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Chemical Reactivation of Exterior Decorative Aerospace Livery Coatings
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By Douglas Berry, The Boeing Company

Presented at SSPC 2013; Session: Coating Technology for the Aerospace Industry; Session chair: Matt Thomas

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Exterior aerospace livery coatings are highly cross-linked polyurethane based paints requiring resistance to UV degradation and a high level of adhesion as the livery serves to project an airline’s corporate image and differentiates between airline operators. These coatings are also designed to be resistant to a variety of aggressive solvents and airplane fluids to ensure protection of the airframe. Consequently, during processing, a livery surface can be inert to the reception of the next livery color. Proper surface preparation of each cured topcoat layer prior to application is the next critical step for ensuring adequate adhesion, as the stresses experienced by leading edges of aerospace paint layers are quite severe due to impacting raindrops during flight. Historically, the only viable method to prevent de-bonding of cured paints was to mechanically abrade (sand) prior to the application of subsequent coating layers. However, sanding is an ergonomically hazardous process, adds process flow time and produces contamination. In addition, sanding intricate stencil lettering is not feasible without tearing the stencil material or leaving visible scratches in the areas immediately surrounding the stencil markings.

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