Q: When is spray foam insulation not spray foam insulation?
A: When it is being used as a primary protective coating.
That was the unusual application recently devised to provide an insulation and waterproofing system for a radar dome mounted aboard a U.S. Navy warship.
The project was performed on the Texas coastline under adverse weather conditions. The satellite was manufactured near the ship on the water, with high winds every day of the application.
Spray foam polyurethane insulation was used as the primary coating for the radar dome, due to the material's ability to withstand the severe vibration, movement and weather conditions that would be encountered at sea.
Not only was spray foam applied to the radar dome, it was also used to insulate satellite and communication equipment aboard the ship. The application involved spray polyurethane foam, polyurea and an aliphatic urethane top-coat system, all supplied and installed by Brazos Urethane, of Texas City, TX.
“It was an exciting project for us that combined our recommendations for products and their recommendations,” said Rayne Knight, of Brazos Urethane. “The work was actually contracted through General Dynamics, who designed and manufactured the satellite.”
Specifications and Requirements
Because the radar dome was designed to move rapidly in all directions, the spray polyurethane foam had to be installed to tolerances of + or – 1/8”. The specifications required the application of 3” density spray polyurethane foam from 2” to 0” in thickness, protected by 80 mils of high-density polyurea coating and top-coated with 6 mils of aliphatic urethane coating.
Along with the project’s weather challenges, the contractor had to adhere to all military rules and regulations.
The job was completed in 15 days and landed the company a nomination for the 2011 SPFA Industry Excellence Awards.
Knight said the project was an unusual application for Brazos but not for the satellite industry. “They have so many machines and computers that require that they be kept cool that SPF is perfect for that,” he said. “[It was] a very fun and unique project.”
Brazos Urethane provides spray polyurethane foam and SPF insulation systems for interior and exterior applications, high-performance roof coatings, protective coatings for concrete, corrosion protection, and deck coatings for steel and concrete substrates.