Camouflage Coating and Corrosion
- ARL is the approving authority for all of DoD regarding Chemical Agent Resistant Coatings (CARC)
- ARL is the lead research and development activity for CARC systems.
The U.S. Army and other Services require that their fielded systems be survivable in extreme environments, such as exposure to weapons of mass destruction. ARL's Coatings Team is pursuing the development of multifunctional protective coating systems that provide chemical-agent resistance, signature reduction, and improved durability for vehicles, munitions, and other equipment while maintaining compliance with environmental regulations. An integral part of this effort is the application of advanced characterization techniques to develop relationships and eventual models to predict field performance and durability of new coatings and insure compliance with EPA Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) regulations. Tactical vehicles require adequate signature reduction properties that can defeat existing and emerging target-detection systems. Enhancements are needed to provide protection against chemical and biological agent threats while maintaining this protection following decontamination operations. Coating systems also require improved ability to withstand corrosive and wear-intensive environments. Moreover, new coating formulations must comply with environmental regulations for Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions, heavy metal content, and HAP content.
To address these challenges, new coatings formulations are being developed and characterized that can meet these performance and environmental requirements. Four basic raw material groups -- pigments, binders, solvents, and additives -- are being investigated for these formulations. Materials and properties being evaluated include solvent-free resin systems, non-HAP solvent use, reduction with water, polymeric-bead flattening agents, mar resistance, flexibility, and weather resistance. The Chemical Agent Resistant Coatings (CARC) are being evaluated as a system which includes the topcoat, primer, pretreatment, and substrate.
This ARL effort supports various customer programs, including the Tri-Agency (DoD, DOE, and EPA) Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (Low VOC CARC, Coatings Degradation), U.S. Army Materiel Command (Pollution Prevention R&D), U.S. Army Communications-Electronics, Tank-automotive and Armaments, and Aviation and Missile commands (Durability and Pollution Prevention), and U.S. Army Armament RDE Center (Low-VOC Coatings for Ammunition, Ammunition Coating Consolidation). Development of new multifunctional coating systems will be applicable to all tactical equipment and will provide essential payoffs in superior camouflage and signature control, chemical-agent resistance, and enhanced durability.