Navy Science Team Advances Coatings


Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have been recognized for money-saving and performance advancements they made to nonskid and topside coatings used on the naval fleet.

A five-man team from the NRL Center for Corrosion Science and Engineering were awarded the Office of Naval Research Prize for Affordability in an August ceremony held in Alexandria, VA, the NRL announced.

The award recognizes the research team’s formulation, synthesis and commercialization of topside and nonskid coatings to deliver longer life, high durability, improved weathering resistance and color stability. The new coatings are intended to replace the legacy nonskid decking and topside coatings previously in use.

The group’s developments are credited with significantly reducing total costs related to corrosion control in Navy ships and submarines through the use of the new coating formulations.

The Navy installs nearly 3.7 million square feet of non-skid coatings per year, which typically costs more than $56 million annually.

Coatings Advancements

According to the NRL, conventional epoxy-based nonskid coatings have a 12- to 36-month lifecycle; topside coatings have a 24- to 36-month lifespan.

The new NRL polysiloxane system is said to double or triple life expectancy of the coatings.

For topside coatings, the new system is reported to not only increase the coating's lifespan, but also to lower installation costs—by up to 28 percent—by reducing the number of coats needed when compared to conventional systems.

As a result, polysiloxane coatings systems have been qualified and approved for use by Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and have been mandated for all topside depot level maintenance applications.

The NRL-developed polysiloxane nonskid decking system is planned for qualification this year.

The nonskid coatings have exceeded the one-year flight deck requirement on-board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), have outperformed all previous nonskids on-board the USS Michigan (SSGN 727), and are still performing well on-board the USS Bulkeley (DDG 84).

On submarines, this system is the only one to ever pass the Navy submarine nonskid requirements.

The Research Team

The honorees include materials research engineers James Martin, who is head of the Marine Coatings Science Section, Jimmy Tagert, and John Wegand; research chemist, Dr. Erick Iezzi; and physical scientist technician, Paul Slebodnick.

U.S. Navy / John F. Williams
U.S. Navy / John F. Williams

The new topside coatings system is reported to not only increase the coating's lifespan, but also to lower installation costs, needing fewer coats than conventional systems.

The Center for Corrosion Science and Engineering (CCSE) conducts broad scientific and engineering programs to understand and reduce the effects of the marine environment on naval systems. Within the CCSE, the Marine Coatings Science Section conducts basic and applied research to synthesize and produce advanced, multifunctional marine coatings technology for all naval environments, including immersion, alternate immersion and atmospheric exposures typical of Navy and Marine Corps platforms.

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is the Navy's full-spectrum corporate laboratory, conducting a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, DC, with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, MS, and Monterey, CA. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to meet the complex technological challenges of today's world.


Tagged categories: Coating Materials; Coatings; Coatings Technology; Color retention; Corrosion protection; Durability; Life expectancy; Marine; Marine Coatings; Non-skid coatings; North America; U.S. Navy; Weathering

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