application of coal tar enamel to water structures. This innovative approach uses steam and automation to apply coal tar enamel. A robot is used in the automation process that reduces or eliminates human exposure to harmful gases and minimizes the amount labour needed to apply the enamel, providing cost savings as well.


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