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The Development of an Environmentally Compliant, Multi-Functional Aerospace Coating Using Molecular- and Nano-Engineering Methods

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Final rept., 1 Sep 2005-1 Sep 2006

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The coating system presently used on military aircraft is constrained in function e.g., static color, low glint and limited to the use of toxic, chromate-based compounds for the mitigation of corrosion. This report summarizes a MURI that was tasked to establish the scientific foundation for a military aerospace coating with expanded functionality and environmental compliance. By implementing advances in molecular and nano-engineered materials, an academic team has identified the enabling science for a multi-functional coating system with the ability to provide 1 corrosion protection using environmentally compliant materials, 2 sensing of corrosion and mechanical damage of the aircraft skin, 3 mitigating responses to sensed chemical and physical damage, 4 color-on-demand, 5 optimal adhesion using environmentally compliant materials, 6 fatigue resistance and mechanical integrity of the fuselage, 7 self-cleaning and water rejection character. The enhanced functionality of this advanced coating system is achieved through the research and development of now tangible technologies. These components include 1a field-replaceable, nano-engineered aluminum alloy cladding, 2 new approaches for the identification, encapsulation, and intelligent delivery of environmentally compliant corrosion inhibitors for paint, 3 colloidal crystals, and photonic antenna for sensing and color-change-on-demand, 4 optimization of organic coating adhesion to the aluminum alloy substrate through the use of an environmentally compatible surface treatment, 5 development of self-assembled bio-mimetic surfaces for super-hydrophobicity. The research from this MURI has resulted in tangible coatings, coating additives, and technologies with very promising and realizable benefit to the Air Force mission.

Subject Categories:

  • Coatings, Colorants and Finishes
  • Aircraft

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