The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is dually impacting the “Great Green Fleet” initiative by reducing the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Navy coatings, an environmental hazard common to most coatings, and by increasing the service life of non-skid coatings.
These coatings are tailored for use in and around marine decks, aircraft landing areas and walking surfaces, all of which lend to the safety initiative of preventing “slips, trips, and falls” equally in military, commercial, and private sectors.
With the implementation of the invention “Direct-to-Metal and Exterior Durable Non-Skid Coating,” by Dr. Erick Iezzi, James Martin, and Paul Slebodnick, VOCs have been considerably reduced by changing the chemistry to siloxane-based coatings, a divergence from the more commonly used and volatile epoxy resins. The new coatings are more durable, color-retentive and chemical-resistant, and they reduce costs due to the longer service-life expectancies of the siloxane-based coating, thereby reducing the overall number of man-hours and downtime of coating immobile or mobile platforms. Currently, the Navy installs approximately 3.7 million square feet of non-slip coatings per year at an annual cost of over $56 million, with the life expectancy of epoxy coatings at 12-36 months. NRL’s new non-skid coatings are expected to last 60 months or longer.
The new coatings are more durable, color-retentive and chemical-resistant, and they reduce costs due to the longer service-life expectancies of the siloxane-based coating, thereby reducing the overall number of man-hours and downtime of coating immobile or mobile platforms.
Although the technology was developed and tested by NRL and a contractor, scale-up of these formulations were key to having a successful military/commercial product. Steven Marquis of NRL’s Technology Transfer Office began working with the contractor to establish an Agreement Between Owners of Invention Rights, whereby the contractor would take the lead in patent prosecution and licensing the invention beginning in 2011. In 2012, the contractor established a nonexclusive license agreement with NCP Coatings, Inc.; however, by 2013 the contractor decided to discontinue patent prosecution and offered the invention rights to NRL for continued prosecution. As a result, a new, nonexclusive license between NRL and NCP Coatings was executed on January 30, 2014.
The new non-skid coating is commercially available under the NCP Coatings brand name of SiloxoGrip™, with sales in both defense and commercial markets to date. Military specification guidelines and testing platforms were fulfilled by James Tagert and John Wegand, both of NRL. On September 3, 2015, Randy Terrill of NCP Coatings confirmed the NAVSEA Qualification of the SiloxoGrip™ formulation, a crucial milestone preset in the NRL-NCP licensing agreement.