Composite Tower, Industrial Coating Honored


An Air Force Base communications tower built with composite materials with corrosion-resistant properties and a VOC-free coating development have won Small Business Administration awards for the economic impact of their technological innovation.

Among the recipients of this year’s Tibbetts Awards, granted in January by the SBA for notable technological advancements, were Composite Support & Solutions (San Pedro, California), which developed the communications tower, and GVD Corp. (Cambridge, Massachusetts), which created a new mold-release coating made from PTFE (commonly known by the proprietary name Teflon), using no volatile organic compounds.

Corrosion-Free Tower

CSS built the tower, at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts, using a vinyl ester resin from manufacturer Ashland. Funded by Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant money, CSSI developed the tower, built without metal fasteners or other metal parts that might corrode.

The composite material has the potential to eliminate the maintenance required where corrosion is a possibillity. The system also saved the Air Force money because of the speed of assembly—about eight times as fast as the previous quickest-to-assemble tower material.

VOC-Free Industrial Coating

Also honored with a Tibbetts Award this year was GVD, which received grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency through the SBIR program. The firm developed a coating to be used in manufacturing facilities where products made of plastics and rubbers are created in molds.

Where traditional mold-release coatings, which ensure that the product comes out of the mold easily, are made with VOCs, GVD developed a mold-release coating that’s free of the environmentally dubious compounds. GVD’s new coating is based on polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

GVD has already partnered with producers of rubber tires and semiconductors to put the new coating into use.

Tibbetts Awards are awarded annually by the Small Business Administration, honoring new developments funded by SBIR or Small Business Technology Transfer grants. Products that are honored have shown an economic impact. The awards are named for Roland Tibbetts, called the “father of the SBIR program.”


Tagged categories: Awards and honors; Building materials; Coating chemistry; Coating Materials; Government; Industrial coatings; North America; Small Business Administration; Transmission Towers

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