The Pojman Research Team Receives U.S. Department of Defense Funding to Investigate Cure-On-Demand, Non-Skid Coatings for the Reduction of Harmful Compounds

Principal Investigator Professor John Pojman received funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) for his project titled, “Reduction of Volatile Organic Compounds Through Development of Novel Next Generation Cure-On-Demand Ultra High Solid Non-Skid Coating.” 

BATON ROUGE, August 12, 2020
- The SERDP funds investigators with innovative, sustainable, and cost-effective solutions to meet DoD’s environmental challenges. Professor Pojman’s project involves the development of cure-on-demand Naval ship deck coatings. Non-skid deck coatings are crucial for crew and equipment movement and safety on a sometimes slippery deck. In addition, deck coatings add to the prevention and control of ship corrosion.  The project’s collaborative team includes Dr. Charles White from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWC-CD) [Bethesda, MD], LSU Chemistry Professor John Pojman, and LSU Chemistry Ph.D. Candidate Daniel Gary.

Vessel deck coverings are lightweight, wear- and skid-resistant, nonflammable, coatings that protect decks from corrosion and maintain traction under slippery conditions.  Non-skid materials (NSM) can be applied to various ship decks, including weather decks, flight decks, and hangar decks.

Engineer Dr. Charles White, from the Corrosion and Coatings Engineering Branch at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, explained how conventional non-skid coatings are not always applicator friendly materials. Non-skid coatings can possess short working times, long cure-to-service time, high volatile organic compound (VOC) content, and can require skilled labor to apply properly.

“The goal of the project is to develop Dr. Pojman’s material into a novel coating. The advantage of Dr. Pojman’s proprietary material is that the prototype coating can be cured-to-service within minutes to hours, whereas conventional non-skid coatings can take 12-24 hours to reach touch dry and can take 7-10 day to reach cure-to-service depending on the temperature,” said Dr. White. “Reduction of this extended cure time could reduce opportunity cost and risk of improper curing due to unfavorable weather conditions or premature mechanical stress to the coating.”

This is Professor Pojman’s first project with coatings designed for metal substrates and maritime non-skid coatings. Daniel Gary, chemistry graduate student and member of the Pojman Research Team, explained how formulation efforts are needed before the prototype can meet the performance requirements maintained by the Navy. The coating must adhere to steel surfaces on decks, maintain a required non-skid surface texture, be resistant to certain chemicals, and corrosion-resistant.

“We (NSWC-CD) are excited to collaborate with Dr. Pojman and his lab at LSU. Dr. Pojman is an acknowledged leader in cure-on-demand materials,” said Dr. White. “The project will require both iterative wet chemistry formulation at LSU and coating characterization and evaluation development of prototypes at NSWC-CD as use of his material on metal substrates and as a non-skid coating is a first for his technology.”

On the collaborative project, the Pojman Research Team will provide subject matter expertise (SME) on the development and formulation chemistry for cure-on-demand technologies.  NSWC-CD will provide SME on coating testing, evaluation, and performance requirements.

“If this project is successful, it will be the first example of a cure-on-demand coating that can adhere to steel surfaces, said Daniel Gary. “The project will open doors to the development and application of cure-on-demand coatings for both civilian and military applications.” 

In addition to the ease of application and costs, the Navy health and safety procedures for material application and removal are important considerations in the use of NSMs.  The coating technology must comply with Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) standards at the time of application. 

“Any technology that can reduce VOC content and prevent impact to environment and personnel is of high interest,” said Dr. Charles White.

The Pojman Research Team hopes to develop a novel, next generation cure-on-demand, non-skid coatings that can cure within minutes with minimal VOC emission. Coatings with reduced VOC content are beneficial for the health and safety of application personnel and for the environment.

For more information about the Pojman Research Team and cure-on demand products, visit Professor Pojman’s faculty page.

Gretchen Schneider
LSU Department of Chemistry