Navy battles corrosion with engineering expertise

Armen Kvryan, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division materials engineer (NSWC PHD), inspects a drop shape analyzer that measures the contact angle of water droplets on a piece of material. Kvryan is NSWC PHD's recent-hire who works to fight corrosion found on Navy ships. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Jesse Gonzalez/U.S. Navy)
April 23, 2019

Armen Kvryan is materialistic. But in a good way.

The recent-hire at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) recently received his doctorate in materials engineering from Boise State University. He will be working as the command’s materials researcher, discovering ways to prevent or control corrosion of metal components aboard Naval ships.

“My job is to optimize materials from metals to polymers,” he said. “We can change the state of the material to make them harder, stronger or lighter, or more cost efficient for the Navy.”

Kvryan will directly support the fleet through quick manufacturing solutions with the intention of producing obsolescent parts using a 3D printer.

“I will be joining the In-Service Engineering Agent (ISEA) of the Future efforts and leading local initiatives for additive manufacturing,” said Kvryan. “In other words, we will develop, evaluate and implement this new technology to meet emerging and evolving needs of the fleet and our warfighters.”

Kvryan’s journey to become a corrosion fighter could easily have turned out differently. The Hollywood native was a music major in college. When a teacher encouraged him to enter a science contest, he won, setting him on his current path.

“I instantly fell in love with chemistry, which prompted me to switch from music theory to chemical engineering at Glendale Community College. I [then] transferred to Cal Poly Pomona, where I studied chemical engineering with a minor in materials engineering.”

He later transferred to Boise State University, where he developed a corrosion lab from the ground up, designed to assess corrosion behavior on metals in defense applications.

Kvryan experienced some interesting stops along the way to NSWC PHD.

“I interned at SpaceX in their Hawthorn headquarters where I worked on corrosion failure analysis of the Amos 6 explosion,” he noted. “I also interned at NASA at the Kennedy Space Center, where I worked on tests for the Orion recovery equipment and coatings for corrosion issues on the spacecraft.”

Most importantly, Kvryan is excited to join NSWC PHD, helping to advance the world’s greatest Navy.

“What we are doing here is very cool,” he said. “I am lucky to work with these talented people. I feel that I am a part of something bigger. As a first-generation American, I want to give back, and supporting our sailors is part of that. If the work is something exciting like fighting corrosion, that makes it better.”