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Robust Self-decontaminating Coatings for Defense Applications – Phase II

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Contract: W31P4Q-22-C-0004
Agency Tracking Number: D2-2597
Amount: $1,746,228.81
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: HR001120S0019-12
Solicitation Number: HR001120S0019.I
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-05-12
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-11-01
Small Business Information
400 Farmington Ave. R1855
Farmington, CT 06032-1913
United States
DUNS: 117417771
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Lawrence Dubois
 (650) 380-4040
Business Contact
 Lawrence Dubois
Phone: (650) 380-4040
Research Institution

Coatings are used throughout the US military for corrosion protection and wear resistance, for appearance and signature control, and for its ability to be cleaned and/or decontaminated. Decontamination of surfaces is a critical issue for the armed forces not only from the potential use of chemical and biological warfare agents by our adversaries, but also to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Self-decontaminating surface coatings are “always on” and therefore minimize the logistics burden of continually using liquid or gaseous disinfectants, especially with high-touch surfaces. Today’s Chemical Agent Resistant Coatings (CARC) are non-porous and provide outstanding abrasion, wear, and chemical resistance – but can only be decontaminated using highly corrosive oxidizers such as supertropical bleach. In Phase I, NANOIONIX proposed and demonstrated a breakthrough catalytic (self-regenerating) antimicrobial ceramic optimized for the inactivation of broad classes of viruses, bacteria, fungi, chemical warfare agents, and environmental toxins without external intervention (including light, heat, or electricity). This patent-pending, low-cost, non-toxic, non-leachable/environmentally benign ceramic active ingredient was blended into a commercial CARC formulation to yield a tough self-decontaminating surface coating. In Phase I, NANOIONIX demonstrated that the resulting coatings met MIL SPEC/ASTM requirements for CARC including adhesion, flexibility, impact resistance, and exposure to supertropical bleach. During the Phase I effort, coatings were also deposited onto steel, stainless steel, and aluminum substrates – all materials of critical importance to the military. These coatings demonstrated inactivation of >99.9% of vaccinia (a surrogate for the potential biological warfare agent smallpox) in 5 minutes – beating the DARPA requirement of 99% viral inactivation during that same time period. Even after multiple exposures to the pathogen as well as significant abrasion (simulating environmental wear), the performance of the NANOIONIX coating did not degrade below the DARPA requirements. In preliminary tests, exposure of the coating to Bacillus atropheous (a simulant for anthrax) showed 95% inactivation. Samples were also robust toward solvents (representative of fuel, hydraulic fluids, and cleaners) and autoclaving (high heat/high humidity). During Phase II the coatings will be further optimized to demonstrate enhanced durability and broad-spectrum inactivation properties against additional chemical and biological agent simulants, identify application and renewal procedures as well as timelines associated with maintenance of the coatings, demonstrate combined coating properties in representative environments (chosen in collaboration with DARPA), and provide samples for independent verification of coating performance.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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