Among many things to be proud of about our state, Connecticut serves as home to some of the largest maritime defense bases and manufacturers in the United States. While there are many bases from which U.S. subs operate, the Naval Submarine Base at New London has been given the simple and telling moniker, “Home of the Submarine Force.” We are proud to also be home to the Coast Guard Academy, and a number of hi-tech submarine and marine equipment manufacturers supporting the defense of our nation on the open seas. Being a Connecticut company ourselves, and being that we manufacture a full range of sealing and shielding products for maritime applications, we thought it might be a good time to talk about the perils of shipboard galvanic action, and how Vanguard shielding products help prevent galvanic action from occurring.
Galvanic action, in essence, is a process where combinations of materials essentially become batteries due to contact between electrochemically dissimilar metals. When this happens, a conductive path is made by which electrons and ions move from one metal to the next. During the process, the material from which the electrons and ions are moving becomes “sacrificial”—physically losing material until degrading to the point of failure. In practice, “galvanic action” can occur between the highly conductive EMI shielding gasket and the metal enclosure, and usually causes the electronic enclosure (typically made of aluminum or steel) to corrode and degrade to the point where the structural integrity, especially from a sealing standpoint, is literally eroded. The process is initiated and accelerated through the presence of an electrolyte. In the case of maritime applications, the electrolyte is abundant—salt water or salt fog in the air. Since maritime US forces are equipped with some of the most advanced, sensitive electronics known to man, and given that seawater is abundant, it becomes obvious why there’s a need to guard against galvanic action in naval electronics systems.
Vanguard’s Ultra-Vanshield and Microbridge dual function EMI shielding gaskets reduce the galvanic potential by reducing the exposure of the dissimilar metals to the electrolyte. This, combined with the appropriate selection of conductive material from our extensive conductive materials options, can virtually eliminate the potential for galvanic action between the shielding gasket and the enclosure on which it is installed. Whether extruded or molded, our gaskets and rubber sealants have been proven seaworthy time and again aboard seafaring vessels. Whether you make your way on a Nimitz-class carrier, a Los Angeles-class attack sub, or a munitions supply ship, you can depend on Vanguard to safeguard your electronic operations systems from the wind, weather, and brine you encounter every moment. For more information on our customized and standard electronics protection solutions for naval applications, call us today or email us at Vanguard Products.