The Coatings Research Institute (CRI) of Eastern Michigan University (EMU) has secured a one million dollar contract with the Department of Defense to work with the U.S. Air Force and conduct a variety of coatings research projects for the military branch at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH. The CRI previously developed coatings for the U.S. Army that are more enviornmentally friendly and protect Army trucks and tanks from corrosion.
"The basic objective is we're building on polyurethane resins we previously developed for the Army," said John Texter, professor of polymer and coatings technology, and EMU's project director on the Air Force contract. "It is allowing us to take the technology developed on previous earmarks and find a better niche in this Air Force application."
Primary research objectives will include the development of a polyurethane primer that is tough but flexible, and able to withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures; the development of improved fuel-tank coatings so that certain fuel additives, such as ethylene glycol, cannot degrade the coatings; and the development of an improved pre-treatment, which does not include chromium, to improve corrosion resistance of Air Force planes, including a fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers.
"Getting rid of chromium pre-treatments and heavy metals in corrosive inhibitive pigments is the 'holy grail' throughout the Department of Defense," said Ted Provder, director of the CRI, who will serve on the research team.
"There are so many areas that use epoxy primers," said Texter. "If we are able to replace the Air Force epoxy primers with ours, we will be able to take it into industrial and consumer markets, and make a big splash with it. That could lead to licensing technology that faculty and the University have a proprietary interest in."