Improved Masking Aides Technology
Small Business Information
TEXAS RESEARCH INSTITUTE AUSTIN, INC.
9063 Bee Caves Road, Austin, TX, 78733
AbstractThere is a need for new masking technologies for aircraft manufacture. Military aircraft have specialty coatings applied to the outer mold line. Maskants must be used for protection against tooling, and to avoid overspray and accurately meet engineering edge of part requirements. Current technologies are inefficient; for an advanced military aircraft, masking and demasking operations alone currently take 200 hours. Complex curvatures and ergonomic restraints further slow this tedious process. TRI/Austin proposes the use of sprayable temporary maskants that cure under ultraviolet light to solve this problem. The maskants can be applied to an area to be protected, cured within seconds by UV light, and cleanly peeled off by hand after use. The perimeter of the area to be masked can be outlined in tape where necessary. We propose to formulate maskants, test and optimize the physical properties and application properties, and develop a cure procedure to provide the Air Force with a broadly applicable new technology for the manufacture of its aircraft. Preliminary research has a yielded maskant that can be applied and cured in seconds, provides excellent surface protection, and is easily removed in seconds. This technology will significantly increase efficiency in aircraft masking and demasking operations.
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