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    Paint-On Protection

    Paint-On Protection

    Courtesy Photo | (A) A photograph and diagram of an uncoated painted surface with a drop of CWA applied...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Chemical and Biological Technologies Department

    Tests of newly developed temporary overcoats for tactical military equipment showed a reduction in the amount of absorbed chemical warfare agents (CWAs) by fivefold to a hundredfold, and the coatings remained effective beyond eight weeks in normal environmental conditions. Current military equipment coatings provide visual camouflage and corrosion protection but still require enhanced resistance to CWA penetration. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Chemical and Biological Technologies Department in its role as the Joint Science and Technology Office (JSTO) for the Chemical and Biological Defense Program is investing in testing a variety of new temporary coatings that are compatible with painted military surfaces to repel CWAs.

    These overcoats are expected to significantly improve CWA resistance by a minimum of tenfold and be durable enough to withstand rigorous field environments and decontamination procedures without degrading or compromising the essential properties of the underlying paint. This investment is not to develop a new permanent equipment coating. Instead, DTRA-JSTO is collaborating with the U.S. Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (DEVCOM CBC), U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, and industry partners to develop and test temporary overcoats that can be sprayed, wiped, or brushed on equipment by warfighters and last a minimum of six months in the field.

    After exposure, CWAs may penetrate coatings and be absorbed before the equipment can be effectively decontaminated. An ideal military equipment coating would reduce surface penetration by CWAs to decrease the required time and resources for effective decontamination, which would allow warfighters to rapidly resume the mission. Because most decontaminant solutions are water-based, they don’t effectively penetrate coatings where absorbed CWAs may be hiding. The longer absorbed agents reside on the surface, the more difficult they become to remove and decontaminate, and they may also represent a persistent contact and vapor hazard as they slowly evaporate out of the coating—a process called off-gassing.

    Researchers are harnessing modern advances in polymer synthesis, engineering, and coating formulations to enhance the CWA resistance and improve the decontamination process of painted military surfaces down to the stainless-steel level. To assess properties of candidate temporary coatings, DEVCOM CBC validated a test standard called the Chemical Agent Resistance Method (CARM) that measures the amount of CWA retained by a material after the agent penetrates the surface or coating for specific amounts of time. After a standardized water rinse and soapy water wash, the retained agent is measured using solvent extraction. The advantage of this new method is that it reflects the decontamination processes used in the field and quantifies agent retained within the painted surfaces. CARM will be used to compare and quantify CWA resistance of both current and future coating systems.

    With improved CWA resistance and reduced decontamination time, these new temporary coatings will decrease the exposure risk to warfighters, lessen the work and time to decontaminate vehicles, and return warfighters and equipment to mission sooner.

    POC: Bernadette Higgins, Ph.D.,



    Date Taken: 01.21.2022
    Date Posted: 01.21.2022 14:22
    Story ID: 413227
    Location: FT. BELVOIR, VA, US

    Web Views: 458
    Downloads: 2