The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) is developing paint remover formulations based on 1, 2-dichloroethylene (DCE) as a HAP-free alternative to methylene chloride. The Navy’s formulations offer environmental advantages without sacrificing performance. For example, DCE’s OSHA 8-hour time-weighted permissible exposure limit (PEL) average concentration (200 ppm) is more than 8x greater than methylene chloride (25 ppm) and is completely HAP-free. In proof of concept efficacy testing, NAVAIR’s DCE-based paint stripper removed a typical polyurethane top-coat meeting MIL-PRF-85285 and epoxy primer meeting MIL-PRF-23377, as effectively and with a similar diffusion rate as products containing methylene chloride and phenol. NAVAIR is also developing and testing compatible activators that enable the stripper to address more advanced polymer coating systems.
Various EPA and OSHA regulations have led the US military to implement a variety of chemical and non-chemical alternatives to methylene chloride/phenol paint strippers. However, chemical alternatives, such as benzyl alcohol-based paint strippers, require long dwell times to be effective, even with the addition of activators such as hydrogen peroxide and acids. Non-chemical methods are not viable options on certain coatings and parts.
- Effective: Removed paint from a Navy aircraft coating (polyurethane topcoat over an epoxy primer) in less than five minutes, similar performance to methylene chloride/phenol products; benzyl alcohol products typically require more than 2 hours to yield similar results
- Safer for Humans and the Environment: HAP-free formulation and does not contain corrosive activators
- Broadly applicable: Removes paints, adhesives, sealants, and other organic coatings such as enamel, varnish, and lacquer
- US Patent 8,865,636 is available for license
- Potential for collaboration with US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division researchers