Adaptive Surface Technologies awarded USAF grant to develop icephobic coating

June 23, 2020
The icephobic coating aims to improve pre-flight and in-flight anti-icing properties on military aircraft and avionics.
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass., - Adaptive Surface Technologies, Inc. (AST), a Cambridge, MA-based industrial technology company that produces the SLIPS line of materials and coatings used for a wide range of industrial, marine, and medical repellency applications, announced it has been awarded a $499,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II Grant from the United States Air Force (USAF) to develop an icephobic coating that improves pre-flight and in-flight anti-icing properties on military aircraft and avionics. The grant, awarded through the USAF's AFWERX program, will build upon AST's successful SBIR Phase I Feasibility Study results.

"Ice accumulation in aviation continues to be an unsolved and highly costly issue, both in terms of human toll and dollars spent on mitigation for manned and unmanned aircraft," said David Ward, CEO of Adaptive Surface Technologies, Inc. "By developing an intrinsically icephobic coating system, based from AST's existing technology, we can help solve many of the challenges related to military and commercial aircraft icing mitigation, and we are delighted to be working with the United States Air Force on a solution."

The development of new coating for the USAF will be based on AST's existing antifouling marine coating that was commercially launched in 2019. SLIPS® Foul Protect marine coating reduces the adhesion and persistence of unwanted biological fouling on any given surface. Modifications to the chemical makeup of the coating will be made to optimize its properties for ice-repellency and durability. By combining a mechanically durable and low surface energy binder system with AST's patented self-stratifying Active Performance Ingredients (API) packages, a robust coating system with strong repellent functions (anti-ice, low adhesion, non-fouling) can be realized while maintaining superior mechanical durability.

"In addition to the military uses inside of, and on, the airframe, commercial airliners spend hundreds of millions every year on icing mitigation efforts in terms of hardware, chemicals and operations disruption," said Ward. "In addition to the savings our novel coating can bring, existing ice de-icing strategies are very environmentally challenging. AST's common approach across all our market sectors is for our products to deliver economic benefit along with environmental advantages."

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