PPG Industries has received a $1.5 million award from the federal government’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, or SERDP, to develop a chemical-agent-resistant coating (CARC) in powder form for use on military vehicles and support equipment.
PPG, which is already qualified by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) as a producer of powder primer for CARC systems, is now collaborating with ARL to fulfill the challenge of developing a powder topcoat that will meet military standards for ultraviolet durability, matte finish and resistance to chemical agents. The powder topcoat also must be compatible with pretreatment and primer products already developed and approved for CARC applications. To date, according to PPG, no coatings manufacturer has been able to develop a CARC powder topcoat that achieves this required combination of properties using standard powder formulation techniques.
“PPG has developed proprietary processing and resin-synthesis capabilities for powder coatings that we believe will support development of powder CARCs meeting the MIL-PRF-32348 specification," said Lawrence Fitzgerald, PPG senior scientist. He added that the project will leverage powder coating technology that earned PPG an R&D 100 Award in 2009.
"Combining PPG's coatings expertise with the critical design requirements of the U.S. Army makes this partnership ideal," said John Escarsega, who leads ARL’s Organic Coatings Team within ARL’s Weapons and Materials Research Directorate. Escarsega doubles as the Department of Defense (DoD) commodities manager for CARCs. "Developing a CARC powder topcoat would benefit both DoD and commercial enterprises because of inherent program environmental health and safety standards.”
Powder coatings are attractive to SERDP because they are safer to apply than many liquid alternatives, with no emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Plus, the ability to reuse overspray yields a nearly 100-percent utilization rate, so they generate little or no waste.
SERDP is the DoD’s environmental research and development program, planned and executed in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The program is designed to harness the latest science and technology to improve the DoD’s environmental performance, reduce costs, and enhance and sustain mission capabilities.
ARL is the Army's corporate, or central, laboratory. It is also DoD’s approving authority for all CARCs. As such, ARL leads research and development activity for CARC systems.