News | Oct 9, 2019

Navy scientist develops safe, eco-friendly 1K coating

It's a top-shelf topcoat ready for commercialization

News Article Image of Navy scientist develops safe, eco-friendly 1K coating

A U.S Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper helicopter was painted with one-component (1K) camouflage gray polysiloxane topcoat developed at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

Courtesy NRL

A new, environmentally safe and user-friendly topcoat is ready to hit the market thanks to a new patent issued to the U.S. Navy.

Developed by a team headed by Dr. Erick Iezzi, a senior research chemist at U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s Center for Corrosion Science and Engineering, the topcoat is a one-component (1K) polysiloxane based on organosilane polymers — a new technology that is free of hazardous air polluting (HAP) chemicals.

“We’re very proud of this achievement,” Iezzi said. “Polyurethane topcoats have existed for several decades, yet within a few years we’ve been able to develop an environmentally friendly alternative that provides similar laboratory performance and is easy for painters to use.”

The topcoat has already been applied to a handful of U.S. Navy aircraft. But due to the fact that it requires no mixing — thereby reducing preparation time — and can be resealed for future use, Iezzi noted that the technology could have many commercial applications.

TechLink, the Navy’s national partnership intermediary for technology transfer, is helping private companies evaluate the new topcoat and negotiate mutually beneficial business agreements, e.g., a commercial evaluation license or patent license (The Navy was recently issued U.S. Patent 10,190,020 for Iezzi’s 1K topcoat).

Micaela Whalen, senior technology manager at TechLink, recently interviewed Iezzi so she can brief interested companies on the details of the technology, including use-cases and steps to commercialization.

The ease-of-use and improved safety over traditional polyurethane topcoats are important features, Whalen said. HAPs are classified as potential human carcinogens, while isocyanate exposure can also cause sensitization, resulting in severe asthma attacks upon subsequent exposures at even low levels.

“As there is no activation step or application time limits, this invention saves time and avoids waste,” said Whalen. “These qualities, along with its lack of hazardous air polluting chemicals make it ideal for both commercial and consumer use.”


Businesses interested in evaluating the topcoat can contact Micaela Whalen at micaela.whalen@montana.edu or 406-994-1302.