MLF - Military Logistics

US Navy developing omniphobic ship coating

25th June 2018 - 16:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The US Office of Naval Research (ONR) is sponsoring the development of a new type of omniphobic ship coating to reduce fuel and energy costs, the ONR announced on 21 June.

The omniphobic coating is clear, durable and can be applied to can be sprayed, brushed, dipped or spin-coated onto numerous surfaces. It can repel almost any liquid and can reduce friction drag, which is the resistance created by the movement of a hull through water on the platforms. The work is being carried out at the University of Michigan. 

Besides reducing friction drag, omniphobic coating can also be used to protect equipment such as sensors, radars and antennas from weather.

The team is conducting further tests on the omniphobic coating and expects the solution to be ready for small-scale military and civilian use in the next few years.

Dr Anish Tuteja, associate professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Michigan, said: ‘Researchers may take a very durable polymer matrix and a very repellent filler and mix them. But this doesn’t necessarily yield a durable, repellent coating. Different polymers and fillers have different miscibilities [the ability of two substances to mix together]. Simply combining the most durable individual constituents doesn't yield the most durable composite coating.’

In addition to omniphobic coatings, ONR is also sponsoring other types of coating research to prevent corrosion on both ships and aircraft and fight biofouling. Similar coatings can also prevent ice from forming on ships operating in cold regions or make ice removal much easier than conventional methods like scraping.

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