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Navy Coating Puts the Skids on Slips

Thursday, June 14, 2012

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Footing aboard those slick Navy decks and walkways is poised to improve with the introduction of a new non-skid shipboard coating developed by the Naval Research Laboratory.

The novel two-component siloxane-based coating was developed by scientists in NRL’s Chemistry Division.

 USS Cape St. George

 Photos: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

The NRL-developed siloxane-based, non-skid coating was installed aboard the USS Cape St. George in November.

The Navy says the new coating is “more durable, color retentive, chemical resistant and cheaper due to a longer life expectancy than traditional epoxy-based coatings.”

‘Quite Versatile’

The coating is “quite versatile,” with application by roller or spray over either a primed or bare-metal surface, says John Wegand, program team member, at NRL’s Center for Corrosion Science and Engineering.

The product “possesses greater external durability in harsh operational environments, improved traction capabilities, ease of application and—most importantly—a longer lifespan, reducing the overall cost of the elements compared to the current epoxy and amine component coating,” said Wegand.

Recent demonstrations conducted on several Navy ships based in Norfolk, VA, have returned “extremely positive results,” said Wegand.

3.7M Square Feet a Year

Extending the coating system’s service life was the research team’s main goal, NRL said in a release. The Navy installs nearly 3.7 million square feet of non-skid coating each year at an annual cost of more than $56 million. The current maximum life expectancy of those coatings is just 18 months.

 Testing has yielded “extremely positive results,” a program official says.
Testing has yielded “extremely positive results,” a program official says.

The current coatings are composed of aromatic epoxy resins, which initially provide good hardness and chemical resistance but “are notorious for degrading rapidly when exposed to the harsh external environmental conditions that the U.S. Navy routinely encounters at sea,” according to NRL.

Short pot life and slow drying time also make application difficult and often lead to premature coating damage or failure, NRL said.

“Test results proved our new coating material greatly outperformed the current coating and met all research goals for this program, especially with regard to UV and chemical resistance,” said Wegand.

The research is funded by the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR’s) Future Naval Capability Program and supported by Naval Sea Systems Command.

   

Tagged categories: Marine; Marine Coatings; Research; Siloxane; U.S. Navy

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