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U.S. Army, Smart Coatings Materiel Program

L. Battista, N. Colon and J. Zunino
U.S. Army Armament Research, Development & Engineering Center, Industrial Ecology Center, US

Keywords: smart coatings, materials, self-healing, corrosion resistance, colorizing

The goal of the U.S. Army Smart Coatings TM Materiel Program is to create the next generation of coatings for Army materiel that will have unique properties such as self-healing, corrosion resistant and colorizing attributes. A partnership between the Industrial Ecology Center at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ along with researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), NJ, Wake University, NC and Clemson University, SC will develop the next generation of smart coatings TM materiel via nanotechnology. The coatings applied to weapon systems today are ''dumb'' in the sense that once applied they perform their function without the ability to self-correct because of changing circumstances or without the ability to tell the user of potential anomalies such as corrosion or adhesion problems. Their application and removal is also labor intensive and potentially hazardous to the people working with them. Most of these coatings need to be ''touched-up'' by hand and hide substrate damage from the user of the product. As a result, the Army estimates that the total cost for DOD corrosion related problems is $20 billion per year, $4 billion of which is related to painting/depainting operations as reported in the 2002 NACE report to the Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. The main objective of the activities under the Program is to conduct research designed to lead to the development of coatings incorporating properties such as self healing, selective removal, corrosion resistance, sensing, ability to modify coatings' physical properties, and alerting logistics staff when tanks or weaponry require more extensive repair. The resulting smart coating TM materiel will ultimately aid the Army and DOD in 1) Decreasing life-cycle costs; 2) Increasing readiness by reducing equipment down time; 3) Reducing the maintenance burden being placed on diminishing active and reserve work force resources; 4) Reducing the potential hazards associated with painting/depainting operations. This briefing will provide to the audience an overview of the Smart Coatings TM Materiel Program and discuss progress thus far.

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