I recently came across an inspiring story from Harley-Davidson® regarding a highly corroded motorcycle. This particular motorcycle, a 2004 FXSTB Softail Night Train, drifted for more than a year across the Pacific Ocean following the tsunami that devastated parts of northern Japan in 2011. The motorcycle was recovered off the coast of British Columbia by a man named Peter Mark, when it washed ashore at low tide. He discovered the motorcycle, still bearing its Japanese license plate, in a container where the bike was being stored by its owner.

Mark worked with news agencies and representatives from Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada and Harley-Davidson Japan, and eventually found the owner, Ikuo Yokoyama, who lost his home and members of his family in the tsunami. Still struggling to rebuild his life in the aftermath of the disaster, Yokoyama declined Harley-Davidson’s offer to restore and return the bike to him, although he was grateful for the offer and touched by the outpouring of support from Harley riders around the world. He asked to have the motorcycle preserved in its current condition and displayed at the Harley-Davidson Museum as a memorial to those whose lives were lost or forever changed on that day. The bike is now under glass in the Harley-Davidson museum in Milwaukee. As per Yokoyama’s request, it remains un-restored and largely untouched. 

In this situation the corrosion is a tribute for all to see. However, corrosion is normally a widespread, costly and hazardous problem that no one wants to see. The American Galvanizers Association estimates that metallic corrosion costs nearly $423 billion annually in the United States, and about one third of that is noted as avoidable corrosion – a cost that could be eliminated if proper corrosion protection methods were in place. 

Corrosion control is one of our topics in this issue. Look for information in our Industry News section on a Missouri University of Science and Technology effort to investigate environmentally benign, corrosion-resistant coatings for military aircraft and other weapons systems. We also have a feature on formulating highly thermally insulative coatings as a way to prevent condensation and corrosion, as well as an article on a unique coating used by Consumers Energy on its utility equipment to stop corrosion and extend the life of its vehicles.

 I also suspect that corrosion will be a hot topic at the European Coatings Show and Congress this month. I look forward to learning about the new technology that has been developed to combat this issue.