Formulating Precursors for Coating Metals and CeramicsA protocol has been devised for formulating low-vapor-pressure precursors for protective and conversion coatings on metallic and ceramic substrates. The ingredients of a precursor to which the protocol applies include additives with phosphate esters, or aryl phosphate esters in solution. Additives can include iron, chromium, and/or other transition metals. Alternative or additional additives can include magnesium compounds to facilitate growth of films on substrates that do not contain magnesium. Formulation of a precursor begins with mixing of the ingredients into a high-vapor-pressure solvent to form a homogeneous solution. Then the solvent is extracted from the solution by evaporation - aided, if necessary, by vacuum and/or slight heating. The solvent is deemed to be completely extracted when the viscosity of the remaining solution closely resembles the viscosity of the phosphate ester or aryl phosphate ester. In addition, satisfactory removal of the solvent can be verified by means of a differential scanning calorimetry essay: the absence of endothermic processes for temperatures below 150 C would indicate that the residual solvent has been eliminated from the solution beyond a detectable dilution level.