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Advanced Ultraviolet and Electron Beam Curable Systems for Aircraft Applications
Phone: (617) 547-1122
Radiation curing using Ultraviolet (UV) Light and Electron Beams (EB) offer advantages for a variety of aircraft structural and non-structural applications. Radiation curing of fiber-reinforced polymer composites, paints, adhesives and sealants can offer processing and cost advantages over conventional materials. Radiation curable paints are solvent-free, an environmental, health and safety and advantage and cure quickly (< 1 minute). Recent advances in UV and EB curing systems and in radiation-curable chemistry formulations have made it possible to achieve weatherable UV and EB curable paints for aircraft. Advances in UV and EB curing systems include portable, high intensity sources with low capital costs. Chemistry advances include recently available oligomers, photoinitiators, synergists and UV stabilizers. Science Research Laboratory (SRL) has developed a new generation of electron beam acccelerators and pulsed UV systems for curing of polymer matrix composites and radiation curable coatings. Electron accelerators include portable electron guns for curing of paints and coatings and high energy accelerators for curing of thick-section composites. The portable electron guns use commercially available power supplies to reduce selling costs to under $100,000. High energy accelerators and pulsed UV systems utilize all solid-state high repetition rate pulsed power drivers which reduce the capital cost while increasing system reliability. A program is proposed to develop a radiation-curable aircraft painting system, including optimized materials and processing equipment. Phase I inculdes material optimization and system design. A portable curing system based on the Phase I design will be delivered during Phase II. Anticipated Military Benefits: A radiation-curable painting system based on SRL technology has both military and commercial applications. In the commercial sector, such a system will allow environmentally safe, cost-effective painting of automotive frames and components.
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